fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Bushes leave a lasting imprint

Jacksonville recovers from a historic night

The coffee pot was still hot Wednesday morning in the Latourette Cottage when Jacksonville Inn owner Jerry Evans took a look at where President George Bush and his wife had just spent the night.

They were the most pleasant, accommodating, polite people, he said.

Evans agreed to let a couple of nosy journalists have a peek at the cottage minutes after the president and first lady had left.

Napkins with the presidential seal sat on the counter, the shower area was still steamy and the table hadn't yet been cleared.

The president had eaten a bowl of Post Honey Bunches of Oats and the first lady had ordered a hot breakfast with eggs.

— With the notoriety surrounding the Bushes' stay, Evans contemplated changing the name of the cottage. I may call it the presidential cottage after this, he said.

The president and his wife were charged the full &

36;375 fare for the cottage, and Evans said he charged several thousand dollars to house President Bush's entourage.

Evans said the advance team had special requests for the inn. Agents even felt the tile floor in the shower area. They wanted rubber mats so the president doesn't slip and fall, he said.

The president brought his own coffee, but requested two coffee pots in his room.

He gets up at 5:30, reading five or six newspapers, Evans said, pointing to a stack of newspapers sitting on the coffee table.

The Bushes had dinner Thursday night in the patio area behind the Jacksonville Inn, with Bush ordering the portabello mushroom filet and his wife the salmon.

When protesters outside the inn became noisy, Evans said, the president offered to leave to avoid any more disruptions to the guests.

Evans said he told the president he would try to persuade the protesters to calm down, although he was unsuccessful. A confrontation between protesters and law enforcement agencies at about 8 p.m. resulted in two arrests.

(Bush) still managed to finish his dinner, Evans said.

The last time a sitting president stayed in Jacksonville was in 1880, when Rutherford B. Hayes spent the night at the U.S. Hotel. However, George W. Bush's father stayed at the inn when he was vice president, Evans said.

Early Friday morning, about 100 people lined the streets of Jacksonville to say goodbye to the president and first lady.

Jacksonville resident Tom Moeller got a brief glimpse of Laura Bush, who was waving behind the bullet-proof glass of the Bushes' limousine.

After a two-hour wait in the chilly morning, Moeller said, That was worth it.

His wife, Carol Moeller, held a sign that said, God bless president and Mrs. Bush.

While she appreciated the president's visit, she said, I was totally disappointed with the way the protesters ruined last night.

Her husband said the president's visit will be a boost for Jacksonville, particularly the Jacksonville Inn.

Now they can have a plaque that says George Bush slept here, he said.

Still, residents in tiny Jacksonville were a little overwhelmed by all the secret police, helicopter units and other law enforcement teams combing the town for the last week.

Jacksonville Police Chief David Towe said the president's visit taxed his department of four full-time officers, who helped in the security effort.

The number of protesters, in particular, was difficult, he said. It got a little crazy last night, Towe said Friday.

He expressed relief that the president's visit was over and life was returning to normal in Jacksonville.

We're glad he got to come, he said. But we're glad we're done.

1 president, 4 planes

President Bush may have left the Rogue Valley quickly Friday, but it took a lot more time to pack up all his presidential stuff.

Shortly after Air Force One departed, a C-17 and a C-5A flew into the Medford airport to pick up equipment such as limousines and a helicopter used during Bush's stay. The president and first lady Laura Bush held a campaign rally in Central Point on Thursday evening and spent the night at the Jacksonville Inn.

A smaller Gulfstream plane with United States of America painted on it sat on the tarmac near the airport terminal. Airport Director Bern Case said it was the plane Laura Bush used to fly into Medford Thursday.

She left with the president Friday and the plane left later, Case said.

Those planes do get people's attention, Case said.

At least a few Medford residents saw the large planes flying to Medford and mistakenly believed Air Force One turned around and returned.

If that would have happened, it would have turned us upside down, Case said.

Jacksonville Inn owner Jerry Evans stands in the cottage where President Bush and wife Laura stayed Thursday night. The president ate cold cereal for breakfast and read several newspapers before heading to the Medford airport for his next campaign stop. Mail Tribune / Jim Craven - Mail Tribune Jim Craven