The local Utah media have been publishing stories on how and why many Latter-day Saint residents are moving out of Salt Lake City proper and into the suburbs. Stories on this issue have been published by KTVX Channel 4 and the Salt Lake Tribune. Among the reasons for relocation cited: Bigger and better homes for the same price, and they want to be closer to people they are comfortable with. Replacing them in Salt Lake: Single people (many of them gay), non-Mormons, people from out of state more accustomed to "diversity", and ethnic minorities.
And it was some of those ethnic minorities who caused a problem in the Poplar Grove neighborhood of Salt Lake, wedged in on the west side between Glendale and Rose Park. According to the Salt Lake Tribune and KTVX Channel 4, about 1:50 A.M. on July 19th, 2008, a crowd estimated from 15-20 people (KTVX reports 17) had gathered outside a residence at 1356 West Wasatch Avenue. Suddenly, a group of people led by 22-year-old Hector Urcino-Solano approached. After a verbal confrontation, Urcino-Solano drew a gun and fired several rounds into the crowd. He and his playmates took off, while two people received serious leg wounds, and a third person was grazed. The two people with leg wounds are currently reported in stable condition.
However, police response was quick, as it tends to be in Salt Lake City, and K-9 units found Urcino-Solano and the other suspects hiding in a garage of an abandoned house at 1455 West Wasatch Avenue. A total of six people were taken into custody. Urcino-Solano was arrested for aggravated assault, 19-year-old Kelsey Nakoi for inciting a riot, and 21-year-old Robert Sendejas for obstruction of justice. Three juveniles were also arrested, but the charges were not disclosed. All six are believed to be affiliated with the "Avenues”, a gang operating on the west side of Salt Lake.
Police report that witnesses say the attack was unprovoked, and was triggered by someone wearing the "wrong" colored shirt. “One of our suspects said the reason why it took place, one of the party goers was wearing a red shirt,” said Salt Lake Police Lt. J.R. Nelson.
Using the Zipskinny website (cut and paste link below, site does not permit direct hot-linking), I plugged in zip code 84104 to perform a demographic check, and I found it is 40.5 percent Hispanic, 40.1 percent White, and 7.1 percent Pacific Islander. The zip code actually extends beyond Poplar Grove alone, but at least you get a snapshot of what's going on.
And what has been the impact of the LDS movement out of Salt Lake upon LDS organization in Salt Lake City? LDS spokesman Rob Howell confirmed that total population of LDS Church members in Salt Lake City has decreased by approximately 5,000 individuals during the past five years. A year ago, the LDS Church closed a Mormon chapel on K Street between 10th and 11th avenues and sold the land. In March 2008, the Foothill Stake, which stretches from 1700 to 2100 South and 1900 to 2300 East, went from seven to five wards. And in June, the Hillside Stake, from 1300 to 2100 South and 1300 to 1900 East, went from nine wards to six.
By the way, the flight includes many of LDS Church's highest officials. Currently only LDS apostles Dallin H. Oaks, Joseph B. Wirthlin and M. Russell Ballard live on Salt Lake City's east bench. Apostles Russell M. Nelson, Robert D. Hales, Jeffrey R. Holland and David A. Bednar all live in North Salt Lake and Bountiful, as do Henry B. Eyring and Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the governing First Presidency.
Commentary: Can you blame them for moving? What civilized person wants to live amongst those types of people? You don't see 20 people gathered outside a house at 2:00 A.M. in a respectable neighborhood. What's wrong with those people? Doesn't it occur to them that their neighbors might need their sleep in order to be alert for work the next day? And why do so many Hispanic youth become gangbangers? I'm tired of the "mentor" excuse; most of these families have two parents, and you don't see White kids "ganging up".
And while the majority of LDS moving to the suburbs are undoubtedly White, not all are. The LDS Church welcomes people of all races.