ECHO PARK — The challenge – some would say the futility – of cleaning up the city’s homeless camps was on display today in Echo Park. This morning, a crew of workers organized by the city cleaned up and hauled away the belongings of the large encampment that had spilled across the sidewalks along Alvarado Street as it passes under the 101 Freeway. But only a few hours later, the homeless had returned.
Jeremy Rosenberg posted photos of the north side of the underpass on his Twitter account shortly after 11 a.m. The photos showed a city sanitation truck and workers by the empty sidewalk. But about 2 p.m., when The Eastsider took a photo of the same location, men and women and their belongings once again filled the sidewalk on the north side of the street near a notice of today’s clean up. The south side of the sidewalk was still mostly empty but a homeless person and belongings had already re-occupied a small section.
A spokesman for the Department of Public Works said both sides of the underpass had been cleaned out this morning.
One homeless man who had returned to the underpass this afternoon said the crews were courteous during the cleanup. He had created a small living area with a sofa and even a shower in the three weeks he had lived under the freeway. “It was not pretty but I did the best I could,” he said of his makeshift home.
Where would he go if the clean up crews returned? “I don’t know,” he said in Spanish.
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