Tree top living in Elysian Park

Stunning hillside views, a quiet park-like setting and no neighbors. It sounds like an ideal place to rent or buy. But, in this case, the home is a one-room shack of salvaged lumber and peg board perched in the branches of a dying eucalyptus tree in Elysian Park. Park police said they had only recently become aware of the tree shack that sits atop a steep hillside east of Stadium Way. But one Echo Park resident who lives across the ravine on Park Drive said it’s been there for a couple of months. The remote sections of Elysian Park, which sprawls across more than 500 acres, have long sheltered homeless encampments, from sheets of plastic and fabric to simple plywood and cardboard shacks. Most of the encampments, however, have been planted on the ground until this and a second elevated encampment were recently discovered, said senior gardener John Salaisas.

Joe Orlanes, an officer with the city’s Office of Public Safety, said the shack sits at least eight-feet off the ground and has a trap door secured with a padlock. It’s not certain who built the shack, which is supported by a large wooden post and tree branches. At least one side is covered by large wood discs while there is an opening facing northwest (everyone loves a view). No one was around after Orlanes hiked through a muddy and forested hillside to reach the structure.

Crews from the city’s Parks and Recreation Department have been instructed to remove the structure. It’s not going to be easy, Orlanes said. “I wonder how Rec & Park staff are going to get up there.”

Photo by The Eastsider

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