The concrete form at left was support for a trestle that once crossed Plymouth Avenue near the Mississippi. It lifts the ground well above the street grade where a wedge of isolated greenery grew in the semi-abandoned industrial landscape. A perfect place for a camp, close to town and the scrap yards, and out of sight.
Now, though, a new building is rising on the long-empty lot to the west. The unseen oasis is now a too-visible neighbor. So sleeping bags, blankets, shelter and clothing have been swept down to the sidewalk.
Across the city, a new light rail line is being planned to run through a faded neighborhood. New development, better services and more employment are promised (or at least dangled before the current residents).
In the long run, it may be so. But the blankets on the sidewalk and the underwear on the road sign are a reminder that, even with the best intentions, better is never better for everyone.