San Mateo County Times/Gary Richards, 8/31/14. "Roadshow: Father Serra rest stop savior given six months to live."
|Junipero Serra statue, 280 freeway|
|Jerry Morissette protected,|
cleaned-up the site,
and planted gardens
The rest stop was disgusting -- covered in graffiti and littered with bottles and used needles and condoms. Then Morissette took over.
The eccentric former monk, Disneyland worker and Navy medic, who was living out of an old ambulance he owned, parked it in the rest stop and made it his new home. Later he moved into a shed where maintenance equipment was stored. Eventually Caltrans erected a trailer on the site for him to live in. .... The state refurbished the rest stop several years ago, and it remains a pleasant oasis." Read article.
Related articles - San Francisco Chroinicle/Ryan Kim, Staff, 1/6/03. "Morissette first pulled into the rest stop in 1990, took the initiative to set up home in a storage room behind the bathrooms and began cleaning up the rest area, including shooing away anyone he suspected of breaking the law. A priest in Oceanside (San Diego County) in the 1970s, Morissette had quit the clergy after two years because he said it wasn't for him. He moved to the Bay Area a few years later and landed a job with Social Vocational Services, a San Mateo County nonprofit organization that contracts with Caltrans for menial help. It was that organization that assigned him to the rest stop."
San Mateo Daily Journal/ Bill Silverfarb, Staff, 5/27/14. Nearly eight years ago, the rest area became the center of controversy as its former caretaker Jerry Morissette refused to leave the state-owned trailer he occupied on the land after Morissette allegedly acted belligerently toward 911 dispatchers. Morissette moved onto the property, located along northbound Interstate 280 in Hillsborough in 1991. In 12 years, he turned a plot of land ... into a mini-oasis replete with gardens and various fruit trees. Giving him a trailer to live in, Caltrans eventually allowed Morissette to stay in exchange for deterring the unsavory activities. Caltrans, however, ultimately ended the California Rest Stop Caretaker Program and evicted Morissette from the land. Now, CHP security cameras will monitor the area for suspicious activity. Construction on the rest area facilities began in September 2009."
Related Services - Day and residential programs, Social Vocational Services, San Mateo County. Care, Social Vocational Services, South San Francisco.
Note photographs from related articles: Father Serra statue by Bill Silverfarb from San Mateo Daily Journal; Jerry Morissette by Deanne Fitzmaurice from the San Francisco Chronicle article.
Posted by Kathy Meeh