“What it was can never again be”: Readers respond to ‘Gone to Market’

Readers had a lot to say about “Gone to Market,” Tina Griego’s first story for The Colorado Independent. The story, part personal, part policy, describes her reaction to the huge changes that took place in Denver during the four years she was living in Virginia. Tina delved into the lack of affordable housing and the impact of gentrification upon city neighborhoods, workers and schools. Readers chimed in with their own thoughts about what they are seeing, what they think the causes are, and what needs to happen next.

We at The Indy want to keep this conversation going. Tonight, the Denver City Council will cast its final vote on establishing a dedicated funding stream to develop and preserve affordable housing. The funding stream, subsidized by property owners and developers, would generate $15 million a year over the next 10 years. Critics, including some on the council, say it’s not nearly enough.

Should the measure pass, as is expected, residents and taxpayers of the city will need to be paying attention to next phase of the plan: Deciding how that money gets spent.

Please tell us in the comments what you see and experience, what you think the solutions are, and where we need to be expanding our coverage of the issue. For now, here’s a sampling of readers’ observations about the old Denver and the new:

You hit the nail right on the head. I grew up in Westwood and then lived on the Northside until a few years ago, and the change in the past couple of years to my hometown is too fast for my taste. Walking down Tennyson Street now feels a bit pretentious and I miss the flavor and feel of the old ‘hood. Cynthia Gallegos

The desire to push people to the inner city, in many cases, has been done without the thought of the unintended consequences. It is not just families of various nationalities, it is the elderly too. They can’t afford, healthwise, as well as monetarily, to stay, but where do they go? The more you push people in, and the higher they go, the more they expel the current residents. I’ve watched, with fascination, the last several years. Denver is not the only part of this puzzle. Littleton, also. I also think that the Construction Defect Laws and a decision that there should be higher density, tinkers with housing income. Then, when you mandate a certain number of “favorably priced” units, you also skew things. Joy Hoffman

Supply and demand. Basic economics. The government bureaucracy makes it too difficult & expensive to bring new housing to the market. Or impossible due to Construction Defect laws limited to the state of Colorado and unable to change because of unwilling political leadership beholden to financial backing attorneys. Change isn’t always pleasant, but it must and does happen. John R. Roberts

The numbers may vary from Denver’s, but the lack of affordable housing is one of the most common issues I hear about talking to voters in northwest Colorado’s Senate District 8. Emily Tracy, candidate.

This is a good read. It describes exactly what has been happening to my once-beloved hometown. The “gentrification” of Denver not only saddens me, it makes me angry. And it makes it imperative that I & my wife move away from here, as far away as possible, as soon as we are able. The Denver we knew & loved no longer exists.  I cannot remain sane here much longer. Michael Littrell

I have a few friends who moved away from Denver, who planned to move back. Now, they can’t afford to return. Heck- if they knew, they may not want to. Something is inexpensive and beautiful, and fills up with artists and free-thinkers. Then it becomes cool. Then people with money want to move here. Soon, the artists and free-thinkers can’t afford to live here.Now, it’s people with money pretending that it is now what it was then, when in fact what it was can never again be. (See also “Boulder,” and “Colorado Mountain Towns.”) Eric Skougstad

I think the gentrification reflects a larger change from a society that used to support a middle class to one in which you’re either rich or poor. There’s also a shift from the wealthy living in/escaping to the gated suburbs and the poor confined to the inner city ghettos, to the wealthy moving into town and the poor being forced to the outskirts. Cynthia Friedlob

Interesting read considering I work in this. One thing you failed to mention is that much of what you bemoan is being driven by a ridiculously low interest policy. Buy now, because as soon as the election is over you can expect housing to become significantly more expensive as interest rates rise. You think $900K is expensive? Try financing it at 6% versus 3%! The idiots at the fed are well on their way to creating yet another bubble and when it bursts we will all feel the pain again. Joe Hostler

All you need to do is substitute the word “Portland” with “Denver” and you just wrote for the Willamette Week. Gentrification is damaging some of Portland’s character and definitely pushing the middle class out of central city, which is also pushing people away from light rail and making traffic here brutal. Cary Tyler

We must do everything possible to increase awareness and establish financial empowerment in our communities. Housing discrimination must be addressed. Our land is everything for our future in Denver. Politically, economically, socially. Denver City Councilman Paul Lopez

I experienced/experience the same wave of emotions moving back from DC in 2014. It’s been a wild ride and I am afraid we are losing something we cannot get back … I imagine this pain is what my indigenous ancestors felt when temples were destroyed to build churches. I know this pain, I’ve felt it in my soul before in another lifetime. Candi CdeBaca

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