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An initial report about Poletown residents displaced for GM’s then-new plant painted an overly rosy picture

Looking back on 40 years of MT



As we count down to our 40th anniversary in October, we've been revisiting our archives to highlight Metro Times stories that resonate in 2020.

30 years ago in Metro Times: According to a report by the General Accounting Office, residents of Detroit's Poletown neighborhood that were displaced in 1981 by General Motors' taxpayer-subsidized Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly were "generally satisfied with their move and their new homes." But writer Jeanie Wylie found that the GAO report painted a largely Pollyannaish portrait of the situation by avoiding those critical of the project. It offered only one critical note: of the 3,554 people who worked at the GM plant, only 2 percent, or 59 people, lived in or near Poletown; the project was pushed on the grounds that it would bring jobs and other benefits to the neighborhood's residents.

In recent years, the fate of the plant has been in jeopardy. After GM announced the plant would be "unallocated" along with four others in North America as a cost-saving measure, UAW workers went on strike — the union's largest in decades. Last month, GM announced it would invest $2.2 billion into the plant to make electric and self-driving cars, making it the company's first all-electric vehicle plant. GM says it will provide 2,200 jobs.

What was happening: 2 Live Crew at Taboo, Goober and the Peas at Lili's 21.

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