By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Two years ago, a tornado ripped through the heart of North Minneapolis, leaving behind damage usually not seen in the urban core.

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While it in no way compares to the devastation in Oklahoma, it was still frightening. North Minneapolis residents know how it feels and are sympathizing with the people recovering in the south. Some said the images from Oklahoma brought them to tears. They say they’re praying people get all the help they need to rebuild.

Phyllis Patterson, a north side resident, is thankful her home is still standing two years after the North Minneapolis tornado hit.

“Debris was, of course, everywhere; half of the roof was gone,” she said, describing the destruction. “The trees were in front of the yard, there was actually no way of getting in and no way of getting out.”

Patterson says her neighborhood was hit hard. The houses on her block still have tarps on the roof. Many homes are also vacant.

“I would think that, you know, two years later things would be a little better, but some people are still struggling — as we are ourselves — still trying to get their homes together,” Patterson said.

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She is still in the process of rebuilding her home.

“They’re still working on the roof. It still leaks. There are still the little problems that…are going on,” she said.

The city of Minneapolis believes anywhere between 3,000 to 7,000 homes were damaged by that tornado. Officials say more than $4 million in assistance from the city, state, federal, nonprofit and private sources spilled into the community.

But some, like resident Frederick Heflin, say the money didn’t go to the people affected most by the tornado.

“Some people still displaced, you know; they grew up on the north side…and they are still displaced,” Heflin said. “The landlords took the money and ran, didn’t fix their houses.”

Heflin doesn’t like what he sees when he looks out his front door: properties that still haven’t been touched.

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City council president Barb Johnson said the city has helped homeowners deal with insurance companies that were slowing up the recovery process.

Reg Chapman