Controversy Grows Over Removal Of Crosses Near Julian

Caltrans To Remove 3 Crosses From State Property Friday

A small but dedicated group of faithful residents in Julian prepare to do battle with Goliath as they try to save three crosses which Caltrans says needs to be removed.

10News was there as a half-dozen Julian residents formed a prayer circle near one of three crosses that have been part of the Julian landscape for decades.

But now the crosses are to be torn down Friday.

"This shouldn't be happening," said Julian resident Dorinda Smith. "Apparently, this is happening because of one person making a complaint to Caltrans."

10News asked Caltrans about the proposed move, and Caltrans public information officer Cathryne Bruce-Johnson said, "Once we are made aware of anything erected that encroaches on state property, we have to take action."

Caltrans said its policy does not only apply to the crosses but to anything erected along state property without a permit.

Residents told 10News they are doing all they can to prevent the removal of the crosses. They are posting fliers around town and asking for the community's support.

"I've been here since 1969 and the crosses have always been up here," said Julian resident Don Runnels.

Runnels also said the crosses were replaced two times, that he can recall -- once when the cross was torn down by a vandal, and in 2003 when one was destroyed in the Cedar Fire.

"I think at this time, the logical sensible thing to do would be to have a stay of execution and investigate the matter of getting a permit," said Julian resident Fred Fabre.

But it may be too late.

Caltrans told 10News there is a possible solution.

"Ideally, we would like to work with the community to relocate the crosses to private property so there would be no future issues of encroachment or safety," added Bruce-Johnson.

But for residents like Smith, she wants the crosses to stay right where they are.

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