Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bayview Says Goodbye

The following post is published, courtesy of the Spokesman-Review. By Herb Huseland

The year 1958 saw a new trailer park established on Main Street. Bayview Trailer Park, with 32 spaces, served as homes for many over the years, and vacation spots for many others. Possibly one of the last picturesque spots where lower-income people could rub elbows with middle- and upper-income neighbors is fast coming to a close.

Established 49 years ago, this park has long been the center of residential Bayview. While the town stretches west to the Farragut State Park boundary, Bayview Trailer park is smack dab in the middle of town. With the planned construction of condominiums and a two-story parking garage in the works for spring, it doesn't look good for families living west of the park, saving their views of the lake.

A year ago, the trailer park owner sent out notices alerting residents that the park would close on Sept. 30. Although the park was subsequently sold, the new owner opted to stick with the original eviction timetable.

According to published news reports, about a dozen parks have closed in Kootenai County over the past five years, with older mobile home parks being converted to more lucrative uses as commercial properties or higher-end housing.

Only three lonely mobile homes remain at the Bayview Trailer Park as of this writing. One has a tractor attached to it in preparation for exiting. Bare concrete slabs stare up at the sky, seeing daylight for the first time in years. Rubble strewn around the vacant spots tell of hasty removal or abandonment of these older homes, never intended to be moved more than once, yet called mobile homes. Local businesses stand silent, as the former neighbors aren't in line at the Mercantile, or on the next bar stool at JD's or the Captain's Wheel. The trailer park stands gutted, waiting for the inevitable sounds of new construction expected in the spring.

Jack and Charlene Soppit, still packing, operate the liquor store in town. Jack moved to the park 40 years ago. He subsequently married Charlene, and moved her and her daughters into his home. Skip Wilcox, retired from the U.S. Air Force, has been one of the more fortunate ones. He found another place to live. Some of the evicted trailer park residents still haven't. Older or disabled people are still looking for answers that aren't forthcoming.

The Captain's Wheel restaurant is sponsoring a farewell Thanksgiving potluck to say goodbye to friends from the Bayview Trailer Park. Former residents are encouraged to come from wherever they landed, for this, the last hurrah. Sunday from 3 to 7 p.m. Music will be provided by Good & Plenty. Everyone is invited.

1 comment:

Kendra said...

That is so darn sad, Herb. I guess it's all in the name of progress, but for those many, many families (mine included) that live paycheck to paycheck, an unexpected move can be devastating.
I think that in cases like these where eviction is mandatory for a large number of people, the ones doing the evicting should offer some sort of a severance pay- like a deposit in reverse.