Rural refugees: We’re witnessing the loss of jobs, homes, communities

CRESWELL – On May Day, International Workers Day, this year I was traveling by automobile to Iowa. Much of the route was on secondary, two-lane roads. 

Beginning in Eastern Oregon I began to notice stretches of abandoned homes and small towns in poor condition with empty storefronts, no grocery store or service station, although there was always a bar. These observations continued all the way to North Central Iowa.

One could also periodically see new, extremely large, architect-designed farm or ranch “mansions” along the rural route. In one small Iowa town . . .