Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99

Intense security a force Loop reckons with

The president-elect's security force was an unavoidable presence in the Loop on Monday morning as Barack Obama met with John McCain in Chicago's Kluczynski Federal Building.

Thirty-eight floors below, dozens of officers from Federal Protective Services patrolled the building's lobby and periphery. Armed agents checked the photo IDs of everyone who entered a metal barricade enclosing the majority of the plaza the building shares with a large post office and an Alexander Calder sculpture.

Several Chicago police officers kept watch over traffic in surrounding blocks, redirecting trucks away from streets around the building.

Most people who work in the area said the massive security effort presented only minor inconveniences: a longer wait at the metal detector to enter the Kluczynski Building or a change of location for cigarette breaks.

"This is the president of the United States, of course he should have this much security," said Mark Frazier, a passport/visa expediter. "It's a necessary evil."

But for some businesses near the transition team's headquarters, the constant presence of Secret Service agents has meant more than the occasional hassle.

Brien Cron, the manager of the UPS store across from the entrance to the Kluczynski Building's underground garage, said business is down 50 percent within the last week.

Customers either don't realize the store remains open or are kept from the sidewalk in front of the store when Obama's motorcade is on the move, Cron said. Employees find themselves under scrutiny, and delivery truck drivers must walk their cargo from a parking spot two blocks away. When Cron's cell phone was seized and erased by an agent when he attempted to videotape the motorcade, Cron thought it was "way over the top."

Bucha and Bong Shin, owners of Downtown Cleaners on Quincy Street, were even more concerned about their business. Because their front door is on the street where postal trucks line up for inspection before entering the underground garage, foot traffic has virtually disappeared over the last two weeks.

"We're very worried," Bucha Shin said. "The winter is always very slow, and the economy is slow, so this just compounds everything. I don't know how we'll survive it."

The Shins and Cron said they had not been contacted by any law-enforcement agencies before the security effort was launched.

"We can't wait until he leaves," Cron said.


Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Michelle Obama's wardrobe
    Michelle Obama's wardrobe

    Read about how Michelle Obama is well on her way to shaping a uniquely American style . For more Michelle photos: Wife, mother, First Lady

  • The art of Obama
    The art of Obama

    Drawn in butter and just about everything else, America is celebrating Obama in all forms of art. Read about those inspired by Obama .

  • Hairstyles of Michelle Obama
    Hairstyles of Michelle Obama

    Johnny Wright grew up on the South Side and started doing hair—his grandmother's—when he was 3. Now he's living in Washington and still doing hair: Michelle Obama's. The White House confirmed to the Tribune on Thursday that Wright is now the first lady's hairstylist. Read more.

  • First 100 Days
    First 100 Days
  • Bo Obama
    Bo Obama

    Read more: Nation welcomes First Pooch.

  • Barack Obama's ascendance
    Barack Obama's ascendance

    • Get the latest Obama news at Obama Watch. • What's the president-elect up to? See the latest photos.

  • Romance in the White House
    Romance in the White House

    • Get the latest Obama news at Obama Watch. • What's the president-elect up to? See the latest photos.

  • Barack Obama coverage

    Road to the White House Latest stories | Photos | Inauguration -------------------- Want to see more photos? Click here --------------------