Save the Historic Duranguito Neighborhood

Save the Historic Duranguito Neighborhood

From Paso del Sur

Since 9/12/17 volunteers have kept vigil in Barrio Duranguito, a historic neighborhood in El Paso, to protect it from illegal demolition. The City of El Paso plans to destroy it, displace people for a sports arena.

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Recent Updates

Update #7

8 months ago

Good news! The City of El Paso and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid have signed an agreement this week that the City will halt any actions around demolishing buildings in Duranguito until after the hearing in State District Court in Travis County in mid-July. A big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. We continue to prepare to go to court so all donations are welcomed! Thank you for standing for Duranguito.

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On September 11, 2017 an order was signed by three appellate court judges to stop the demolition of Barrio Duranguito. The next morning, the City of El Paso supported the illegal demolition of the neighborhood and at 7 a.m., several buildings were damaged. Since that day almost three months ago, volunteers have kept vigil in Duranguito to protect the remaining residents and the historic buildings. Meanwhile, the City's desire to build a sports arena has resulted in their spending over $2 million dollars in taxpayer money and they have yet to win their case. Meanwhile, the volunteers who are protecting the neighborhood 24/7 are there in the rain, the cold, and earlier in the season, in the intense heat.

Help us protect this neighborhood and the people who live there. 

The roots of Barrio Duranguito go back to an 1827 land grant by the Mexican government that provided land north of the Rio Grande to Juan Maria Ponce de Leon. By the 1850s, the area became part of El Paso, Texas' First Ward. When the railroads arrived in the 1880s, the neighborhood blossomed.

The history of Duranguito encompasses the coming of the railroads, the arrival of the Chinese, the history of the Mexican Revolution of 1910, and urbanization of El Paso. The neighborhood is filled with historic treasures-- buildings that embody the early history of El Paso, including one of the last standing Chinese laundries and tenements that have provided homes to thousands of people over the decades.

Duranguito is also home to a close-knit community of most older, low income Mexican Americans. There are people like 89-year-old Antonia, known as Tonita, who have lived in the neighborhood for decades and worked to make it a safe and comfortable place to be. Or the small vendors of El Tiradero market, a place where you can find anything!

In October 2016, the City of El Paso decided to demolish the historic buildings and destroy the close-knit community. Since then, the residents and small vendors have stood up to City Hall to defend their homes, accompanied by an intergenerational group of advocates. Along with the residents, we have made the beauty and history of Duranguito visible-- now we just need to stop the demolition.

Right now there are two strategies: one is a citizens initiative asking the voters of El Paso to vote to make Duranguito a historic neighborhood. We need funds for a part-time coordinator who can arrange block walks and recruit volunteers.

The second strategy is to challenge the City of El Paso in court. A hearing will be held on July 17-18 in Travis County District Court. A member of Paso del Sur is challenging the City, representing herself. We need travel funding for several expert witnesses who are willing to testify if we assist with travel.

HELP US TO PROTECT THE HOMES AND SMALL BUSINESSES OF DURANGUITO!

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Paso del Sur posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #7

Good news! The City of El Paso and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid have signed an agreement this week that the City will halt any actions around demolishing buildings in Duranguito until after the hearing in State District Court in Travis County in mid-July. A big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far. We continue to prepare to go to court so all donations are welcomed! Thank you for standing for Duranguito.

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Paso del Sur posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #6

Update: On Friday, June 23, Sacred Heart Catholic Church led a procession through Duranguito to pray for the well-being and protection of the neighborhood. We welcome all communities of faith to join us in working on behalf of the largely older and low-income neighborhood.

We are grateful for all the contributions that have come in. Any little bit helps!

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Paso del Sur posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #5

Update #5: Dear supporters of Duranguito. The fight to save the neighborhood continues while landlords continue to vacate the residents from their properties. Today, the beautiful Victorian building, once home to Pancho Villa's lawyer and most recently the Flor de Luna Art Academy was boarded up. We continue to work on our legal strategy in preparation for the hearing in Austin beginning on July 17. Please help us defray the costs of travel for witnesses and other legal expenses. Any bit helps!

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Paso del Sur posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #4

Update #4: The struggle to save Duranguito and protect its residents continues. Antonia Morales has been at the forefront of the fight to protect her community. She has lived in Duranguito for over 40 years and in her same apartment for over 30. "This is not about protecting my apartment. It's about protecting my community," she says. As we draw close to the hearing in Austin, we continue to ask for your support and donations. Any amount helps! Thanks to the generosity of all who have donated already.

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Paso del Sur posted a new update:
8 months ago

Update #3

UPDATE #3 On June 12, an Austin judge granted a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop new City contracts with landowners and to end new demolitions. Thanks to Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid for their work. A hearing to extend the TRO is schedule for July 3 and the hearing to decide whether the arena being placed in Duranguito is legal is scheduled in Austin for July 17.

The City of El Paso is accelerating the speed of demolitions that have already been approved, hoping to demolish Duranguito before the court date in July. This beautiful building is on the demolition list.

Your help is more necessary than ever. Please donate today- any amount helps. Spread the word. Yesterday was a first step-- we still have a long way to go!

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Paso del Sur posted a new update:
9 months ago

Update #2

We have reached 10% of our goal. Thank you to ALL our generous donors.

Update: The City of El Paso has approved various demolition permits that will destroy historic buildings, including this beautiful green building on the corner of W. Overland and Chihuahua Street. Help us strop the demolitions. Spread the word!

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Paso del Sur posted a new update:
9 months ago

Update #1

Update: The City of El Paso filed for a declaratory judgment to allow them to continue demolishing Duranguito and displacing the elders and other neighbors. They asked for it to take place in Travis County (Austin), which means few El Pasoans can attend the hearing. The hearing has been scheduled for July 17-18 in the court of Judge Meacham. Help us win this legal defense of Duranguito. Any amount helps!!

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