The landslide that is going no where

Last winter’s rain sent a 20-foot-wide chunk of hillside on the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake tumbling down on to Sunset Boulevard near Coronado Street. Much of the small landslide remained untouched as city engineers conducted a field study, which blamed the February collapse on tree roots that had grown into and expanded the fractures on the steep, 30-foot high slope that looms over the sidewalk. That same study, which was issued in late February, warned of a public safety hazard and recommended removing lose rock and debris – including a giant palm tree stump – from the slope before cleaning up the landslide below. More than eight months later, and with another winter only weeks away, the landslide still blocks the sidewalk, forcing many pedestrians on to the street. Shrubs have begun to grow on the pile of dirt and rocks that fell last February.

Echo Park resident Gordon Harris in September fired off an email to the office of Councilman Eric Garcetti asking why the landslide and the trash litter between Waterloo and Coronado streets had not been cleaned up. He never got a reply. Gordon in his email said he was puzzled why cleaning up a pile of dirt was taking so long:

“I don’t understand why it has taken so long for the city to repair the sidewalk from a landslide that occurred months ago. The dirt mound is so large that people are forced to walk into the street in the way of traffic. Has this repair even been scheduled?”

City officials are scheduled to meet today regarding the sidewalk landslide but it’s still not certain when the debris will be cleaned up.

Even when the dirt is cleared away, the erroding hillside will continue to pose a hazard to residents. The field study by the city’s Geotechnical Engineering Group said that the slope needs to be stabilized in the long term. The report warned:

“The oversteepened cut slope presents a public safety hazard to both pedestrians using the sidewalk at the base of the slope and vehicular traffic on Sunset Boulevard. Further, the ongoing errosion  could over time adversely affect the stability of the upslope properties. “

Department of Public Works spokesman Richard Lee said part of the delay in cleaning up the mess might be because the slide involves private property. “It’s private property coming down to the public right of way,” he said.

So, when is it going to be cleaned up? Lee didn’t know but said perhaps there would be more information following today’s meeting.


  1. I can only speculate that if this “landslide” was blocking vehicular traffic it would have been dealt with long ago. Pedestrians don’t get no respect!

  2. So if it’s private property aren’t the landowners responsible? Do they have anything to say about this?

  3. Thank so much for covering this issue – it is outrageous. This is a terrible walking environment – I was walking to a friends house for dinner along this stretch the other nite – was crazy scary dark – def needs some streets lamps – and this blocking on the sidewalk – put me walking in traffic.

    Plz Councilmember Garcetti – help EP be a great walkable community – and for keep those of out there safe. If I was handicapped – my simple trip down the road for dinner – who have been impossible.

  4. I agree with Mr. Rollers and would like to add that as pedestrians are forced to walk on the street and not the sidewalk, they are walking into the bike lane which also puts cyclists in danger as they have to merge over further left into the traffic lane (and out of the bike lane).

    Maybe our city officials are doing the rain dance hoping the rain will “wash it all away”

  5. Rollers speaks the truth!

    Thanks for this update. I’d half expect the city just to pave over the packed pile of dirt, but then I remembered sidewalk repairs across the city are backlogged like 50 years. But maybe with the way things haven’t moved toward resolving this mess half a century might not be an unreasonable time frame for them to stabilize the hillside and scoop the slide away.

  6. If your not a water and power employee then you don’t count.

  7. not to mention that this particular stretch of the street is extremely dirty. broken glass and garbage everywhere. not sure why this part is neglected when it’s a very active part of town.

  8. Its about Mr Eric Garcetti, it his responsibity to move this forward and he just does’nt help our community, and his staff is also useless, which is really sad because we are really their employers, our taxes pay their salary.

  9. idea! let’s gather up the trash and mini-dirt mountain, bring it to city hall, dump it in front and see how long it lasts. okay… bad idea. but as a resident, i’m more than a little annoyed with how this stretch looks. and that landslide! can’t believe it’s been there for this long. the small trees growing on it should tell our reps it’s time to do something. paging mr. garcetti.

  10. This hillside has been crumbling, off and on, for ages. In the early ’90s, a friend who lived up on Sunset used to run out in the mornings after rainstorms, and scoop up (or cart home) succulents that were washed down overnight. She ended up with an amazing garden in her backyard. The city “shaved” the hill back about 5-10 years ago, but what it’s always needed is a huge retaining wall. But — those suckers are insanely expensive. Mr. Garcetti should be able to get the mud cleaned up, in any event. But getting the cash for the wall is another deal entirely.

  11. I’d kinda hate to see a retaining wall there – this stretch of Sunset has (potentially, at least) a certain natural beauty and even includes a prehistoric fossilized palm tree.

    But the whole mess really gets absurd when you stop to think that it could be cleaned up with a Bobcat or backhoe in about 20 minutes.

  12. I had this idea for Parking Day LA of building a big crate out of pallets next the the landslide and dumping the debris into it, just to see how long it would take for the city to clean up once it blocked their precious street. Anyone up for a DIY solution here?

  13. Gordon @ Echo Park

    First paragraph on Eric Garcetti’s website:

    “‘You can’t look to the stars until you’ve fixed the cracks in the sidewalk,’ Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti often says. As the third-term councilmember serving the 13th Council District, Garcetti has shown that a commitment to the street-level health of the community is a necessary first step in creating positive change. His unique combination of pothole politics and vision has won measurable results in the 13th District, showing how local solutions can show the way to make our city safer, create transportation solutions, and ease the city’s housing crisis.”

  14. From Garcetti’s page on lacity.org- “You can’t look to the stars until you’ve fixed the cracks in the sidewalk,”. If the cracks are hidden by a ton of dirt then you can’t see the cracks? Progress!

  15. I just drove past the landslide and saw a disabled person in a motorized wheelchair having to use the bike lane?! This person had to use the bike lane for the entire stretch of this road because there was not a place for him to get back on the sidewalk until Coronado Street. This was obviously a huge danger for the disabled person, but also for the bicyclists trying to pass him. At the very least clean it up and keep the pedestrians (and disabled persons) safe!

  16. Dear Folks, we are in times if we wait till the city fixes it, there could be a bigger problem. Instead of just giving ideas on what should be done, how about thinking what we the local community can do to make the problem less than he problem it is, can we stop someone from getting hurt? Every heard of a Working Party. You do the needed job, BUT your having a party. I’d Rather go to a party than an old clean-up. YES something needs to be done. BUT what can we do first? We as in local community, I really liked the DIY idea.

  17. If the slide was in Brentwood it would have been gone by now.


  18. City of LA simply can’t afford to perform work which is the result of private property land slides.

    No other city in the world cleans up for free, and we should not think pressure on the councilman will get any results.

    This problem is all over la city, and we can’t ask employees to take furlough days while property owners are allowed to skate by.

    Building and Safety should Immediately start a task force with the City Attorney citing and suing property owners to gain compliance with our laws.

    If the councilman thinks public works is going to do any if this work for free he is sadly mistaken.
    Those days are Over, and the whistleblowers are in full force ready to pounce as soon as one shovel worth of dirt is moved using public money for private gain see Bell.

    When employees cried foul we tried to warn of what the cuts meant to the public, I guess they were to happy seeing us get laid off and furloughed to see the truth.

    Your tax dollars are squandered leaving no $ for basic services.

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