By NATHAN SOLIS
Highland Park – Street memorials are not all that uncommon in Los Angeles. Altars or memorials honor loved ones who have recently passed on, or sometimes they mark the scene of a recent tragedy. But one new altar in Highland Park honors a family, a neighborhood and points a finger at gentrification and displacement. The Craftsman-style home at 5418 Monte Vista, now vacant, was once the home to Rigo’s Fence Company. In the yard sits an altar with pictures of a family, flowers, candles and other mementos.
A sign on the fence reads:
“Altar to Barrio Urbanism
We dedicate this altar to those that came before us. To our ancestors, loved ones who’ve crossed to the other side.
May the spirit of barrio ingenuity continue to live in this house and in this neighborhood.
No to the displacement of working class. RAZA!”
Rising rents and the new wave of residents in Highland Park offer little consolation to those who have lived here for generations. We can’t say for sure why the home at Monte Vista is vacant. RedFin has the 3-bedroom home listed as selling for $391,537 just last month. Rigo’s Fence Company sign is gone and a satellite dish sits on the roof. A neighbor mentions that Rigo’s is still in business, though no one answers the phone for the company.
Is this what gentrification looks like or is it a community mourning the loss of a longtime business?
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.