It's summer, a season for enjoying the parks -- if you can find a place to sit down.
On June 2, the city removed six park benches from downtown's central plaza, Westlake Park, which has been a customary resting spot for street kids. Parks Department spokesperson Dewey Potter says businesses, residents and park users have complained that "the group can become quite large and dominate the space, making it difficult for other people to enjoy the park."
The benches have been removed, she says, to make way for flower and sandwich vendors and lunchtime buskers -- programming that's a hallmark of the city's strategy to "activate" larger downtown parks.
Some bench users say they were told there was too much litter in the area and that, if the littering didn't stop, more benches would disappear. But Potter says litter isn't an issue, even if a Parks worker said so.