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October 22, 2015

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what a shame.

I hope they build in the floodplain, I once saw old Wickenburg late one night in the 1950's knee deep in fast water. And no, there's no last, best, place left in Arizona...oh, sorry, rhetorical question, wasn't it?

Flagstaff does have an "urban growth boundary," but it's driven by engineering rather than sensible land use. As a design professional, I'm disappointed that money drives the process to the exclusion of all other criteria, and engineering passes for design. Hence, 21st century Wickenburg, and Flagstaff as well.

Canelo Hills Cienega refuge.
Geronimo.

Kemo Sabe.
Nobody has a real name, Anymore.
I have a buddy from my NARC days that is a Yaqui born and raised in Guadalupe. Forever he has called people Kemo Sabe?

I loved Arizona in my fashion, which is why I left it. Money won. Millions moved in like a plague of locusts on golden grain: cars, tract houses, freeways, big-box shopping, and reactionary politics. The result is a disaster that time will not fix. Whenever I'd hear some goobers from the Midwest talking about how much they love Arizona, I'd take a deep breath and bite my tongue. I'll say it here since I have a reputation for unpleasant bluntness: you killed Arizona.

I grew up in Sunnyslope, which had something of Wickenburg's vibe before it was swallowed whole by the python of Phoenix sprawl. Today, it's enjoying a renaissance of interest, pushed by folks like Marshall Shore. Even my family house figures in this cottage industry. I would just as soon tell everyone to go find another hobby. It's a zombie town now and the shards of a better past no longer fit together. Most of my old classmates have scattered far and wide, mostly Prescott.

I love Portland because there are still some old hippies hand-crafting their way to certain oblivion. But they're losing out fast to hordes of people like me. http://www.wweek.com/2015/10/21/portland-i-love-you-but-youre-forcing-me-out/ I'm the disease now. There's no escape from the big money bath coming Portland's way. I sold my car, shop locally, and praise the rain. I even bought growlers so I can drink the local beer without creating more garbage. Yes, I'm faking it.

My mother was six months pregnant with me and my twin sister when the family wagon broke down in Wickenburg. A month later, the family got down to Phoenix where my sister and I were born. There was still magic there, too.

We killed it.

I think much depends on how the money is deployed, how people moving in value and shore up the history, the commons, the future.

Thus all cities where I've lived have changed and grown, but many (Seattle, Denver, San Diego, Charlotte, even Cincinnati) have gotten better. They are valued and loved.

Similarly, some small towns in the West have kept their character (Pendleton, Ore., comes to mind).

That hasn't happened in Arizona, sadly.

Who wrote this article and did they actually grow up in Wickenburg because it has changed a lot in the last 30 years

Arizona has a terrible values problem. That is, there were not nearly enough older natives who valued the state's irreplaceable heritage. Oregon, by contrast, had citizens with memories deep enough to stand up to the rapacious real-estate interests. There are the obvious heroes like Tom McCall, the Republican governor who ushered urban growth boundaries through the legislature in the early '70s. But the battle is far from over - the real-estate industrial complex never sleeps - and the boundary is under constant attack from developers and Republican legislators. The threat is also enhanced by "newbies" attracted to the state because of its high quality of life. Ironically, they are often the same people who think they can bring their California lifestyles with them. But even among oldtimers, there's a sense of entitlement when it comes to driving and parking. It's a needle the government is constantly having to thread.

Portland is attracting worldwide attention for its emphasis on an urban core with good transit and higher density. Phoenix, on the other hand, is attracting attention for being a city with the soul of a suburb. It's not an accident that the city lags in both crucial quality-of-life and economic indices. It's a self-reinforcing phenomenon: devalue the city of its vital heritage and you attract low-information citizens who don't give a damn about either cities or the environment.

Arizonans by and large don't care anymore. Yes, they sorta hate the sprawl but not enough to entertain growth boundaries. In 2000, an initiative sponsored by the Sierra Club to do just that appeared on the ballot. Early polling had it easily winning. After developers poured millions in the no campaign, it lost in a landslide. You wonder why people vote against their own interests and for that of the corporate elites? Look in the mirror. What's happening in Wickenburg is exactly what Arizonans want. You want uranium mines in the Grand Canyon, a huge open pit copper mine in what was once the pristine Pinto Creek habitat, and selling stunning Oak Flat, holy land to Apaches, to mining interests. And most of you, I suspect, will probably vote for the engineers of this tawdry forfeiture of public lands, John McCain and Jeff Flake.

Arizona will pimp its soul for virtually nothing as long as its boobs get to drive everywhere and park for free. This nightmare has a cast of millions. And they vote Republican.

Jon,

Great Post!! The threats to Wick are much greater than described. A former mayor who was voted out because of his mindless pro-development policies that left the town with thousands of acres of bulldozed Sonoran desert, is back in the saddle with the APS initiated Wickenburg Economic Development Partnership. This borderline "non-profit" is looking to extend PHX sprawl to 15 miles west of Wick by creating a new 5 Million SF industrial rail park with federal grant money expressly designed to serve west metro PHX and California companies adversely impacted by environmental regulations.

Their amazingly incoherent plan envisions relocating many of the low income jobs in the Maryvale district of PHX to a rural area 15 miles west of Wickenburg that currently has no significant existing labor force! Unbelievably, Maricopa County is reportedly supporting this nonsense - perhaps in fear of a similar reaction from the public that emanated from more populated areas such as the almost identical and much better suited rail-park proposal on BNSF owned land 15 miles to the east! Add to that is the 3,100+ new housing units approved by Yavapai County(opposed by locals but influenced by the ousted mayor's delegation,and a subsequent local zone change turning 667 acres of 4 acre lots as provided for in a recently revised zoning ordinance, to 1,900 more units and enough commercial acres to bury the existing retail base of the town! Interestingly, two public planning & zoning meetings were held for this zone change with no one from the public in attendance. This was apparently because the only public notice was in the legal notices section of the local paper that did not consider the largest zone change in the community's history as newsworthy.? Amazingly, all this is for the benefit of the same outside development entity!

Wick's future has already been totally sold out!

John, is this related to the Aquifer previously owned by Toyota and bought up by a groups involving a former coach?

Wickenburg and the world on the brink:
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/10/must-we-choose-between-capitalism-and-climate.html#

I smell Gov. Roscoe and his school funding scheme. Grift for grifters.

I grew up in Wickenburg and graduated from Wickenburg HS. It is a nice little town but there is no place to work. If there had been jobs where we called home we would still live in Wickenburg. As the students grow up and look for work they have to move on. Wouldn't it be nice if the kids could stay by their families and have a good job. Only industry can provide that opportunity. That means change which is good.

Not sure.

Wickenburg is well north of the Toyota Proving grounds and the new Wickenburg Ranch development is several miles north of Wick. However, the first facility supporting this 3,100 unit development - even during its lengthy dormancy - was a large APS power plant that has been pumping groundwater to fill ponds and water a golf course for several years before it finally opened last year. It appears APS has a perverse incentive to add to its capital base as the state allows it a 10+% return on plant and equipment. Crazy projects therefore make economic sense - at least to PNW stockholders.

I do know that the proposed industrial development west of town in Forepaugh, near the tiny agricultural village of Aguila is on a potentially contaminated former military site (a magnet for industrial development incentives) and that the largest recent land acquisition in that area recently has been by Phelps Dodge which has no interest in the current agricultural land use which has been leased temporarily, but has ultimate objectives of pumping the water to support its mining operations in Bagdad, AZ.

Lots of conflicting interests to investigate. Great potential for a new murder mystery that only David Mapstone could solve!

Nancy U make a valid point however in my humble thoughts America needs a lot less industry and a whole lot more Roadless Wilderness. We could make everything Wilderness from Wickenburg to the Kofa Mountains.
I do like the small village North of Wickenburg,
Nowhere Arizona.

No, Wickenburg hasn't changed all that much in the last 40 years. I was born and raised in the fantastic little town. Of course I didn't know it then, but the environment of my upbringing was, for the most part, ideal. I wanted to leave when I turned 18 so I could get out and see the world. Saw it. Not bad. However, I still can't bring my children back to raise them here as the cost of living vs. the job opportunities is a no win situation economically. My mother still lives there, so I have watched the town for decades. Businesses come and go, but it is still a one stoplight town (there are 4 now, but c'mon, 3 are pretty much for show. Still just two supermarkets. Still just one theater with one movie a week. Friday night football is still the best show in town. On the outside looking in, great little community where everyone knows everyone and no one is worried about leaving their doors unlocked. Voted safest community in the state about 15 years ago, not much has changed. However, when they decided to agree to the bypass...well, that was the one change that signaled the downfall. Did NO ONE watch the movie CARS!? That was the moment that assured that Wick would never be the same. I don't know where it will end, but "small towns don't make money" and sadly, that will probably be written on the tombstone of this once happy little 'burg.

Orona,
Wickenburg will not die. It will grow it's boundaries to Tonopah. It will try and climb the mountain to Yarnell and will expand towards Bagdad. It will be winter homes to those that can afford it and the location will bring more Betty Ford retreats for the mentally fatigued wealthy.
But there is always Quartzite.
The continuing aggravated assualts on the great lands of the southwest. But that's how we think. Conquer!
Until the planet takes revenge.

An industrial park? I know how they can get the water to run it, all they have to do is put in a simple rock dam up there around Walnut Grove!

FYI
Jon,s new book -"A Brief History of Phoenix" is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.
I can't wait to get my copy.
Jon won't tout so I will.

Cal
Nowhere is a village? One derelict village and a cell tower. You really should have lived in the 1850s.
Salud!

OK corrections: one derelict building not village.

Ramjet. I did and still do. Except I now have a 320 square foot house pulled by a horse and for excitement a Honda Fit.
And the coyotes and Javelinas still come at nite.

Hi All, I'm new to this site and my last post was a reply to Cal that didn't actually show up in the right context.

There was a post by Nancy - apparently in response to mine - that deserves an answer as it addresses a key and popularly persuasive issue and one of the reason's the Wickenburg is in the current funk that it is. That issue is: Is everyone's birthplace somehow entitled to create industrial development to provide them lifetime jobs?

Employment centers evolve naturally as did Wickenburg's. It is a high end rehab center because it is in an appealing rural high Sonoran Desert off the Walmart grid.

Change that and you lose the goose that laid the golden egg.

But for Nancy, my reply is that I moved to Wick from one of the nation's first planned industrial communities, Holyoke, MA. I raised 6 children in a metro area with every job conceivable available. One moved 90 miles away to Boston and the rest moved to Portland OR, LA, and overseas. Growing up in a community with lots of jobs available has very little at all to do with keeping the kids at home.

Read the article posted by Soleri about the young woman forced out of Portland (Soleri- I'll take a test if you don't believe me).

Good article of a real world example of people moving- I hesitate to use the term "forced"- because the rent's too damn high.

But markets work that way. She did not sound bitter nor entitled the way many do when economics get in the way of dreams- or complacency.

John- I think Nancy's point was that there weren't jobs there and so young people move away. That doesn't imply that if there are jobs, kids will stay.

Many here seem to impugn whatever Wickenburg is doing to try to hold on (housing, an industrial park, some others).

But without those, what will Wickenburg become?

John, I see you caught my Chinga,
Cal Said,
"It will be winter homes to those that can afford it and the location will bring more Betty Ford retreats for the mentally fatigued wealthy."
John Said
"It is a high end rehab center because it is in an appealing rural high Sonoran Desert off the Walmart grid."
And a good response John to Nancy.

RamJet, I know you ride that noisy Harley but some of us seek this:
http://www.onbeing.org/program/last-quiet-places/4557

Nowhere AZ is fairly quiet, you can almost hear the Silence Roar.

INphx. Rather than blading everything for John Gault Industry,
Wickenburg could become a jump off point into the Wilderness for the Japanese tourist trade and pale face over weight Iowans.

Anyone who wonders what went wrong with small town America (and urban America) should learn about the Arvin Dinuba Report (unless said "anyone" thinks everything's dandy, no need to look if that's your deal)and its sister report, Mills Ulmer, which were quashed by the federal government on behalf of big business. The saddest thing of all about them is that if they'd been treated seriously, it would not have already been too late to hit the brakes.

Cal,
I never rode a harley in my life. I am strictly a monster truck guy.

Re: the article INPHX read. Markets do work that way, but a well-regulated market manages to hold back the dawn while still respecting property rights and growth. If Portland had Ayn Rand as city planner, it would look like Mesa, and few would care that much about it. But enough citizens did that it's prized for its quirkiness and charm. It's an economic asset.

I saw a bumper sticker on a car here that responded to the famous command Keep Portland Weird. It read Weird Doesn't Pay the Bills. I wanted to leave a note on the owner's car, "oh, you might be surprised". Few people move here for the weather (or championship golf) but for its quality of life. Sacrifice it on the altar of growth and you kill the proverbial goose.

There's an ongoing debate here about what's more important, affordable rents or Portland's character. I completely get the fact it can't be one thing or the other. Too many people have bid up Portland's value, just like they did in San Francisco and Seattle. Planning threads the needle here, trying to add to the housing stock without killing the city's soul.

Wickenburg is a lovely little town in a state that doesn't give a damn about anything except money. In a better state, planners would be working with the town to ensure its charm wouldn't be sacrificed in the name of "freedom". I understand the answer is not easy, but if you're not struggling with the trade-offs and losses, love is not your guide. Something else is and it's a mortal sin.

City Planning is good and necessary but it cannot overcome supply and demand. Portland unfortunately has become a destination city for rich liberals. Increases in housing costs created by migrant and organic demand cannot be planned away, at least not for very long. Portland is a great town but you better be already long residential housing ownership or have a lot of revenue to cover the never ending increases in housing Portland will be experiencing.

Rogue proclaims that the migration to Seattle has made the city a better place. For the six figure techies probably yes. Now if you are just a regular type of gal or guy working in retail or living on fixed income, really not a better place if you can no longer afford to live in your city.

The high tech corporate model concentrated in the Bay Area and King County is the greatest driver of inequality in the US. If you are on the recipient side of stock options in high tech corporate America, life is good in Seattle. Living on median wages in prosperous Seattle, not so much.

Portland hopefully can slow its slide in to a King County bifurcated urban economy of high techie haves living the American consumer driven existence and the rest who are being pushed out to places like Maricopa County to find affordable housing.

The contempt that Rogue and soleri express for people of midwest origin is ironically the same contempt natives and multi-decade residents of the Pacific Northwest have for the relative newcomers like Rogue and soleri.

Tribes are tribes.

"Tribes are tribes." Now ANON there in lies an accurate view of MANY problems. Past tribes lived on and in harmony of the land. many of the survivors were traveling tribes. These tribes learned to harvest what the land offered not to try and Chemically kill it.(and were not Canal builders for agriculture)"The advent of agriculture was the beginning of the decline of mankind" - Jared Diamond), Today's tribes are Drill baby Drill. If your tribe wants to live in Mega cities of monstrous ant communities, fine. But do not bulldoze the landscape in and around the Wikenburgs of the world. Mega cities ("living in your on shit"-Jared Diamond) in my humble opinion are cesspools of disease and many unhealthy issues. Pollution, Salt Lake City and Phoenix high on the sick scale)
Wikenburg needs to capitalize on its small quaintness and develop that into some helpful income. Bisbee is still not dead nor is Jerome. And Sunnyslope was a healthy place up until the eighties for the Tubercular's and asthma (Cal) suffers. Wikenburg is a good hideaway for those seeking mental health and addiction recovery. Much like Sierra Tucson was until the developers surrounded it with residencies as far up Mount Lemmon as they could legally get away with.
When I moved into the Quaint Village of Sunnyslope in 1950, I didnt sneeze. Life was good, selling doughnuts to the Tubercular's in the Wabash Trailer Court and delivery newspapers and catching desert Denizen and selling them to non natives. The landscape north of the Arizona canal was dirt and sand and mesquite bushes and cacti. South of the Arizona canal and on towards the Grand canal closer to downtown Phoenix was Sneezeville where invading cultures from Spain and the east coast brought their olive trees and other unlike desert plants. So I just keep moving further into the Great Sonoran Desert, Whats left of it.

Anon:

Nice post.

Soleri's implied contrast of Portland with Mesa is spot on.

Arguing which one is "better" is just a waste- suffice to say that they approach the problems differently and their communities reflect those choices.

When you "choose" Mesa (that is, when developers choose for you a devalued suburban environment that is cheap and charmless, which you then buy), you are reflecting values that define Arizona - big-box stores, anonymous housing pods, low civic engagement, and a drive-everywhere landscape that could be anywhere and except for some random topography.

Arizona is far-right for a reason. It has lousy values and they're getting worse. You don't want planning. You don't want pristine desert, you don't want a state worth caring about and preserving. As Anon said, those are liberal elitist values. You want crap instead.

So, you end up with a state that is scraping the bottom of the barrel in various social and economic indices. Despite its heritage and stunning beauty, you prefer to see it paved over and raped. And you vote. See: INPHX.

I left Arizona because it was hopeless. I know there are nice things - some beautiful winter and spring days, cheap rents, and access to some amazing sights (see: federal land that hasn't been swapped yet). But when the Phoenix sprawl is swallowing Wickenburg (and can Yarnell be far behind?), or when Tucson's sprawl is now crossing the border into Pinal County, you might as well give up. Letting the market decide is like letting a five-year old decide what's for dinner.

Ramjet, I take it your monstrous truck engine is not as loud as a Souped up Harley Because you put some 1960 Glass Pack mufflers on it to get that great old Hemi sound?

The Nogales to Tonopah (will it eventually cross the desert to East LA?) corridor development continues.
Man's development atrocities continue to say, the desert is ugly and screw the desert tortises. If there is a need for a revolution it is against the continued population growth and the rapid destruction of nature's awesomeness.

New post from "Steve in Tokyo" on the Where Arizona Fits thread.

Interesting item on the front page todayhttp – if you’ll overlook the apocalyptic environmental language. The slow motion train crash that is Cali is interesting to observe.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/25/opinion/sunday/my-dark-california-dream.html

I read Soleri’s attachment and found it interesting also. Like so many left-coasters of the working and middle class, leaving for Texas (San Antonio).

http://www.wweek.com/2015/10/21/portland-i-love-you-but-youre-forcing-me-out/

Re RC: “Thus all cities where I've lived have changed and grown, but many (Seattle, Denver, San Diego, Charlotte, even Cincinnati) have gotten better. They are valued and loved.” I would make Cincinnati the pick of the litter. More raves for it: (Note: granola shotgun is a Cali guy)

http://granolashotgun.com/2015/10/05/jesse-over-the-rhine-cincinnati/

Another rave review of Cincinnati, my ideal of low rise density

http://granolashotgun.com/2015/09/05/low-hanging-fruit/

When you’ve had enough of the left coast bullshit, you might reconsider such places as Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, etc. If you can handle the weather Minnesota and Nebraska deserve a looking at.

You have the right idea. Don't let progress destroy your vision for Arizona.. I haven't been there enough to judge. I just know that is sound in its beliefs. Not all bundled up in east coast fantasy sports. Just a good place to live without the silly frills

wkg i can't imagine why anyone would want to live in those frigid and bug ridden humid states that you mention. Not to mention all the fanatical myth nuts that inhabitant those muddy crossroads. Arizona has more than its fair share of religious kooks but at least we have "Dry Heat".

Hello Phoenix. Thanks for some good old left coast weather. Have been, more or less, bedridden due to ragweed allergies this week. Managed to drag myself out of bed and get cleaned up enough to go out and get something to eat this evening. Went to my favorite BBQ joint (Golden Rule – the Hoover store). It is no doubt the best BBQ joint in B’ham and ,by definition, the entire world. I’m sure Phoenicians feel the same way about their favorite Mexican Joint. I digress – back to the weather. I don’t watch TV except for an occasional ball game. We don’t have a daily newspaper anymore – so I am shockingly uninformed about current events. (A situation I don’t find particularly debilitating). I noticed all day long that the apartment building was groaning; wood framed buildings do that. Back to the BBQ joint. I was sitting at the counter. I spun around an asked an elderly couple in a booth across the aisle from me: “Is there a hurricane somewhere?” The gentleman replied that this was the remnants for Hurricane Patricia. The last I heard it was out in the Pacific off Mexico. Wiki claims that Patricia dumped 9 inches of rain of Houston. Now it’s here and we’re expecting flooding also. I only hope Phoenix got a good drenching.

Re. migration to Portland. Most has been to surrounding areas in the Metro- Clackamas county has had as many as Multnomah (Portland) with half the population. There probably are some "rich liberals." But a whole lot of transplants simply are Californians leveraging the relatively high value of their homes down south. I know wealthy republicans who've moved into Irvington from out of state. The problem with housing supply here has been brewing for years - construction stopped during the '08ish recession while 10K per year continued to move to the metro area. Economically vulnerable folks are taking too much of the hit, and it's the effect largely of market forces, too many of them predatory.
Near as I can tell Portland's been changing a lot over the past 20 years. It had been a much funkier, edgier wide-open place. And cheaper. So, will this phase of the town's evolution dilute what's given it so much of its character and desirable qualities? I think that austin came ups with the "Keep *** Weird" before p-town. Similar changes in housing and population shifting are happening there. Are there people who mourn the loss of Brooklyn of 1990? By the way I've heard Richmond called the "Brooklyn of the Bay Area." It has some nice housing stock. Its civic bones have severe osteoporosis, but its a relatively affordable landing spot for young folks who want to get a foothold there.

Portland and Seattle are doing pretty much what San Francisco has already done: celebrate their roots as boisterous, colorful waterfront working class cities by getting rid of the actual working class. I always liked Eugene way more than Portland. I believe as we move into the post-industrial age, the largest urban areas will begin collapsing (sort of the way they already are), and will be replaced by smaller cities with more localized economies. The arts will follow and adapt: a healthy, economically sound city of a couple hundred thousand can support the arts, and even a newspaper or three if those exist into the future. I hope the phallic symbols recently built in Dubai and Jakarta (was it Jakarta?)are the last we'll see of the vulgar twentieth century bigger is better mindset. If we're lucky we'll even be able to keep Donald Trump and Katie Perry out of our political campaigns, but...baby steps.
WKG, Thanks! That's what some of us have been saying for years! Everyone should move to Alabama and Minnesota! Thank you!

Pat don't let a Sahuaro fall on you as you are leaving.
Adios Kemo Sabe.

What was it that made Wickenburg viable economically? After mines played out, it was farming ang ranching? What is the current economy based on?
I lived in SF and Oakland during the early 70's. The working class jobs were at the waterfront and in manufacturing. The docks got mechanized, cranes and containers replacing working men. Manufacturing got centralized and more mechanized. Successive waves of people who were accustomed to mobility discovered how wonderful the place was- if not always warmer than home, more temperate. I was fortunate to have attended the closing of a vestige of east bay working class live- the Club58 across from what had been the old Heinz factory on west ashby. The bartenders were beefy originals who kept clubs in the drink wells. And so on.
San Francisco was inexpensive. College grads could go to the board of education, get gigs as substitute teachers (so the legend goes) and find affordable rents. The working-middle class there was to a large extent organized in a literally parochial manner. There had been an artistic and bohemian culture, but nothing like the 60's experimenters who flocked there. A lot of the Catholic working and middle class moved out in the face of those changes. The Sunset was a working class enclave among others- a lot got priced out by Chinese immigration and real estate banking in the 70s. Dan White came out of that milieu with a gun and a lot of resentment.
Are there any cities in the USA that have kept their working class character? I love it when I see its traces, and not merely nostalgically. I'd love to see horse and buggy streets, too though.

What's happening in Portland is part of an ongoing auction for landing rights in America's best places. I noticed it first in places like Aspen, Greenwich Village, and Santa Fe in the early '70s. Then came Santa Monica, Marin, Mission Hills, and DuPont Circle. By the 1980s, it had spread to all of San Francisco, most of Manhattan, Boston, Denver, Santa Barbara, Pasadena. In the '90s, it progressed to Arizona's small burgs - Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, and Cave Creek. In the aughts, it swamped Seattle, shot San Francisco and Manhattan through a cannon, and finally noticed Portland.

The crime, if there is one, doesn't involve narcissistic boomer/yuppies/liberals bidding up the real-estate in valued places. The crime is that so much of America sucks because of bad cities that cater more to cars than human beings. Check me if I'm wrong, but isn't this half the reason for this blog?

Phoenix was, at one point, a very sweet little city. Today, it's a sprawling car dystopia that no one except Pat McMahon and Grady Gammage can love. Of course, it's not just Arizona. Most of America looks like a street where all the used car lots and check-cashing stores are located.

For the faux naifs here, what should have happened? Should we have instituted national rent control? Abolish private property? Demand nobody move unless they can provide hipster or working-class bona fides?

I never would have left Phoenix if it had 10% of what Portland has. It doesn't have 1%. There isn't a single walkable street in America's fifth largest city. There isn't any urban neighborhood where you can find unique stores, crowded sidewalks, and great bars. It's a city that boasts about how nice looking its freeways are. It's the equivalent of a TV preacher telling you how wonderful life is because he's rich.

I spend a lot of my waking moments pondering the sadness of a nation that disposes of its wonderful cities and towns so some philistine hucksters can more more money selling rubes real estate in God-forsaken suburbs. I'll repeat this J'accuse one more time: what happened to this country was a disaster and most people are too blind to see that they are the victims. Instead, they blame black people and buy guns.

Actually Wickenburg became a tourist destination and dude ranch capital of the world. Big money with inexperience directors/TM's have changed that recently. Big money that came in saying they were going to restore Inn and casitas of one of the dude ranches and then tore them down for another golf course and subdivision. While restaurants and businesses close. Our powers to be believe that by building you bring people - but census shows growth at only 80 people per. Yet (not counting the new subdivison) over 150 houses for sale at any given time. Places like Tombstone and Bisbee embraced their history and played on it to bring millions of tax dollars in every year. Wickenburg puts it into building houses for the small percentage of property taxes. While us in the downtown area have streets with hole and cracks, no upkeep of neighborhoods and 2 blocks of my house there are 1/2 a dozen empty houses. Where is the logic?

Sadly, Wickenburg's pending demise has nothing to do with supply and demand and everything to do with the sales tax - particularly the lure of construction sales taxes on new rooftops - which is the primary reason it has sold its soul to sprawl.

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