Colorado Springs: an anomoly or model of the future? | Off Piste | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

Colorado Springs: an anomoly or model of the future? 

When I was a kid growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado it was almost paradise. The town was small (some 29,000 inhabitants) with plenty of wide-open spaces surrounding a well laid out downtown grid, a wonderful parks system, great weather and plenty of outdoor recreational activities close by.

Today the town has a population of 420,000 people and is barely recognizable, except for the downtown core, to former citizens like me. The Springs (as locals call it) population boom, and subsequent sprawl, has come from two sources: the military and numerous religious organizations.

Fort Carson, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) are the prime military stakeholders in the community.

Focus on The Family with its 45-acre campus north of town and 1,200 employees is but one of 80 religious groups that have moved to town.

As pointed out in a recent article entitled "Doing Less With Less" in Governing Magazine, Colorado Springs is getting a lot of attention because of its finances.

The town has some of the lowest ($55 per capita) property taxes in the nation. City revenue has been derived from a local sales tax. But with the economic downturn, receipts from that sales tax have plunged.

As a result, Colorado Springs found itself at the ended of 2009 with a nearly $40 million revenue gap for this year.

Quoting directly from the Governing story: "So to save money, the Springs slashed its budget and enacted a series of severe service cuts. One-third of the city's streetlights were turned off to reduce electricity costs. The city stopped mowing the medians in the streets (at one point earlier this summer, the medians were so overgrown with weeds that the city was in violation of its property maintenance code).

"The parks department was hit especially hard-its budget was gutted from $17 million in 2009 to just $3 million this year. In addition to closing the pools and restroom facilities, the city removed all trash cans from its parks, since it could no longer afford to collect the garbage."

The story goes on with a litany of other parks problems and then goes beyond aesthetics and recreation to "the city has cut 550 employees from its workforce by eliminating positions through outright layoffs. Of the 1,600 municipal employees left, 1,200 are police officers or firefighters. Municipal bus service has been reduced by 100,000 hours meaning buses no longer run in the evenings or on weekends-a problem in a place where the vast majority of transit riders have no alternative to get to work. The police department auctioned its three helicopters on the Internet. Spending on infrastructure projects has essentially ceased, and the city faces a $700 million backlog in capital needs."

Is this a chilling example of what is going to occur in more cities across America or an isolated and somewhat extreme case?

To read more and make your own decision, go to

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Outdoor Yoga Flow Classes

Outdoor Yoga Flow Classes - Free Spirit Yoga + Fitness + Play

Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 9:15-10:15 a.m. Continues through Sept. 11
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Off Piste

  • Can't Wait for the Face-Kini Trend to Hit Bend

    • Aug 20, 2012
      More reasons to slap one of these on, according to The Indian Express is they are,"also extremely effective at repelling insects and jellyfish." Read about even racier Face-Kinis here: http://inventorspot. More »
  • A New Way to Protect That Gorgeous Mug of Yours

    • Aug 20, 2012
    Sick of the claustrophobic greasy cloud of sunscreen, fellow sun bunnies?  It drips into your eyes if you're active and sweating and sometimes has a pasty white sheen, but in Bend sun protection is mandatory.   The other problem is the way it makes you feel like you're being buried alive. More »
  • Bust a Love Move Today

    • Aug 9, 2012
    Long before Gay A. Bradshaw (one of Oregon’s own) put a name on them, trans-species relationships have continued to baffle, challenge, and warm the hearts of non-human animals and humanimals alike. More »
  • More »

More by The Source Staff

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2022 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation