Birders want Kelm-Helgen gone over Vikes stadium glass

Advocates for birds are calling for bird-safe glass to be installed at the new Vikings stadium. Jon Collins / MPR News

Updated 2:09 p.m.

Activists seeking the installation of bird-safe glass at the new Vikings stadium asked Gov. Mark Dayton to remove the chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority board. The governor released a statement on Friday afternoon saying that he believes Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen is “doing an outstanding job.”

Despite protests, the board has stuck with its earlier decision install transparent glass at the $1 billion stadium. Advocates for bird-safe glass have argued that the transparent and reflective glass will lead to bird collisions.

Kelm-Helgen said at the board’s meeting on Friday that the glass is already being manufactured and is slated for installation after the first of the year.

Members of Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds said they met with Kelm-Helgen on Wednesday to again discuss their concerns. Group member Wendy Haan said at the public meeting that she was shocked by Kelm-Helgen’s lack of knowledge about migratory bird routes.

At the meeting, the board approved a number of changes to the stadium design. Haan said that shows there’s still time for a bird-safe glass to be installed at the stadium.

“We’re confused that the Vikings can make design changes, but the citizens can’t,” Haan said. “We thought this was our stadium too.”

The activists plan to give a letter to Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday afternoon asking him to remove Kelm-Helgen as chair. Advocates said the governor denied a request to meet with the group, instead urging them to take their concerns to the stadium authority board.

The authority has already committed to turning lights in the building off during migration season. Kelm-Helgen said she’s still willing to meet with birders to find ways other than replacing the glass that will address their concerns.

  • J-dawg

    I just don’t understand why this board is so hell-bent on erecting a monument to giving the environment the middle finger.

    • But isn’t that what it’s about now? This kind of thing happens time and time again. We The People “Give an Inch” and the wealthy who benefit from our flexibility and cooperative spirit “Take a Mile or Ten.” It goes to support that when a bully takes something from the usual unsuspecting civic-minded (let’s work together) kind of folk who pay their exorbitant salaries (and ticket prices), they just keep coming back to the well, wanting more. It’s the NEVER ENOUGH SYNDROME that has become the hallmark of corporate america. It’s a big reason why my wife and I no longer watch the NFL or have anything to do with any of its teams. The culture has soured and the product is poison.

  • Emilie Buchwald

    The important news shared today was that there are treatments for the glass currently being produced for the stadium that can convert it to bird-safe glass. That’s what we should be working toward — adding this to the glass that’s already ordered.

  • Michelle O. Valadez

    Typical. Dayton refuses to meet with wolf advocates and now refuses to meet with bird advocates. What does he have against wildlife? What does he have against listening to the requests of Minnesotans? I guess we need to have millions, political connections and run a corporation before he’ll take a meeting.

  • Steve

    This bird thing is just dumb. If people actually cared about birds being killed they would be advocating banning domestic cats, which kill between 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds a year in the United States alone.

  • Pit Boss

    So are the birders also outraged at the numbers of birds killed by so called green energy wind turbines or is it only the stadium birds? Seems pretty hypocritical to me if it is just the stadium birds.
    To answer the question about why won’t Gov. Dayton meet with people, he probably has no idea what’s going on and Tina Flint-Smith is running the show now (as she has been for a couple of months already).
    Good thing the Vikings and Twins got their new stadiums and really improved our quality of life.

    • CrossHugger

      Spot on….

  • CrossHugger

    Where is the outrage over thousands of babies killed in the womb, mostly black via the genocide of abortion. Do you realize it is a dfl platform issue and it is murder.

  • Baba

    I want everyone who supported this ripoff gone.