Our “fair and welcoming” city has just done something clearly ugly and unwelcoming: They just spent thousands of dollars putting up big yellow eyesores at the north ends of Lawrence and Washington streets to prevent vehicles from entering the west end of Skinner Butte Park.

Why? I imagine the only purpose of these gates is to prevent people from parking there, especially at the end of Lawrence. For years, this has been a place where folks with nowhere else to go for a night, or a week or so, have been able to survive, only periodically “checked on” by the police, with whom they have not, as far as I can tell, had any serious altercations.

A large RV was broken down there for a while recently, but caused no trouble. The chicken bus has been an irregular resident, and a pleasure to have in the neighborhood.

I live at the end of Lawrence and have gotten to know several of the folks who have parked in that block over the years. I’ve never had, or known of, any problems.

Now, with that big gate, even people who just want to go to that end of the park for an afternoon can’t park there. Where will they park? Probably in front of my house, which will make it difficult for my kids to park when they visit.

Wasteful and mean? Obviously. Stupid, too, in my book. Whose idea was this, anyway?

Jeff Harrison