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Eureka, CA

My ex-hometown - 1/19/2020
Well, I was born in Eureka in 1957. As a child I absolutely loved it there. There was plenty of work before the lumber industry took a nosedive. The Humboldt Bay still had very good fishing for salmon and the like. The population was growing exponentially and the people were pretty much common middle class folks. During my youth, the "hippie" movement was coming into full swing and Humboldt county was awash with free thinkers (hippies). Things began to change pretty drastically during the early '70's when the environmentalists get a good foothold in the community; the first nuclear power plant in the country that had been set up south of town near the King Salmon exit was shut down; the lumber industry took a hit; and the fishing began to dry up. My high school senior class of 1975 was over three hundred strong and most of us, I have discovered over the years, have left for greener pastures. My sense is that our generation was a bit more conservative than the upcoming ones, so we found other places where we fit in better. I joined the service right after high school and left for Texas. Upon retiring many years later, I returned with the intention of possibly retiring in or near my old home town. WRONG! I was absolutely aghast at the difference. My hometown was no longer my old home town. The population of working class people had diminished to about a third of what it had been and the population of homeless and transients had skyrocketed. I looked online to see the crime rate and was astounded to discover that Eureka was #2 on the list of worst crime rates in the state. Only Oakland was higher. The people and the paradigm had so completely changed that I thought for a moment I had entered some twilight zone setting and was losing my mind. There were no more smiles on the faces, no more happy youth driving around the strip and looking for dates, no more friendly pets and neighbors waving and greeting me. Now I was faced with suspicious stares, wacked-out kids on crazy new drugs, Pit bull terriers behind chain-linked fences, and homes with closed blinds and drawn curtains along every street. Eureka is no longer Eureka; it's a drug infested, crime ridden, slab city of zombies and malcontents. I decided to make my retirement in the Rocky Mountains instead. The wolves, moose, grizzly bears, and carnivorous animals are much easier to content with and are much more predictable than the crazies in Eureka. I recommend that, if you have to drive through Eureka going north or south, you just drive right on through Eureka going north or south. Don't stop. You might get caught in the crossfire.

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