The blight continues to spread

Letter by Matt Hutson

Gentrification – October 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

The blight of gentrification continues to spread


This week the City Council of my hometown of Carbondale passed an open-container ordinance. Where once one could idly sip a beer along Main while watching the occasional car go by, it’s now a crime.

Carbondale was once the province of ranchers and coal miners. The miners have been gone since 1990 and there are very few ranchers left. Now, boutiques and tony restaurants clutter downtown. The community is now home to two first-class 18-hole golf courses and all the expensive homes new money can buy. The North Face is relocating their corporate headquarters to my formerly little hometown. Yuppies are everywhere and Range Rovers cruise Main Street.

One particularly nasty little group of recent arrivals is suing one of the last ranching families to gain access to land they bought which had none.

Carbondale is forever ruined. The blight from Aspen has spread downstream through Glenwood and beyond. There’s damn little left of rural Western Colorado. An enclave here and there like Collbran or Nucla have yet to be discovered and enlightened. The gentrification of the West continues at an appalling rate.

I’m not blameless in the rape of agricultural land. My livelihood depends on more of the same sort of pillage. It’s the only way I’ve found to be able to stay in the valley where I grew up and still put food on the table. But it grates on me nearly every day.

Matt Hutson Glenwood Springs