Born & Razed: Downey’s changing economy, demographics, and art scene

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“Now, what [Downey is] developing into is a microcosm of America in that it's becoming less and less local businesses. Everything's becoming corporate businesses,” says musician and native Dave Alvin. Illustration by Darius Johari.

Dave Alvin formed Americana band The Blasters in Downey with his brother Phil, then went solo in the 1980s, but returned to show KCRW around.

In the 1990s, Downey rapidly shifted its demographics to become mostly a Latino area. It was then labeled “Mexican Beverly Hills,” but longtime residents say that’s unfair.

A nonprofit gallery in downtown Downey has been instrumental in developing an art scene in the city. Now it faces possible closure.