By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
January 18, 2013
If you’ve taken the Paseo entrance ramp to I-35 northbound any time recently you’ve no doubt noticed the blue and green tarps in the woods and the seemingly endless parade of foot traffic along the east side of the entrance ramp to the top of the hill where someone “flies the sign” to garner spare change, food, water and the occasional free beer or half pint of hooch. This morning however, acting on citizen complaints, workers with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department along with Police Officers eradicated the encampments, discovering a number of “hot” portable meth-labs in the process.
“It really was a pretty sophisticated kind of layout” said one Parks Department worker as he stood in the middle of a “courtyard” of sorts that was once ringed by tents, tarps and shanties. “This one here” he said, pointing to a holed out area in the ground, ringed by large stones. “This was a huge tarp that had separate sleeping quarters, a latrine and even a kind of patio area.”
Police made no arrests but Drug Enforcement Units from the department systematically cleaned up the labs eliminating the bulk of the hazard to Parks Department workers who were responsible for the clean-up. “It’s a never ending cycle” said another Parks Dept. worker. “We’ll be back here in six months and it’ll be built back up, probably better than this”.