Echo Park cleans up

Photo courtesy Lisa Baca-Sigala

The trash tally for today’s California Coastal Cleanup in Echo Park included “70 bags of  trash  … 5 couches, 2 toilets, 9 mattresses, 3 large screen TVs, several tires and other assorted items,” reports Jose Sigala, President of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council.  About 70 volunteers gathered at two locations, Vista Hermosa Park and the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue, before fanning out in the search for trash. Judging from the results, they did not have to go very far.

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  1. so sorry i didn’t realize this was going on today. as someone who is constantly irritated by the mattresses and toilets all over EP, I should have been there.

  2. Who is leaving all this stuff in public places? It’s amazing what pigs supposedly civilized people are. Where is the respect for themselves and for others.

  3. The old Supply and Demand principle.

  4. People are simply Lazy.
    They expect others to do things for them,
    like properly disposing all of their junk.

  5. True, many people are simply lazy, and they do expect others to do things for them. If I tell myself this, and use it as an excuse NOT to pick up litter, however, and I justify walking by litter and not picking it up, then I am contributing to the problem of litter in Los Angeles. At least, that’s how I feel about it.

  6. I think a lot of the people who dump the big things are unaware they can arrange to have them picked up by the city at no extra cost…
    It can be done online and usually takes an extra week (not the next trash day, but the one after) but I think some sort of outreach to make people aware of it would help reduce at least some of it.
    I was in one neighborhood (picking up something from craigslist) and saw junk in front of half the houses on the street…I mentioned it and was told that someone got everyone to co-ordinate and get all their stuff out on the same day for the Bulk Pickup truck—a great idea.

  7. Sadly these clean-up folks missed our corner of Echo Park, 1600 block of North Alvarado Street between Berkeley and Aaron. No thanks to the Public Storage place around the corner and a radio station that often appears abandoned on our block, there is always an abundance of trash, litter and dumped furniture visible to all. A few concerned neighbors have attempted to reach our councilman’s office to deal with this issue. But our efforts have produced no avails.

  8. Some people seem to think that if you put it out on the sidewalk and post it on Craig’s List Free Stuff that somebody might come and take it and you are absolved of all responsibility.

    If it’s nice stuff, they are right. Unfortunately, most of it ain’t so nice. (& if it’s a couch that started out nice, it will be peed on by every passing dog from then on….)

  9. You can report illegal dumping (ie those mattresses on the sidewalk, etc) to the city and they will pick them up (usually in a week or 2). It can even be anonymous, if you prefer! Either call 311 or use this website: http://www.lacitysan.org/solid_resources/refuse/SR_IllegalDumping.htm

  10. I cringe whenever I read a Craigslist ad that says the equivalent of, “On the sidewalk at x and y streets; come and get it.” It’s lazy, it makes the neighborhood look run-down, and it encourages folks in the neighborhood to view that patch of sidewalk as a dumping ground for their own Christmas trees or other crap. Furthermore, you’re putting your house on the radar of all sorts of junk collectors and potential thieves. I’d rather post a free ad and then respond to the first person who seems serious and in the vicinity, and I’ll give him or her my address and schedule a time for them to pick up the freebie.

  11. whenever I see “curb alert” on craigslist, the first thing I think is F@#KING litterer.

  12. Hey RV3,
    What, are your arms broken? 🙂 Those “clean up folks” include you as well! Yes, the city needs to respond, but so do we as citizens.

  13. Can I get arrested or shot for spray painting “Call 311” on all the oversized trash on my block? IT’S 3 NUMBERS! IT’S REALLY EASY! Ugh – anybody want a busted bed frame? We got lots….

  14. Also, now that I know there is a $1000 reward for turning in someone who dumps trash, I’m a little more interested in catching someone in the act.

  15. Hello RV3 et al,

    Thanks for the comments. The neighorhood council is planning a clean up and bulky item pick up every month between now and next July. There will be plenty of opportunities to volunteer if you wish to do so.

    Unfortunately, this last Saturday was the 10th roll off bin in the last year we have filled up with bulky items left behind by neighbors who don’t care or are unaware as others have noted that the city has a free pick up service.

    Neighbors just need to call 3-1-1 to report the item for pick up. This number is also good for reporting graffitti, abandoned vehicles, missing stop signs and let us not forget potholes.

    I would encourage everyone commenting on this story to reach out and let your neighbors know about this service. I would be happy to work with you on your block and provide you information for your neighbors.

    I also would be willing to walk with you door to door in your area to get the word out.

    Please contact me at 213-308-2826 or by email at jose_sigala@yahoo.com if I can help.

    Finally RV3 our next clean up and bulky item pick up event will be towards the end of October and we will will focus in the Echo Park area between Glendale on the west, Lakeshore on the east, Allessandro on the north and Montana street on the south.

    I hope you and others can join us.


    Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council

  16. @RV3, @A., and @Jose Sigala. I am also a resident of 1600 N Alvarado. I agree it’s instrumental that we all chip in. That said, our block has a specific problem — a long area with no residences (back of Public Storage on one side and radio towers on the other), which is a prime dumping ground (and worse) for people from all over. It would be impossible for us residents to keep up with the large (and sometimes dangerous) items dumped there in the kind of timely fashion that would discourage abuse, and 311 can’t get things picked up fast enough either. In any case, 311 just doesn’t always work — there’s stuff on our street we’ve been calling about for *months*.

    I can say that after living here for a decade that doing it ourselves and calling 311 doesn’t come anywhere close to fixing the problem. I believe that things would get better if we could make this stretch less crime-attractive with more lighting (which I’m told Garcetti’s office is working on) and more importantly by holding those businesses accountable for the mess in front of their properties. I’ve reached out to these business to no avail, so I’m hopeful that the city has some leverage here and is willing to use it — but I’ve seen no evidence of this as of yet.

    Section 41.46 of the municipal code says: “No person shall fail, refuse or neglect to keep the sidewalk in front of his house, place of business or premises in a clean and wholesome condition.” Jose Sigala and Eric Garcetti — can these businesses be held accountable? And do you really believe that simply “getting the word out” about 311 is the way to deal with this problem? Whether the person who puts their junk on the street calls 311 or not, it amounts to the same amount of stuff, 311 will get the call eventually, and there aren’t (operators at sanitation and street services have told me) sufficient resources to deal with these things quickly.

  17. @BonnieB I would be glad to work with you on finding a long term solution to this stretch of street. I live up the street and I’m aware of some of the concerns you raised.

    Call or email to discuss, maybe we can set up a meeting with other neighbors to enroll them in participating.


  18. Last month, I had an abandoned, broken grocery cart left in front of my house. I called Bulky Item pickup, and was told they didn’t do grocery carts. Neither did 311. I called a few other numbers, to no avail. Finally, I called Tom LaBonge’s office, and voila! It was gone in less than 24 hours! It’s been my experience that your local council member is pretty responsive to constituents. They want to please, and they want your vote in the next election!

  19. Tom Labonge is a lot more responsive than Garcetti

  20. Jose Sigala,
    Thank you for your efforts! In my experience, trash begets more trash as graffiti begets more graffiti!
    I moved onto a street where there was constant trash being thrown into the gutters, sidewalk and street. I diligently removed the trash daily and two things happened 1) the passers-by that did not see trash on the ground were much less likely to discard their own, and 2) the neighbors around who noticed, encouraged and joined-in my efforts stopped discarding their trash.

    This system is by no means fool proof but certainly helped to drastically improve everyone’s quality of life and sense of pride in our neighborhood! And it is certainly more effective than sitting back and calling people rats!

    It is possible to reverse a trend! It takes a little effort and education on everyone’s part!

    Jose, please post specific dates for your next volunteer effort so that I may attend!

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