Homeless encampment cleanup notice at Echo Park Lake

One of the notices warning of the upcoming cleanup of the homeless encampment at Echo Park Lake

Echo Park -- Homeless rights activists faced off against park rangers, work crews and some park visitors at Echo Park Lake this morning over the planned cleaning of an encampment at the park.

Protestors also demanded that Councilman Mitch O'Farrell agree to create a contract allowing an estimated 60 or so homeless people "continued residency in the park'' as long as they promise to keep the park clean and not be a nuisance to visitors.

"Fight, fight, fight. Housing is a human right," protesters chanted as clean up crews stood by, according to videos posted on Twitter from the scene. Some protestors also apparently argued with other park goers who complained about the encampments.

While O'Farrell did not agree to the contract as proposed by the activists, he did announce a series of measures (see the update at the end of this story) to deal with homeless conditions at the lake, indicating that the encampment there was not going anywhere soon.

"As we address this urgent priority to find safe, temporary shelter and permanent housing, we are expanding on some immediate solutions in the Echo Park Lake area," said O'Farrell, who heads the City Council committee on homelessness, said in a statement.

A similar protest was held nearly two weeks ago at the park, which has been the site of a growing homeless encampment in recent months by the lake. 

Earlier this week, O'Farrell proposed spending $560,000 on six months of "emergency measures" to address "basic hygiene needs at the lake" related to the homeless encampments. 

O'Farrell's office Thursday night issued a press release saying today's clean up would require the homeless to remove all personal belongings while the area is cleaned up. 

“People who are experiencing homelessness at Echo Park Lake will continue to be offered services while we work on securing temporary indoor shelter and ultimately permanent housing," said the statement.

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