Trailer Park, Upper Campus
Contributed by Mariajose Lobo
“There is a saying, “Once a Parkie, always a Parkie.” You can meet people who lived here 10 years ago that still come back to visit and hang out.”
In Conversation With Mariajose Lobo
The trailer park is a really, really awesome place that I can’t believe actually exists. Living here was the craziest and most amazing thing I have ever done. It’s a great place just to come walk around. You aren’t really supposed to drive through the park, but sometimes freshman and their parents will drive through taking pictures through their windows while we are sitting in our trailers like the trailer park is a zoo.
It’s a funky, unique place. This was my trailer. I painted the door red and put those curtains up. Generally one person lives in each trailer, although some have two people living in them. Each trailer is totally different and has a different history. Some have names. And people change stuff, build stuff, and the trailers change personalities as people move in and out. Parts of the park have names too, like Door-chestershire, or Downtown, or Uptown, or the Lonely Loop.
There are standards that all the trailers have to adhere to. They can’t leak. They have to have running water. And, they all have to have a special type of heater. There are a lot of weird bureaucratic regulations. There are communal bathrooms, because none of the trailers have usable bathrooms.
There are also communal parties. Every spring and fall, we have the Olympics with an established set of activities. There is an Olympic torch, and events like bike tossing (where people toss bikes, obviously,) stick bouncing, finger jousting, and timed tree climbs. Old parkies always come back for that.
How do you get to be part of this community and to get a trailer? The people that live in them own the trailers, and the land is owned by the UC. So, you have to buy the trailer from someone after being on a wait list and pay rent to the university. The prices of the trailers have gone up. They cost between $3000 and $6000 now, which is definitely not what they would be worth outside of this park, because none of them run except maybe two of them– and to get those to run was a crazy lot of work.
People used to live on this site for free without the permission of the university. But, the university did not really like that, so they paved this area off and set up an arrangement where people could bring in trailers and live here for lower cost then anywhere else on campus. Now, though, you can’t bring in any more trailers, and the trailer park has a weird relationship with the university. They would kind of like to get rid of it, and have for a really long time. They see this land as an already paved and sewage ready area for development.
But, there is also a big movement to preserve the park and to stop campus development. People don’t want to see this forest cut down or the park gone, because it is a special community. There is a saying, “Once a Parkie, always a Parkie.” You can meet people who lived here 10 years ago that come back to visit and are glad that this community still exists. There are 44 trailers, so it is not that many people living here at any one time. Everyone knows each other, and people look out for each other.