News from Hennepin County


September 2014



Marion Greene
Commissioner, 3rd District

Ray Hoover
Principal Aide

Pam Fahlstrom
Administrative Assistant


The 3rd District serves the city of St. Louis Park, and parts of southwest and downtown Minneapolis.

3rd District map

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Hennepin County’s annual Choose to Reuse coupon books available through Oct. 31, 2014.
The coupons are free and feature deals from 48 Twin Cities retailers. Choose to Reuse coupons are available on mobile devices by downloading the free Chinook Book app. You can also pick up a coupon book at participating retail locations, Hennepin County service centers, Hennepin County libraries and all Three Rivers Park District locations.  For more information, click here.

Public hearing on housing programs 
There will be a public hearing on Tuesday, September 9 at 1:30 p.m. regarding federal housing programs in suburban Hennepin County. The hearing will specifically address the 2013 Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) related to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnerships and Emergency Solutions Grant programs. Participation in these programs requires the county to submit an annual performance and evaluation report. 


County departments, agencies & other entities

Hennepin County libraries

Hennepin County Medical Center

Hennepin volunteers

Online services

Phone directory

Service Center information

Southwest Light Rail

Understanding your property tax

City of Minneapolis

City of St. Louis Park


Coming soon!


We hope our newsletter serves as a resource for connecting to Hennepin County activities and staying updated on county news and services. Visit our website to find more ways to connect with the county.  

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.  I value your opinions. 

Best regards,



Ellison Event

Congressman Ellison highlights Hennepin County Health Innovation

On August 13, I joined U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson, and county leaders in a discussion of how Hennepin Health integrates health care and social services to reduce barriers to care for adults who also deal with poverty, mental and chemical health challenges, chronic illness and homelessness.
The program has attracted significant national attention, and serves 8,800 adults with incomes at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Coordinated care providers assess a member’s needs, and work across disciplines to fill those needs. The resulting holistic care has reduced costs by reducing use of crisis care and increasing use of primary care, while improving the quality of care.
Hennepin Health is a partnership between Metropolitan Health Plan, Hennepin County Medical Center, NorthPoint Health & Wellness Center and Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health. For more information about the program, visit


Hennepin County unveils the Recycling Oasis

Hennepin County is unveiling the Recycling Oasis, a parklet or portable park, constructed with recycled materials and native plants embedded on the back of a trailer. The Recycling Oasis will appear here and there at community events throughout the county.
The Recycling Oasis is a part of the county’s new Recycle Everywhere campaign to encourage people to look for recycling opportunities everywhere they go. County research shows that at least one-third of the items in the trash in parks and other public spaces could have been recycled. 
Learn more about the Recycling Everywhere campaign at


Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis approve design for Southwest light rail transit (SWLRT) project within the City of Minneapolis

The SWLRT project cleared major hurdles in August. Both the Hennepin County Board and City of Minneapolis completed their municipal approval process for preliminary design plans for the portion of the project physically in the city of Minneapolis. 

  • Both the Hennepin County Board and the City of Minneapolis voted to approve the physical design component of the project plan
  • The board, acting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) committed that the freight corridor would remain in public ownership so that no additional railroads would be added to the corridor, and that the county will work with the City of Minneapolis to ensure the Kenilworth Corridor bicycle trail is preserved.
  • HCRRA also approved land and funding commitments to the SWLRT line. The commitment from the county is for 10 percent of the capital cost of the project. HCRRA funding cannot be used until all other funding is assured and cannot be used until all environmental review is completed.
  • The City of Minneapolis voted to authorize execution of the Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Council on the Proposed Redesign of a Portion of the Southwest Light Rail Transit Project (SWLRT).

The project will now enter the final design process, led by the Met Council through the Southwest Project Office.

Hennepin County leads the Southwest LRT Community Works project, which focuses on economic development around station areas along the corridor. Southwest Community Works will continue working with project partners to implement priority projects that improve bike and pedestrian access to the stations and maximize opportunities for development in station areas. Southwest Community Works is also developing a corridor-wide housing strategy, working to increase connections to employment along the line through a Moving the Market grant from the McKnight Foundation.

The METRO Blue Line Extension begins station area planning

The METRO Blue Line Extension light rail transit (formerly known as Bottineau LRT) project received approved for the Federal Transit Administration (FTA)’s New Starts project development phase. Hennepin County is ramping up its work with cities along the LRT line — including Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park — to identify needed investments in neighborhoods surrounding up to 11 proposed stations. This station area planning process prepares communities for a major transit investment such as the Blue Line Extension LRT by fostering dialogue with cities, neighborhoods and residents about their needs, desires and concerns for how a LRT station will fit into their community.


Xerxes Avenue construction update

Xerxes Avenue between 54th Street and 66th Street is scheduled to receive a blacktop mill and overlay in late September or October of this year. As part of that project, permanent bump-outs will be constructed along Xerxes Avenue from 54th Street to Highway 62.  The bump-outs are being installed to physically establish Xerxes Avenue as a two-lane roadway with parking on both sides. 

The bump-outs are a safety measure that will deter vehicles from using the parking lane as a driving and/or passing lane, increase safety for pedestrians on the sidewalk by keeping moving traffic away from the curb, and reduce the perceived drivable width of the roadway in an attempt to calm traffic speeds. Hennepin County staff is currently working with property owners to finalize the proposed locations and bump-out design. The project is anticipated to last 3 to 4 weeks.

Women's Economic Security Act takes effect

I'm excited to report that Hennepin County's human resources policies now reflect the Women’s Economic Security Act (WESA). WESA passed the legislature last session, and attacks the pay gap by going after specific types of discrimination and barriers that make it harder for women to succeed on the job. The act expands family leave and sick leave provisions, requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations to workers who are pregnant or nursing, requires state contractors to comply with “comparable worth” pay equity rules, and provides incentives to minimize gender-based job clustering and attract more women to higher-paying “nontraditional” jobs. 

County profile

To learn more about the work of Hennepin County, we've started a profile series with county employees who live in District 3. Each month will spotlight a person from varying departments and occupations.


Jill Hamilton

Jill Hamilton is the HealthWorks manager for employees at Hennepin County. Jill is a resident of the Whittier neighborhood, and recently celebrated her 7th year at the county. Click here to learn more about how Jill makes Hennepin County tick.

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Board meeting highlights


August 12

Speed limit reduced for bicyclist and motorist safety on Portland Avenue in Minneapolis
The board approved reducing the speed limit to 30 mph from 35 mph on Portland Avenue (County Road 35) between 60th Street East and 46th Street East in Minneapolis. The reduction will provide speed limit continuity along the Portland Avenue corridor and provide safer conditions for both bicyclists and motorists. 

Agreement to provide permanent housing options
The board, acting as the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, approved an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the oversight of the rental assistance program from October 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015. The program will provide long-term housing options, moving people from temporary housing shelters. 

Funding for affordable housing
The board, acting as the Hennepin County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, approved the consolidation of two Affordable Housing Incentive commitments to be used for Phase IV of the Franklin Portland Gateway affordable housing project. Phase IV includes an existing 30-unit affordable apartment building and 90 new construction rental units, 47 of which will be affordable to households at or below 50 percent of area median income. 

Station area planning for METRO Blue Line extension to move forward
The board, acting as the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority, approved a contract for phase two of station area planning for the proposed METRO Blue Line extension (Bottineau light rail transit line). Station area plans address the ways that land surrounding stations can help optimize use of the line. Station area planning will occur in two phases. Phase one is underway for stations in Minneapolis and Golden Valley; phase two will soon begin for stations in Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park. The proposed line will span approximately 13 miles from downtown Minneapolis to the northwest, with stations in Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park. 

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August 19

Agreement with Ramsey County to explore possible joint residential treatment center for youth
Hennepin will join Ramsey County to explore the possibility of a joint residential treatment center for youth. The two counties face similar issues and challenges in addressing the needs of at-risk youth. Juvenile services leadership from both counties will explore the feasibility of a shared, single-site, juvenile correctional residential treatment center that would serve both counties.
Currently, the Hennepin County Home School (HCHS) and Ramsey County’s Boys Totem Town facilities are aging and need maintenance or complete renovations. The costly building options facing both counties, for similar programs, compel a look at a single more cost-effective program. 

Acknowledgement of Nicollet-Central Modern Streetcar
The Hennepin County Board and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority acknowledged the proposed alignment for the streetcar as recommended by the Minneapolis City Council, including the placement of the streetcar within Hennepin County roads. The proposed route runs between Lake Street and 5th Street Northeast on Nicollet Avenue, Nicollet Mall, and Hennepin/1st Avenues, using the Hennepin Avenue Bridge to cross the Mississippi River. Adoption of the resolution does not obligate Hennepin County to provide financial support for the project, and does not commit property rights. These agreements would be negotiated at a future date. 

August 26

Evaluation of teen pregnancy prevention program
The It’s Your Future program serves approximately 12,000 youth and works toward reducing teen pregnancy and related risky sexual behaviors among participants. The county is working with an independent evaluator to conduct a randomized, controlled study of the project to measure the effectiveness of strategies with the project. Teen birth rates in Hennepin County declined by 40 percent between 2007 and 2012, outpacing federal and state declines.

Additional support for inspections, mental health services and healthcare for the homeless
The board authorized the Human Service and Public Health Department to increase staff in environmental health, 24-hour mental health crisis programs and healthcare for the homeless.
The additional staff for environmental health will help with the increased need for inspections. In 2013, the county absorbed inspection of several hundred licensed facilities and activities that include food, lodging and public swimming pools from local municipalities. 
The additional staff for mental health crisis programs would replace temporary staff workers who provide 24-7 phone and mobile mental health service to persons of all ages. This will reduce equipment and administrative costs by two-thirds and increase stability of the service.
The additional staff for healthcare for the homeless will help meet the demand for services at 11 different shelters and drop-in centers. Any homeless adult or child is eligible for care.

Board supports Metropolitan Council’s 2015 capital grant applications to the Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB)
CTIB, a major funder of transit initiatives in the metro area, requires formal support from host counties prior to approval of any capital grants for projects located within those counties. On August 26, The Hennepin County Board voted to support the Metropolitan Council’s 2015 capital grant applications to CTIB. The grant applications are for additional light rail vehicles, as well as project development activities for the Bottineau corridor project, the SWLRT project, and the Orange Line bus rapid transit (BRT) project. 

Green Partners Environmental Education grants awarded
The board awarded 14 Green Partners Environmental Education grants to support organizations implementing educational projects that engage and empower Hennepin County residents to protect and improve the environment. Grants agreements will run from September 1, 2014 through August 31, 2015.

Board briefings

You're invited! In addition to our regularly scheduled board meetings, the County Board often meets for updates on Thursday mornings. These are informal opportunities to discuss emerging issues. No decisions are made, and the topics are subject to change. Board briefings occur in the board room on the 24th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center and are open to the public.

September 18

  • Civil Commitments (Health and Human Service Department, Department of Community Corrections & Rehab)

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