By some measures, Heather and I are long-time residents of the District of Columbia. We moved into a small condo on the 1200 block of 13th Street NW in March of 2005 and spent the next five years there. We loved our community, and we worked hard to make a positive impact so that our family would have a place to thrive as we aged. Heather and I both served on the board of our condominium association and the Logan Circle Community Association, and I served as a neighborhood commissioner on ANC 2F. We made many friends and became familiar faces in the shops, bars, restaurants, and grocery stores.
We loved the tight-nit community feel. Everyone knew one another, and you would wave to each other as you walked down the street. And while we lived there, we watched the neighborhood grow around us. Some old rundown businesses closed and were replaced by shiny new businesses, although many stayed and successfully adapted to the thriving area. Crime went down and the one-time menace of street prostitution was finally brought under control. New bus routes were added, and plans for a streetcar were in the works. Exciting new restaurants and bars opened, drawing in outsiders to taste their delicious foods and wonderful drinks. It was a great time!
Eventually, like many young families, we needed a bit more space. And so we started the hunt for a new home. We had been smart with our finances, and had a reasonable amount of money saved up; we knew what we wanted and what could afford. And, of course, we were definitely going to stay in Logan Circle – after all, that was our home! We pulled up Redfin and started to search.
Alas! These outsiders had been coming into our neighborhood and been buying condos and houses and renting fancy apartments. The property values had been going up and up. Suddenly we realized we could not afford to live in Logan Circle anymore! The very things we loved about our neighborhood had drawn all these damn rich people into the area, and Logan Circle had gentrified right under our noses. The very work we had done to help improve the neighborhood had probably even helped the gentrification along. How unfair! How stupid were we!
Though we searched and scoured and schemed, we just couldn’t find a way to get the home we wanted and stay in the neighborhood in which we invested so much of ourselves. With sadness, we started looking for homes in other neighborhoods. Lucky for us that the property values in Logan Circle had gone up, though, since we were able to find a really nice house in a neighborhood in a different part of town.
We’ve been here a few months now. We really like most of our neighbors, except for the ones who leave their trash out all the time. It feeds the rats, and we are working hard to get that all under control. We will get it sorted out soon enough, though, and it will help make the neighborhood a little better. But you had better believe that this time I’ll be on the lookout for those goddamn gentrifiers coming into the neighborhood to mess it up.