Ballard is undergoing the type of demographic transformation that is affecting most formerly cheap and simple neighborhoods in any "desirable" city. As the old timers retire or die, their homes are bought by young upwardly mobile couples with either one kid or one on the way; or they're rented out to young artists, musicians and students.

In fact, this has been the story of my adult life so far: I move to some forgotten city or neighborhood looking for a decent yet inexpensive place to live, when suddenly thousands of other college-educated, suburban-raised people of my own age get the same idea. Before you know it said neighborhood is neither forgotten NOR cheap — which is fine when you're in the mood for a fancy-shmancy restaurant (and can afford one). But it also usually means goodbye to that cute old neighborhood grocery store, barber shop and corner bar.

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