A symbol of eternal love is about to get torn down. The “Love Locks Fence,” a popular tourist destination on Portland, Maine’s Commercial Street, is scheduled to be dismantled within the next two weeks. For years, visitors have adorned the 30-foot-long chain-link fence with padlocks intended to represent their commitment to loved ones.

According to the Portland Press-Herald, the gesture is thought to have started in Portland in early 2013, when a group of women left the locks around Valentine’s Day. That led to several more; before long, the fence that blocks residents from a stormwater runoff was host to roughly one thousand locks.

Enrica Lopriore via Facebook

The weight of all that affection has had an unintended consequence: the locks have started to weaken the fence’s structural integrity, leading to the possibility of a full collapse. Before that happens, city officials will remove the fence—locks intact—and place most of it in the parking lot of nearby DiMillo’s restaurant. The barrier replacing it will apparently be love (or padlock) proof.

Portland didn’t invent the tradition: It’s believed that Serbians etched names of loved ones on padlocks during World War I to declare their monogamy and ward off any third-party complications. And Paris’s Pont des Arts bridge sported locks from about 2008 to June 2015, when officials removed the display.

For now, Portland officials have cordoned off the fence until it can be taken down. Everlasting love, it seems, still has to be in compliance with city ordinances.

[h/t Gainesville Times]

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