It was never clear what it was. Folk art? Recycling project? Trash? But over the past year a collection of structures – ranging from a plant-filled ferris wheel to what one person dubbed a Trash Toy Totem Pole – rose in a clearing in Elysian Park, off a busy walking trail near Park Drive. This morning, the approximately 20-foot high totem pole – encrusted with toys, stuffed animals, a Santa Claus mask and other odds and ends – was removed and carted off by Recreation and Parks workers in about two hours with the help of a skip loader. A park worker said no one claimed the items after signs were posted saying the structures would be removed within 72 hours.
The totem pole (pictured here in January) was built to last, being secured to the ground with steel re bar. The totem pole, now lying on its side, is being stored in the park maintenance yard with the other items until someone claims them.
A person named Pk Hooker, who witnessed workers dismantling the pole and a planter box, wrote on The Eastsider’s Facebook page:
being ripped down for no good reason. They guy said that he was going to keep the planter but the Totem was heading to the trash. The world loses 🙁 ”
Mark Jackson, park maintenance supervisor, said he was impressed with the work but the builders never asked for or received a permit. Though many Echo Park residents grew fond of the colorful art park, Jackson said it’s not a good idea to let people just build anything they want in the park without public review. Jackson said notices were posted at least three times since the structures began appearing asking their creators to discuss what they were doing. But he never got a response.
Still, if the builders want to claim the art work, Jackson said they have until next Tuesday to arrange to pick up the pieces by calling (213) 485-3287. If the artists do not claim the pieces, the totem pole and other objects will be dumped.