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Crosses On Public Property Near Julian Find New Home

Pastor Plans To ‘Host’ Three Controversial Crosses

Audio

Aired 8/17/11

A possible solution has been found to a controversial plan by Caltrans to remove three crosses on state Route 79 near Julian.

The crosses have been a fixture for decades a few yards from the roadway. But Catherine Bruce-Johnson with Caltrans said anything placed on state right-of-way are removed.

"These are articles on Caltrans right-of-way and it's not uncommon that we have encroachment violations," said Bruce-Johnson. "And we would remove any items that were encroaching on our right-of-way."

Caltrans will remove the crosses.

Bruce-Johnson said Pastor Rick Hill has offered to have the crosses relocated to the property of his Hillside Community Church. She said once a site has been selected, the crosses will be passed on to the pastor next month. In the meantime, Caltrans will place them in storage.

"We're so fortunate in this case and thankful to Pastor Rick Hill of the Hillside Community Church in Julian that he stepped up and he's hosting these memorials for the community," said Bruce-Johnson.

Caltrans received a complaint the crosses were on public property. The plan to remove them led to a protest by supporters of the crosses who want them to stay.

Mountain residents congregate for Easter Sunday services beside the crosses, which are located near the entrance to a vista point which provides sweeping views of foothills that lead to the desert floor. Crosses on public property has been a source of controversy for years in San Diego County.

Despite years of legal wrangling, large and highly visible crosses remain standing on Mount Soledad in La Jolla and Mount Helix near La Mesa.

(City News Service contributed to this report)

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