Standing in the shadow of industry, Detroiters feel ‘choked out’

One of the surprising things about Detroit’s diminishing population is how many people claim to know exactly what to blame for the dwindling number of residents. And yet the driving forces are so numerous as to defy definition: high taxes, poor schools, out-of-control crime, unresponsive city government, corruption, pollution, hostility from Lansing, and many more.

Then there are some Detroiters who say the main force driving them away is the city itself. They say that the city sees them as obstacles, not assets. You’ll hear this point of view from residents in the Carbon Works neighborhood, where the expansion of the Marathon Refinery looms large. And you’ll hear it from the people in Delray, all too aware they may be living in ground zero for the anchorage of a new international bridge.

But perhaps nobody defines that struggle between stubborn resident who wants to stay and a city more focused on multimillion-dollar deals than Rufus McWilliams.

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