“‘We’re all gone,’ says Alexandria City Councilmember Joyce Woodson, who has lived in the neighborhood for nearly 30 years. ‘The people that are the same age as my husband and I—they’ve gotten rid of us. This community had all types of people—they’re gone because of the cost of housing’” (“Mourning Coffee,” 10/18).
Those of us living in Del Ray haven’t evicted anyone. We bought houses (many in tremendous disrepair), and we are spending our time and money restoring them. The folks who have left, the ones whom Joyce Woodson speaks of, made a bundle when they sold their houses. They could have remained house-rich and pocket-poor like the rest of us, who are choosing to stay because we love our neighborhood.
Maybe she’s speaking of the ever-disappearing rental property, though I suspect that Woodson and the rest of the city council like spending our property taxes, which rise every year as the property values rise. When I stand on my front porch and look around, I am overwhelmed by the diversity: black and white (a given), gay and straight (also a given), a city employee who is over 50, a retired patriarch and his family, and a former slum-quality rental that Scott Mitchell just bought. I’d say my little corner looks pretty typical of the neighborhood.