Echo Park - Residents awoke to find Echo Park Lake fenced off this morning as the city moved ahead to clear a large homeless encampment and close the park for what's being described as more than $500,000 in repairs.
• Update @ 10:10 pm: Police and protestors faced off on Thursday night in the streets of Echo Park
The fencing went up overnight after streets around the lake were sealed off and police in riot-gear and supporters of the encampment faced off on Glendale Boulevard. A large group of protesters left the area following hours of protest against the closure plans.
Meanwhile, a citywide tactical alert that was put into effect by the Los Angeles Police Department late Wednesday night was ended about 1:20 a.m. Thursday.
One protestor arrested
Despite many tense confrontations, last night's protest ended without major incidents. One arrest was made -- 26-year-old Nicole Partori for "failing to comply with orders from a police officer," the LAPD reported. Pastori refused to obey orders, flashed a flashlight in the officer's eyes and was arrested and later released, said LAPD.
While social media reports said one man suffered a broken arm, the LAPD said that no injuries had been reported.
LAPD disputed social media reports that officers had deployed “tear gas” at the demonstration.
Echo Park Lake closure
In a statement, LAPD Chief Michel Moore said: "Our personnel will remain in the area around Echo Park as the fencing is completed. ... Echo Park remains closed to the public and those finale remaining persons experiencing homelessness are being provided housing assistance and transportation and must leave the park following last night's notice of the park's pending closure for repairs."
Shortly before midnight, Moore tweeted that officers would remain in the area overnight as fencing was installed and "Those already inside the park in tents will be allowed to remain overnight. No one else may enter. 24 hr notice for those in the park to leave. Housing resources are being provided to everyone."
"All concessions at the park will also be closed during this time," said Councilman Mitch O'Farrell.
KPCC reporter Libby Denkmann said this morning that police were blocking homeless supporters from delivering food and water to people who remain in the encampment.
All personal property is to be removed from the park by 10:30 pm today, according to notices posted by city. Property left behind will be stored for a minimum of 30 days.
While the park is closed to the public, crews with the Department of Recreation and Parks will make substantial repairs, O'Farrell said.
Officials have not said when the park would reopen or what would happen if the homeless return to live in the park.
"Once the assessment of damages in the park and the necessary repairs are completed, an update will be provided on when the park will reopen to the public," said a statement issued by O'Farrell's office.
Relocating the homeless
"Our homeless service providers will return (Thursday) morning to continue their work with the park's unhoused residents to offer shelter and services to anyone who wants and needs the assistance," said O'Farrell.
People living at the park have been offered shelter at a nearby winter shelter facility, hotel rooms through the City’s Project Roomkey, and housing at a nearby Project Homekey property, said the council office.
As of this morning, 166 people who have been living at the lake have been moved into housing and shelters, according to officials.
LA Sanitation and Environment (LASAN) assisted with the removal of all volunteer storage items and property, removing trash and hazardous materials, and taking all unattended personal belongings that remained on-site to one of two LASAN storage facilities for retrieval by the owners.
Echo Park street closures
Shortly before 6 a.m., the city announced that closures of the intersections and freeway ramps around the park.
"They are now closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic to protect public safety while crews begin the installation of the fence around the park," Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell said in a statement Thursday.
Update @ 1 pm: All streets around the park -- Bellevue, Echo Park, Glendale and Park -- remain closed during the noon hour.
A designated protest zone has been established on Glendale Boulevard, north of Park Avenue.
Update @ 3 pm: Activists say they will hold a vigil starting at 5 pm tonight outside Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell's field office in Echo Park.