Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's in the Lake - from the L.A. Times

A worker walks past geese at Echo Park Lake, which is being drained as part of a two-year, $64.7-million makeover of the 13-acre body of water and the surrounding parkland. (Mel Melcon, Los Angeles Times)
So far there have been no dead bodies, no safes stuffed with soggy cash, no rusty stolen cars.

The only things exposed by the receding water at Echo Park Lake have been shopping carts, 55-gallon steel barrels, a parking-enforcement "boot" and lots of skateboards.

But who knows what is still hidden in the muck at the bottom of the 13-acre lake, soon to be dredged and outfitted with a leak-proof clay liner?

Officials say that leaks once required them to replenish the lake with valuable drinking water. The sludge at the bottom will be hauled to landfills, depending on what's in it. The sediment is 5 feet deep in places, brownish, greenish and chalky gray, laden with roots and branches.

The draining began the first week of September and continued through last week. Twenty-one million gallons of lake water were pumped into the city's sewer system. The lake and surrounding parkland are to remain fenced off during the two-year, $64.7-million makeover.

The lake was emptied in two stages, with water lowered just enough in the first phase to allow biologists to capture fish and relocate them to MacArthur Park Lake, while about 95 turtles were turned over to the California Turtle and Tortoise Club and put up for adoption.

Geese and ducks were not relocated, although four small temporary ponds were constructed for waterfowl that didn't fly to other lakes.

The lake upgrade will include development of four acres of wetlands at its edge and paths made of pervious material that will replace the park's old paved walkways.

Originally constructed in 1868 for drinking water storage by the Los Angeles Canal and Reservoir Co., Echo Park Lake has more recently functioned as a storm drain detention basin as well as a park site and wildlife habitat.

Although the lake was drained in 1984, the Regional Water Quality Control Board labeled it "an impaired water body" in 2006. Algae, ammonia, copper, lead, PCBs, low oxygen levels and trash in the tepid water were killing off the lake's signature lotus plants.

On Monday, geese gathered in their fenced-in temporary ponds and a few ducks paddled in a small pool of lake water remaining near the boathouse.

At noon, a coyote could be seen loping across the empty lake bed, eyeing the ducks and searching for dead fish. George Magallanes, an aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Ed Reyes, said the coyote killed two domestic geese over the weekend, apparently after slipping through a fence knocked down in a Saturday traffic accident on Echo Park Avenue.

Officer Gregory Randall, a wildlife specialist with the city's Department of Animal Services, patrolled the lakeshore with a paintball gun, hoping to scare away the coyote.

Workers, meanwhile, began spreading lime on the lake bed to deodorize sediment fouled by decades of waterfowl droppings. Sweet.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

L.A. on a Sunny Day

 Shot around Silverlake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Griffith Park and downtown.

Filmed in 2008 by Clark Vogeler, courtesy of Vimeo

The Hole that was a Lake

      Here's the latest picture of the draining of Echo Park Lake, almost all the water is gone.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Luxe De Ville - The Original Vintage in Echo Park

When people describe Echo Park in recent history, the word "hipster" is being thrown around quite a bit. But pre-hipster, the first store that started the trend is a Vintage Clothing Store called Luxe De Ville,
that specializes in vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories.
The owner, Oskar, grew up in Echo Park and has watched his home neighborhood go through a renaissance in recent history.
The review sites give this store the highest grades, as he carries not just vintage, but a lot of designer vintage clothing and jewelry. The store is a very cute space on Sunset Boulevard, that didn't have much around it when he started out, but is now bustling with Restaurants, a Coffee Shop, a Wine Bar, an Art Gallery and a lot more foot traffic than was seen on that portion of the Boulevard a few years back.

Luxe De Ville is located at:
2157 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 353-0135
MON-SAT 12pm-7pm
SUNDAY 12pm-5pm

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Update on Echo Park Lake - Odor Monitoring

Picture of Lake almost empty.
Volunteers of the Odor Monitoring Committee met with the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Team (CD13, Public Affairs Office, Department of Public Works, etc.) last Wednesday, September 7 to discuss the draining of the lake what to expect in the near future.
According to the meeting minutes, the rehab project is on schedule, with the lake draining to be complete in a couple of weeks. Here’s where we are at the project:
  • 89 Red Haired Slider turtles were removed and are on their way to the California Tortoise Club and their Tortoise and Turtle Adoption Program
  • 300 fish have been captured and relocated
  • Paving on the pathways have been removed
  • New storm pipes will be installed at the east side of the lake in a couple of weeks
The first Odor Monitoring Committee reported a slight smell of fish, but no dead fish were found so far and they will continue to monitor.
As mentioned in our last Echo Park Lake article, construction workers will be keeping track of what they find in Echo Park Lake as they drain it – from shopping carts to other treasures, we’re hoping there are some interesting items and not any dead bodies or anything in the muck.
If you catch unusual odors from the lake draining, please go to www.EchoParkLake.org/odorreportingprocedure.pdf, call (213) 978-0317, or email bpw.pao@lacity.
The next Odor Monitoring Committee meeting is scheduled for October.
From Echo Park Now

Friday, September 9, 2011

Big Belly Coming to Echo Park

James Poss is an entrepreneur and a dreamer. But he also has a practical side.
As founder and Chief Technology Officer of BigBelly Solar, he wanted to make trash disposal more environmentally friendly and, ultimately, less expensive.
For more about five years now,  Echo Park activist Ida Talalla has been touting the benefits of the Big Belly, a solar-powered trash can and compactor.

Big Belly Is in Locations Around the Country
So he invented the BigBelly solar-powered trashcan, which has been installed in parks, schools and other locations around the country.
 It can hold four times as much trash as a normal can. And it has its own compacting unit, attached.

Now, a BigBelly is coming to Echo Park.
Echo Park’s Trash Abatement Project has arranged to have one placed at the northeast corner of Echo Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard.
Right now, that's where an over-flowing wire can is the norm.
Echo Park BigBelly Funded by City Grants
TAP’s head Ida Talalla has been spearheading the project, which received grants from the city Office of Community Beautification and Keep Los Angeles Beautiful.
She says the project may seem costly at first, but will be cost-effective in the long run.
Talalla also hopes the can will remind residents that overflow trash often ends up in storm drains that empty in places like the Echo Park Lake.
She sees it as one step in protecting the new lotus beds that will arrive there in  2013.
 The official ribbon-cutting for BigBelly takes place on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at 1571 Sunset Boulevard. Come then and see what a BigBelly looks like.
A Big Belly does not come cheap, some units cost about $4,000. But its bigger capacity means city crews will spend less time emptying the Big Belly compared to a  typical trash can.   The only question now is will the Big Belly be big enough for all that Echo Park trash?
From EchoparkPatch.com Editor Anthea Raymond 
and TheEastSiderLA.com