🔥 The fence is being dismantled at Echo Park Lake

The fence is being dismantled at Echo Park Lake

Workers began dismantling the fence that surrounds Echo Park Lake on Monday, two years after a massive homeless encampment was cleared out of the historic park.

Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez, who took office in December, ran on a promise to take the temporary chain-link fence down, calling it a “symbol” of the city’s biggest failure on homelessness. The fence went up in 2021, just as scores of unhoused people were moved out of the park and into motels, hotels and homeless shelters.

Two weeks ago, Soto-Martinez and Mayor Karen Bass carried out their own encampment operation in the neighborhood, relocating dozens of homeless people from streets near Echo Park Lake, transporting them to hotels in downtown and Silver Lake. Soto-Martinez has promised to send outreach workers and unarmed responders into the park to ensure that it remains safe and people do not move back.

Some who were in the park on Monday morning had their doubts.

Reina Moreno, who walks in the park every morning, said she does not want to see the park again filled with trash and human waste. Moreno, who lives nearby, said she’s OK with crews taking down the chain-link barrier — “as long as they put up another one.”

“If there is security here 24/7, then there won’t be a problem,” the 57-year-old hairstylist said. “But if they’re not taking care of it, then there should be a fence — permanent.”

Some residents who live across from the lake have voiced similar concerns, saying the park was the backdrop for fistfights, shootings and fatal overdoses when the encampment was at its peak. They had lobbied for a nicer, permanent fence.

Spencer Bowman, 25, was excited to see the fence come down. Seated on a bench facing the lake, he called the fence “an eyesore and a monument to that ugly period.”

“It only seems to exclude and it is visually metal and gray and ugly,” he said.

Two years ago, an encampment with nearly 200 tents covered much of the park, occupying the nearly all of the grassy areas on the Glendale Boulevard side. Hundreds of people showed up to protest the encampment’s removal, which led to clashes between LAPD officers and demonstrators.

In November, Soto-Martinez defeated Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, who had not taken a position on the fence, saying he would follow the community’s wishes.

Soto-Martinez said earlier this month that voters in the district, which stretches from Echo Park to Hollywood and Glassell Park, chose to take the fence down when they elected him as their council member, since he had repeatedly promised to remove it during his campaign.

“Fences represent a Band-aid,” he said. “It represents elected officials basically saying, ‘I don’t know how to resolve this problem.’”

Soto-Martinez had been somewhat vague in recent weeks about the exact date of the fence’s removal. In a recent statement, he said only that it would be gone by the end of Friday.

Read More Latest Crime News From United States & European Countries

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *