Echo Park - Who turned off the lights?
The large homeless encampment at Echo Park Lake has been thrown into darkness this month after walkway lights went out along the west side of the lake -- where most of the homeless are living (nearby street lights provide some illumination). Meanwhile, the lights in most other parts of the park have continued to turn on at night.
Advocates for the homeless say the city is responsible for the lack of lights. The outage inspired a gathering at the lake last Sunday night in which participants were encouraged to bring lights.
“Not illuminating one of the highest populated areas of the park poses a public safety risk to both housed and unhoused neighbors,” said Ashley Bennett from Ground Game L.A., one of the sponsors of the event. “Several minor injuries have been observed/reported due to inadequate illumination of the pathways on this side of the park.”
L.A. Recreation & Parks Department spokeswoman Rose Watson said there was a sensor malfunction; the lights are operated by photocells that determine when they go on. Watson also said that malfunction has been fixed.
However, as of Thursday night, walkway lights were still off along the western edge of the park, the northwest corner, and the northeast corner. Nearby streetlights remained on, however - as well as the lights over the northern playground, which seem to be the same model as the streetlights.
The lights went out on Sept. 1, according to Bennett.
Generators were donated after Sunday’s event, Bennett said. Some small, portable lights have also been added along the walkway, including ground-level lamps that appear to be solar powered.