Truckee is changing, but I still like it
August 7, 2003
I ran into a guy at the post office recently who I’ve known for 20 years or more. We both used to work at Northstar in a bygone time. He said to me, “I know Truckee’s changed a lot, but I still like it here.”
I always seem to have my ear open for new ideas, especially ones about Truckee, since I’m always looking for something else to write about.
When I hear an idea that fits my point of view, I tend to adopt it as my own sometimes.
About an hour after I had this conversation, I found myself telling my husband about it. I didn’t take credit for the idea at first. I repeated what Chuck had told me at the post office and then I added that I felt that way, too. The next day, I tried out the idea on a friend, giving Chuck no credit at all.
In the following weeks, I carried the idea around, considering whether I really felt this way or not. Inevitably, some facet of change in Truckee would be presented to me as a test. One day I sat in traffic caused by a combination of tourists and road construction which clogged up Donner Pass Road from one end of town to the other. The next day I was jarred by the noise from a low flying jet which passed overhead while I was out at the new soccer fields.
“I still like it here,” I reminded myself.
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Most of us have known a few people who tried it here, and then moved away. I once knew a family who left Truckee for Whitefish, Mont. “It’s getting too crowded here,” they told me. If they could see it now.
A local mom suggested to me recently that perhaps I live where you can’t see my neighbors because, as Truckee gets more flooded with unfamiliar people and traffic, both on the road and overhead, perhaps it’s comforting to climb up our private road, away from it all to our own special spot.
It’s true. I like my spot in the Sierra, where the gliders are let go to catch the updrafts right above my house during summer days, and where a bear has been nosing around all summer. This is the Truckee that I love!
So, with all my pondering about whether I still like it here, changes and all, I happened upon a four-color promotional brochure called “Truckee” the other day while downtown. Actually, it was put together more like a magazine with two articles, one which seems to be about the history of Truckee, but unflappably works in the history of certain stores, and then another about development planned for Truckee’s future.
As I gave this publication a thorough reading, the publisher’s slant glared apparent.
First of all, I found it curious that no one took credit for having published it.
In these ego-driven days, this doesn’t add up, unless you don’t want people to know that you’re the money behind the slickly produced publication. If it was the Downtown Merchants Association or the Chamber of Commerce, I’m pretty sure that they would have taken credit for it. Upon reading the entire thing, I decided that it seemed to be more about shopping than development. I ruled out East-West Partners or another developer as the anonymous publisher.
If you see a copy I encourage you to pick it up and see what you think.
It includes about 15 professional photographs, mostly of downtown.
Here are a few excerpts that caught my attention. Apparently, developers are “Truckee’s new pioneers.” I am not making this up. “Truckee’s future…looks brighter…and bigger.”
“Founded over 100 years ago…” – uh, wouldn’t that be almost 140 years ago? Okay, I’m getting nit-picky. “Truckee boasts a colorful history and the spirit to change with the times.”
Also, “it’s a wonder that Truckee hasn’t experienced growth sooner.” It also mentions “newly opened eateries in new town Truckee.” This publication takes upon itself to rename areas of town. In case you’re wondering where “new town” is, according to the restaurants named, it stretches from Gateway to West Truckee. Although, it does state that “Truckee is a mecca (sic) for nature lovers,” a caption to a photograph contradicts this by stating, “Commercial Row retailers and restaurants are the main attraction for locals and visitors.”
Really?! Not the mountains and lakes and slopes and trails?
I guess just about anybody, if you’ve got the funds, can put out their own version of what Truckee is about, and hope people will gobble it up. The liberal use of the word “locals” is exploited to make the reader feel as if this is really Truckee.
Whoever this publication’s intended audience is, clearly it’s not me.
I’ll amend Chuck’s sentiment to say, “Truckee’s changed a lot, but I still like it here…but I don’t like slanted writing about Truckee that purports to be informational when it’s really just a cover as a sales tool.”
Katie Shaffer is a Truckee resident. Life in Our Mountain Town appears every other week in the Sierra Sun.