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Death and life of Sunbelt cities

Downtown Phoenix 2020
 
By Soleri
Guest Columnist
 
I hadn't been to Phoenix in several years, so my trip a couple of weeks ago was animated as much by curiosity as it was the desire to see old friends. I did know the city had more than recovered from the previous housing crash. Indeed, it was booming again. A dozen years ago, I predicted Phoenix would never recover from the crash. I don't like eating crow but if it's the sole item on the menu, so be it.
 
Much of what I did see made that crow taste better. Phoenix looked much healthier than when I moved to Portland in 2013.  The downtown had filled in with new high-rise apartment buildings and crowded clubs. The activity at night, in particular, was heartening to see.
 
What I didn't see were the thousands of "unhoused" mentally ill drug addicts who have turned much of Portland into a dystopian hellscape. Yes, street people were on the sidewalks of downtown Phoenix, but without the trash, tents, and drug paraphernalia that have so deeply damaged Portland. Phoenix is relatively litter-free and unmarred by graffiti.
 
Maybe it's the weather, or maybe it's because its political center of gravity is simply not in far-left field.

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