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MINNEAPOLIS - Three years after the North Minneapolis tornado, victims caught in its path are still coping, using creativity and determination to overcome the devastation.

On Humboldt Avenue, Marie Porter turned her uprooted life into a survivor's memoir.

"When a lot of this was happening and couldn't deal with myself, I just started chronicling in a book," said Porter.

She published the book, "Twisted" and with her husband, is still rebuilding her kitchen after a large black walnut tree fell during the tornado and nearly sawed their home in half. Trees crushed their car and bedroom.Porter says her home at the time was a recently purchased foreclosure and therefore, under insured, which meant they struggled to rebuild.

After self-taught home reconstruction, the experience is still one the most unforgettable chapters of her life. Her husband built new kitchen cabinets from the black walnut tree that destroyed their home.

"It's just about coping and celebrating the experience too," said Porter.

The tornado packed winds of up to 125 miles an hour and left a path of destruction. Two people died and up to 3,700 home and buildings were damaged.

Mary Martin, a sculptor who lives on Logan Avenue, was swept up from those winds while walking home from the library.

"Like a big wave hit me, and I started blowing down the block with all this junk kind of like a tumbleweed," said Martin, who said the experience left her with a fear of severe weather and some post-traumatic stress.

Martin began using fallen trees given by neighbors to create new sculptures, chiseling new memories. Her works from the fallen trees show families embracing one another.

"You can use art to get yourself centered in a lot of circumstance so it was just one more circumstance," said Martin. "Now when look back at it the thing that was most striking was the neighbors. You take your neighbors for granted and when something like that happens you realize how cool neighbors really are."

Porter only has a few more cabinets to rebuild and looking back agrees, seeing the silver linings the tornado left behind.

"We didn't meet our neighbors before the tornado and you could see them working together," she said.

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