City of Los Angeles employees tore down the fence surrounding the Echo Parkabout two years after the park closed and relocated around 200 homeless people who had moved there during the height of the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Councilman Mitch O’Farrell’s office ordered the park closed in 2021, saying the operation was necessary to clean up and make necessary repairs.
Los Angeles Sanitation and Environment crews removed what they said was 35.7 tons of solid waste from the site.
In a few weeks, they could remove the fence that surrounds Echo Park Lake and, as Norma Ribeiro tells us, as the date approaches, there are residents who oppose the removal of this protection.
The park underwent cleanup and repair work worth $60,000, which included:
- Replacement of playground surface;
- bathroom repairs and outdoor LED light fixtures;
- The replacement of five standpipes;
- improvement of streetlights in the area;
- exterior painting and improvement of the boathouse on the lake;
- improvement of the lake bridge; And
- Rehabilitation of the park’s lawn and improvement of irrigation.
Park closure controversy
When news broke in March 2021 that the park would be closed for repairs, many in the community saw it as a veiled effort to evict the hundreds of homeless people who have moved into the park during the pandemic.
The move was met with large protests, during which officers arrested 182 people. Protesters criticized the city for forcing park residents out of an area that had been turned into what they called a supportive community, which includes a vegetable garden, working showers and a communal kitchen.
Many neighbors complained increased litter in the park and said they no longer felt safe there.
Echo Park Lake will reopen to the public this Wednesday at 3 p.m., two months after the park closed following the relocation of some 200 homeless people who had moved there.
City officials at the time said the site had become unsafe, with drug overdoses and four deaths.
The park’s closure, protests, and subsequent withdrawal from the homeless community played a role in Hugo Soto-Martinez’s campaign to represent Council District 13 and oust O’Farrell.
Soto-Martinez claimed campgrounds at Echo Park had grown under O’Farrell’s watch, saying he would not allow “campgrounds to form like they did at Echo Park Lake” . In accordance with a campaign promise, the fence was removed on Monday morning.
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