Sanitation workers collected more than 35 tons of trash while cleaning up the closed lake Echo Park, including an astounding amount of feces and urine.
This comes more than a month after police cleared a large homeless encampment of more than 170 tents from the park amid large protests by activists in the community. Police issued a citywide tactical alert in March after violence broke out from protesters who were being agitated and encouraged by a local socialist organization.
The timing of the park’s closure was kept secret by city officials until the last minute.
A spokesperson for the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks said on Friday that officials hoped to reopen the park by the end of May after cleaning the park and repairing the damage left behind.
The Los Angeles Times reported that sanitation workers collected 35 tons, or 70,000 pounds, of garbage. Including 180 pounds of feces and 564 pounds of urine. Those amounts collected did not include that cleaned from portable or stationary restrooms.
They also collected 300 pounds of hazardous waste like gasoline, kerosene, and cooking oil, and 30 pounds of drug paraphernalia including needles.
Workers cleared out more than 170 tents in the large encampment that angered many of the residents around the lake. In the weeks since they were cleared out, outreach workers helped more than 160 displaced homeless people to obtain temporary housing, including hotel rooms paid by the city.
Activists have accused the police of throwing away homeless people’s private property instead of collecting it.
The LAPD has reported that the crime rate in the area has plummeted so much that they are deploying police patrols to other higher crime areas.
“It is much quieter, less litter, trash, less public drinking and drugs,” said John Berry, a 14-year resident of Echo Park.
“We have noticed a decrease in the number of people coming into our front yard or that of our neighbors, and of people wandering around on the street looking high or otherwise erratic behavior,” said Darcy Harris, another longtime resident.
Real estate app Zillow calculated that the typical home value around Echo Park Lake was about $980,000. The park is known for the iconic swan paddle boats for rent.
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