There’s a Jeep Liberty in north Spokane that is anything but free to roam.
Commuters may have noticed it locked up tight in a cage in a Washington Department of Social and Health Services parking lot on Boone Avenue between Ash and Maple streets – one vehicle, one parking space, fully encased in chain-link fencing.
“It is a conversation piece,” said Mark Swenson, who manages the office for which the Jeep is used on state business.
Swenson said the office’s previous pool car was stored off-site for some time, but when it had to be moved to Boone, trouble began almost immediately.
“Within two days of it being parked in our lot, the windows were broken out, the tape deck stolen, and the thief’s blood was all over the front seat,” he said.
The department had to call in a biohazard cleanup team.
Vandals later hit the building, breaking more than 30 windows.
So when the old car had too many miles to continue and a new car was purchased, the cage went up on Boone.
The $1,800 investment is worth it, said Swenson. Just replacing slashed tires could top $1,000.
And then there’s the entertainment value for everyone passing by …
Rush-hour drivers met an unhappy surprise on Hamilton Street a couple weeks ago when the Gonzaga University men’s basketball team played Portland State in a 5 p.m. game.
Ticket holders searching for parking and pedestrians crossing midintersection created long back-ups. There weren’t many people directing traffic to help solve the problem.
With just a few games a year that create such situations, there isn’t a reason for signal changes, said Bob Turner with Spokane’s streets department.
But a word to pedestrians: Please don’t jaywalk across Hamilton. Use the Centennial Trail bridge or cross at a light.
Commuters may want to keep an eye out for any other rush hour games, too.
Leaf pickup or plowing
Spokane crews will continue collecting leaves from city streets if they have enough snow-free days to do so. The schedule could change with snow, however, since crews will be moved to plowing.
Residents are asked to move vehicles off the street for both leaf pickup and plowing. Residential streets are only cleared if there is 4 inches or more of snow and only after crews have plowed arterials and residential hill routes.
This week’s leaf pickup schedule:
Today: Franklin Park area bounded by Francis, Wellesley, Division and Maple; Shiloh Hills area bounded by Hawthorne Road, Francis, Nevada and Division; Liberty/Lincoln area bounded by Interstate 90, 20th Avenue, Southeast Boulevard and Ray Street.
Tuesday: Shiloh Hills and Liberty/Lincoln areas again.
Wednesday: Lidgerwood area bounded by Francis, Garland, Perry and Division; Gonzaga area bounded by Empire, Boone, Crestline and Division.
Thursday: Lidgerwood and Gonzaga areas again.
Friday: Esmeralda area bounded by Wellesley/Francis, Upriver Drive, Havana and Perry/Market; Lincoln Heights area bounded by 29th Avenue, the south city limits, the east city limits Perry/Cook; Gonzaga area again.
Post Street is restricted between the Post Street Bridge and Spokane Falls Boulevard. Expect slowdowns.
Work on Waikiki and North Five Mile Road could cause closures and one-way traffic. Expect delays.
Signal work at Hastings and Mill Road could create lane closures causing delays.