The price of cleaning up Echo Park billboard blight

“It was kind of an eyesore,” said Oritz.

A few blocks south at Echo Park and Grafton Street, a patch of concrete fills the hole where a billboard pole sprouted from Raul Sarmiento’s front lawn. The billboard company had paid Sarmiento $100 a month for the two-sided billboard (bottom photo) for about 20 years, said his daughter, Virgen. Sarmiento said she had tried and failed to get more money out of the billboard company.

“I think it was unfair that he got paid so little,” she said. “If it was my property and they wanted to put a billboard on it, I would charge at least $1,000.”

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