Politics & Government
1:17 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Detroit's emergency manager leading bus tour of city's dire conditions

Detroit’s answer to the famous bus tours of New York City is emerging this week.

Well, kind of.

On Wednesday, Detroit’s emergency manager Kevyn Orr will lead creditors on a guided bus tour through the city. But the tour won’t be highlighting the city’s landmarks. Instead, the creditors will be checking out dire conditions in some of Detroit’s neighborhoods.

From the Associated Press:

"If they can see what it's like for Detroiters, what they endure every day in this city, I think they'll begin to understand what's at stake," Orr told reporters Wednesday. "Imagine what it's like to be a mother riding that bus with no air conditioning, that shows up late and takes an hour and a half to get you where you need to go."

40 people are expected to join Orr on the tour this week, checking out Gratiot Avenue and some neighborhoods around Detroit, including Brightmoor, an area on the northwest side that’s largely been abandoned over the past several decades.

Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports the debt-holders were coming to town this week for talks with emergency manager Kevyn Orr:

...and at Orr’s request, they’ll also get a very realistic tour of the city.

The creditors are coming to town to look at Detroit’s assets. This is all part of negotiations over how much the bankrupt city’s creditors will get paid—and whether they can agree on that amount outside bankruptcy court.

Orr says all creditors need to take steep losses, because the city’s in such bad shape.
Orr spokesman Bill Nowling says they need to hammer that point home.

“And we thought it would be a good idea for them to see not just the assets of the city, but to see the condition of the city, and see the issues that we’re talking about,” Nowling says.

So about 40 of those creditors will spend Wednesday criss-crossing Detroit—by city bus—to see just that.

 “It’s very much an effort to get them to understand how bad the situation is in Detroit,” Nowling says. “They see it in the abstract, they look at balance sheets, they read news stories…and that’s the extent of their connection with the city. We want to give them that real connection.”

Orr is trying to wring concessions from those creditors as he lays the groundwork for Detroit to either avoid—or file for—bankruptcy.

To see a list of the creditors Orr's been negotiating with, check out this story.

- Melanie Kruvelis, Michigan Radio Newsroom