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Op-Ed: You Didn't Build This City, We Did

Denver, a decade ago. Great enough?
Denver, a decade ago. Great enough?

This past weekend we published "Denver Is Diverse, Time for 'Natives' to Get Over It," an op-ed by Michele, a current Colorado resident who's lived around the country, and the responses have been pouring in faster than U-Hauls coming from Chicago. Here's one from a native who has at least one thing in common with Michele: She fears trolls, and asked to remain anonymous.

As a native (third generation, to be exact), I am proud to have been born, raised and stayed in Colorado.

We were always very welcoming to tourists. We opened up our doors for them. We gave them directions. Told them the best places to go. Where to eat. And we always knew summer would end and we’d have a couple of months before ski season began.

We were vibrant on our own. We built our city up. Heck, we had the Stock Show, housing developments, gambling, skiing, ice skating, performing arts, highways and interstates. We had industries (Coors), the second largest concentration of federal employees in the nation, and parks. A lot of parks. We had a zoo, golf courses, old neighborhoods, new neighborhoods, a state-of-the-art airport, an art museum, a natural history museum, golf courses and really pretty churches. We all got along.  We knew the grocery store had an ‘s’ at the end, we knew "soda" is not something you say in Denver, and we didn't "go to the market." We knew the intricacies of living a mile high. We knew the rules of the road and where to go fast and where to keep it down. We loved our state that we made...on our own with no help from the transplants.

People have flocked to our state and brought their erratic driving habits. They've disrespected and ruined our parks. Some moved here to get high, then realized that employers do drug tests so they can’t get a job. They've driven the cost of housing up so our children won’t be able to afford to live here. They've shown up looking silly in their Western wear, they've brought rudeness, disrespect and non-conservative ways with them.

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When we go to your home, we respect it. We follow your lead. None of you considered the damage you are doing and continue to do. You have caused accidents. You drive drunk and high. Your values do not coincide with ours.

We will continue to be natives and will always talk about the way it used to be. Before our beautiful state was overrun by a group of people who created havoc and have all but ruined our state.

You didn’t build this city, we did. You’re welcome to leave at anytime.

Next weekend we'll publish more responses to "Denver Is Diverse, Time for 'Natives' to Get Over It," as well as comments about this piece. In the meantime, you can read the article that got this round of native/transplant discussion started, Teague Bohlen's "Resolutions for Denver Neighborhoods in 2020."

Westword occasionally publishes op-eds and essays about issues of concern to Colorado residents. Have one you'd like to submit? Send it to editorial@westword.com.

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