Lost in the Weeds: Solving the Latest in a Long Line of Wilshire Village Mysteries

Intrepid River Oaks Examiner reporter Michael Reed tries to get answers to that nagging question on the mind of every person who’s walked or driven by the vacant site of the former Wilshire Village Apartments on Dunlavy near West Alabama in the last month: What’s the deal with that little square of land in the back of the site that’s been taped off with a handwritten address sign?

Since the yellow tape was not in the shape of a fallen body, our first guess was the little cordoned-off area had something to do with some “truly odd” city code. . . . Perhaps it involved an obscure extremely minimum lot size ordinance, an idea we soon discarded because it almost made sense.

Carefully attuned to Wilshire Village’s well-documented vortex of absurdity, and being careful — professional journalist that he is — not to trespass on the site, Reed takes a photo of the city green tag on the sign while standing on the public sidewalk. Then, all David Hemmings-like, takes it home to enlarge it and read what it says:


As it turned out, the sticker was for a demolition, or so it said. But, there was nothing within the taped area to demolish. Just some weeds. Unless, of course, the city was now permitting the demolition of squatters. Now, that would be news.

We called around and spoke to several folks who work for the city. The “demolition” sticker was dated March 5, 2010, we explained. The buildings were long gone, we also explained. They were all nice. Most directed us to some other departments, where the people who answered the phones were also nice.

That was probably difficult for them, as we had likely started to sound a little deranged by the sixth time we read our eight-digit number from the sticker and said “Planning and Development Services Division Public Works and Engineering Department” more times than that. No wonder they were confused — it sounded like we were referring to about 12 different city departments.

Finally, we were told the whole thing had to do with a complaint about weeds. Weeds? We knew that couldn’t be right. Or could it? Why, in the Bizzaro World that is Wilshire Village it made perfectly good sense.

Photos: Michael Reed, River Oaks Examiner

10 Comment

  • Weeds? I thought it may have been more interesting like something regarding a archeological dig or something.

  • David Hemmings-like, lets see who picks up on that reference — certainly one of the great existential movies of the 60’s.

  • The reference may be obscure, but any excuse to conjure a mental picture of a young Vanessa Redgrave is fine by me.

  • Ha ha! The Wilshire saga never ends.

  • Yes, great movie. Even if you just want to see it for the cool mod British fashions, rent Blowup.

  • Maybe the city just finally issued the demolition permit. After everything had already been demolished. Typical of how the city works. Which is why, well, the city really doesn’t work.

    One of the brighter light bulbs of the
    inspectors posted a red tag for weeds over on Stanford and Marshall warning the owners of the townhouse they were in violation. Not noticing that another inspector had posted an abandoned building notice on the front door of the townhouse. I guess if the bank comes by to see where the previous owners are, they will see that they skipped out on the mortgage. And probably will not clear up the weeds.

    Of course it is possible you have to have a permit now to demolish trees. Not a nice thought.

  • It is my understanding that the Code Enforcement section of the Public Works and Engineering department are the ones who issue red and green tags for things like construction, demolition, etc. The larger yellow tags you see for tall weeds or unkempt lots are issued by the Neighborhood Protection group, a section of the Houston Police Department.

  • I’ll have to go check. Maybe it’s a yellow tag. Or maybe they ran out of yellow tags. But I think Neighborhood Protection uses the red tags as well. Sort of the final warning perhaps. I wonder how many warnings Wilshire Village had? Or did the fire chief just decide to bypass it all and just condemn it?

    The mystery of Wilshire Village.

  • That’s a nice size for a guerilla garden plot. Maybe its’ a green tag for “green” use of the land.

  • Wonder what they did with the headstones.