Monday, September 23, 2013

Kudos to the NYT for seeing both rural gentrification and rural poverty in Colorado floods

The New York Times followed up yesterday on the massive floods in northern Colorado under the headline "Roaring Waters, Deep Scars:  "It Chewed Us Up." The accompanying multimedia show is here.  What struck me first about the feature by Jack Healy and Dan Frosch is that it not only attends to rural gentrification, which I expected, it also attends to rural poverty (or--more precisely--suburban or exurban poverty in an area associated with agriculture).  Here's a paragraph from the story that sums up the two communities, Jamestown, population 274, in Boulder County, and Evans, population 18,842, just outside Greeley, in Weld County.
Jamestown and Evans. One, a 280-person town of picturesque homes, string musicians and organic gardeners. The other, a 20,000-person city on the plains, where families have journeyed from Mexico to work at the meatpacking plant and in the oil fields. Now they are bound together by Colorado’s worst flood in a generation, two communities among dozens confronting urgent questions about how long it will take to recover.
The entire piece is quote atmospheric, evoking the beauty, exclusivity, and quirkiness of the front-range, alongside the poverty in which immigrants live not so far away.

P.S. Another piece about the impact of the floods on rural Colorado hospital is this from NPR, on Sept. 24, 2013.  It touches not only on post-flood transportation challenges, but also on cuts in federal payments to critical access hospitals like the one in Estes Park.  Here's another story, this one from the NYTimes, regarding concerns over environmental damage from extraction industries in the wake of the floods.

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