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Housing and climate crises – The Durango Herald - Energy And Water Development Corp

Housing and climate crises – The Durango Herald

Upon reading The Durango Herald story (Feb. 19) about the city’s plans for three apartment projects slated to relieve the housing crunch in Durango, my concern focused on the Western Slope’s water crises, and how that would affect those plans.

Then, in the Feb. 20 Denver Post, the Western Slope water crisis was brought into sharp focus (while the Front Range is experiencing the opposite with this season’s snow).

That was followed with a story, “The Next Affordable City Is Already Too Expensive,” in The New York Times. It was about Spokane, Washington’s new dilemma as one of America’s new “hot” cities, where big-city escapees hope to find an affordable life with an attractive lifestyle. With housing prices rising 60% in two years, Spokane’s citizens are already suffering a cost-of-living crisis, despite the booming employment market. This has locals’ resistance on the rise.

Durango is now experiencing both crises, though housing costs have been a problem before I arrived in 2008. It feels more like a hostage crisis between battling forces of housing and climate change. For years, people have been moving here to retire, or hoping for a great life of affordability and lifestyle. Many have paid cash for homes, and this has driven housing prices into levels few Durangoans can afford. They’re being driven out by outsiders moving in. Former farm and ranch pastures are filling in with Durango’s version of the postwar Levittown developments.

All of which is to say, these topics deserve serious editorial exposure and public discussion before taxpayer buyers’ remorse sets in.

David Ohman


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