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Coeur d'Alene, ID Is Beautiful, But Different Than The Magazine Spotlights

I was born and raised in North Idaho, and made Coeur d' Alene (pron. Kor-duh-lane), my home after I returned home from college and graduate school. This was during the housing bubble. This period shifted the city (CDA to Idaho residents), from a woodsy farming and logging community, to a congested and unfriendly mini-metro center. Take a look at any sponsored regional publication, and all that can be seen is the CDA Resort with its world famous floating golf green, and photo-shopped blue lake water. The real CDA is a rather discombobulated city in the middle of the gorgeous Kootenai National Forest. In the span of 15 years, CDA grew from a manageable and friendly 10,000 people, to 60,000 people (or refugees according to the native population). In this city it is not uncommon to see a theme park stuck in the middle of a wheat field, or a row of methamphetamine lab houses one block from a school park. The local government is only concerned about exposure in tourist magazines, and the police, though dedicated, are severely understaffed. I lived in a very nice apartment complex on the south end of CDA, near the village of Fernan. At one point the traffic was so bad, it took me 45 minutes to get to my workplace on the north side of the city (approx 6 miles). The intersection of Appleway St. and Highway 95 is considered the "most congested intersection in the state of Idaho." If you are privileged enough to move to CDA with a degree of independent wealth, it is an absolute paradise. There are shopping centers galore, endless resorts and spas, restaurants on every corner, and a quick drive across the Washington State line into Spokane, WA. Coeur d' Alene also has unparalleled surrounding natural beauty with forested mountain ranges, ski hills, hiking and biking trails, and one of the "5 most beautiful lakes in the world," which is home to the CDA Ironman Triathlon. As the central city of the Idaho panhandle, a one hour drive in any direction will land you in another state, or even the lake country of British Columbia, Canada. The many elementary schools, two high schools, and North Idaho College/Lewis and Clark State College campuses are highly regarded. Kootenai (pron. Koot-nee) Medical Center is a leading heart and cancer facility in the Pacific Northwest. The glamor and fervor over Coeur d'alene's beauty and growth is purely an upper class endeavor. Blue collar residents are losing their attraction to this city because of radical changes that have been poorly managed, and remain exclusive in resident inclusion. Coeur d' Alene has become a Tahoe-style resort city that isn't aware of how it is disrupting life in a rural state.
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