President’s blue tape left everywhere
Just before President Bush arrived in Park City in late May, the president’s security planners gave Anita Crane’s Ford pickup truck a splash of color.
They applied blue-colored tape to the truck on Wednesday, the day the president was brought into Park City on a helicopter for an overnight fund-raising trip. The next day, they put tape on two of Crane’s trash cans, part of a security blanket put in place for the Bush trip.
"Anything they looked at, they put tape on," says Crane, who has lived in a house on the 400 block of Marsac Avenue for 20 years and watched them apply the tape, adding, "We were excited about what was happening, but you do feel a little invaded, I suppose."
Two weeks after the Bush visit, the blue tape remains on numerous objects along the presidential motorcade routes. Some people have removed the blue tape from where it was left, but others have not, leaving a somewhat well-marked trail between the president’s stops. The tape is easily seen from the road, and it was put on myriad sorts of objects mailboxes, street signs, cars and a few houses close to the streets, among other places.
Crane says the people who put the tape on the trash cans were courteous, and she removed the tape from the pickup truck two days after Bush left.
Rick Ryan, a Park City Police Department captain who was involved in the security planning, says the Secret Service swept the motorcade route before the president arrived.
Once a Secret Service agent checked an object, they marked it with the tape, Ryan says. He says the agents saw the objects as potential threats to the motorcade. The president’s motorcade, which included his limousine, Secret Service vehicles, police cars and motorcycles, at least one ambulance and other vehicles, traveled between the schools complex on Kearns Boulevard, where his helicopter landed, Silver Lake Village and Solamere.
He stayed at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Silver Lake, and the fund-raiser was at the Solamere house of Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and onetime Republican presidential candidate. The motorcade accompanied Bush at each stop.
The tape was left along the routes, with it being most visible in upper Old Town, where houses sit just off the road. Trash cans were also marked. Someone received the tape on a tarp-covered car. It was put on a portable toilet, and an electronic speed trailer was marked. The Secret Service did not miss the Olympic torch sculpture in the Old Town roundabout, and a decorative mining cart was marked. Boulders and utility boxes received the blue tape, and so did the stone base of a Solamere neighborhood sign.
Ryan says he is unaware of any complaints to the Police Department about the tape. He says property owners will likely have to remove the tape and he does not expect the presidential entourage to return to help.
"Somebody’s going to have to take it off," Ryan says. "I don’t think it will be the Secret Service."
Bush’s trip to Park City was the third by a sitting president in the last decade, following two family ski vacations President Clinton took during his second term. Ryan, who was with the Police Department during the Clinton trips, does not recall similar security measures then. Clinton’s presidential motorcades during his visits were much smaller.
Another person whose property the security team marked, Larry Evans, says he watched as the security team canvassed Chambers Avenue, the Old Town street where he lives.
They looked underneath cars with mirrors as they applied the tape, he says. His 1970 white-colored Cadillac received the tape on the rear window. He eventually removed it and put it near the address on his duplex’s wall.
"It would have been nice if they came back and took it off. . . That would have been the polite thing to do, but since when is the government polite," Evans says.
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