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Portraits of a changing economy

Preserving memories and stories that are fleeting in times of economic change in one of the fastest-growing cities in America: Austin, Texas.

Moving on, moving out part II

After almost one year of my last visit, I went back to Cactus Rose Trailer Park. According to what I was told, they should be out of the land by the end of 2016, but I was surprised to see the trailers still there every time I passed by. So I arranged a visit on January 4th not only to figure out what was going on, but also to bring some prints of my previous visits to the families. Some sort of piece of the life that is about to change forever.I found the same cheerful people that I met in May 2016, but now with more empowerment about their current situation, and with less time to make important decisions.

The developers arrived to a deal with the community, offering $10,000 to the owners of single trailers and $20,000 for the doubles, and each family is going to receive the money once they leave the property. I found that even though there is big uncertainty about the future, this deal has shifted the general sentiment from desperation of being thrown to the streets, to hope about in a solution. However, there is not a specific deadline to leave the land, at least for now, and that has pushed home owners to look for the best solution for them, bringing divisions in the community and even inside some of the families. When you stop fighting for a common goal and start the pursuit of individual objectives, that is going to change the dynamics and can bring disagreements. And that is what is happening here. Some families want to take advantage of the situation to buy their own little piece of property, others, what to buy a new trailer, others have already packed to leave by the end of February to another trailer park, and others are still undecided.

Despite these new challenges, the day to day life continues and I found many families having a relaxed Saturday evening at home and was lucky enough to be invited to a Birthday party with good food and always, good laughter. Kids play and watch TV, while adults eat, talk, make jokes. Everything under the veil of an imminent change closer to them every day. Like Saúl Madero told me while we were at the Natalie's Birthday party: "This could be the last party we have here".

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