Tag Archive for: echo park lake

Photo by Judy Raskin

The Autumn Echo Park Bird Walk took place recently, on Sunday, September 26. Ten bird lovers met up at the Echo Park Lake to document the many species of our local birds that hang out around the lake – 16 in all.  Those species include:

Pied-billed grebe
Double-crested cormorant
Black-crowned night heron
Ross’s goose
Canada goose
Mallard duck
Ruddy duck
American coot
California gull
Western gull
Rock dove
Common yellowthroat
Brewer’s blackbird
Great-tailed grackle
Brown-headed cowbird
House sparrow

The yellow-chevroned parakeet were also heard, though not seen, from high up in the trees. More bird species are expected around the lake in the coming months as this is just the beginning of the migration season.

The next walk is the annual Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, January 2, 2011.

The Echo Park Historical Society is hosting its Echo Park Lake Walking Tour on Sunday, September 26 (originally scheduled for September 25). The tour starts at 10:00 am and will include some of the neighborhood’s most prominent landmarks, such as Jensen’s Recreation Center, Angelus Temple and, of course, the Lake.

The tour takes about two hours to complete and includes several stairways. Building interiors are not included. Reservations required, and are free for EPHS members but we ask a $5 donation for all others. For more tour information, please call (323) 860-8874 or click here to e-mail your reservation. Include your name, the number of people in your group, your phone number and the name and date of the tour.

Flickr photo via BlackDaffodill

Last Christmas, pigeons trumped coots 240 to 239 at the annual Echo Park Lake Christmas Bird Count. Will they win this round?

The Autumn Echo Park Lake bird count takes place on Saturday, September 25 at 9:00 am (meet at the Boathouse!). Bird lovers in Echo Park have identified over 70 species of birds over the last ten years. You can expect to find species such as mallards, great-tailed grackles, robins, American coots, sparrows, finches, great egrets, black-crowned night herons, green herons, blackbirds, hawks and various gulls and doves, and more.

Beginning birders, including children, are welcome to the free bird walk. Binoculars are strongly recommended along with a bird guide if you have one.

For more information contact  judycalifornia@yahoo.com, or call (323) 663-6767.

See you at the bird walk!

Maria the Goose takes a walk around Echo Park Lake. Video caption says, “Dominic had asked, ‘Have you seen Maria,’ to the female jogger you see in the video (she of course had not, or at least had not known that she had.) This time around, she notes that he has indeed found his beloved Maria.”

Check it out:

Makes you wonder… where will Maria the Goose go when the lake is drained next year?

Flickr photo via Zeus Of HollYWOoD

The Echo Park Ornithology Club used to meet every other Sunday at Echo Park Lake to, well, watch the birds! It seems that it has been a while since those Sunday meetings have occurred, possibly because of the swap meet that used to take place every Sunday. It should now be a welcoming place for bird watchers on the weekends since the swap meet was shut down a couple of weeks ago. The Facebook events page reads, “The cops kicked all the vendors out of the park, so it’s time to watch some birds again! GO BIRDS!”

If you’re interested in joining the Ornithology Club,

Some info about the Club:

The Echo Park Ornithology Club is a small group of naturalists, bird-loving hipsters gone wild, animal friends, cute scientists, radical artists, and nerdy city punks. We organize nature hikes, bird watching parties, science lectures, natural history field trips, community outreach and conservation activities, etc. Come out and join us, dude!

We meet roughly every other Sunday afternoon at Echo Park Lake. Join the mailing list or watch Facebook and MySpace for event announcements. Propose an event of your own!

Email them at echoparkornithology@yahoo.com for more info, or visit the group’s Facebook page.

We are just a few short months away from the start of the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation project, and just a few days away from the end of the comments period for the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR). Not sure what’s going on with the DEIR or the rehab project as a whole? There is a meeting this weekend you can attend to help you learn more about the 86 million dollar project and what to expect when they gate up the whole lake come January 2011.

Echo Park Lake Project discussion with Michael Jacob Rochlin

Saturday, August 21 , 2010 at 2:00 pm

Edendale Branch Library Community Room located at 2011 W Sunset Blvd.
Call 323-661-2703 for more information.

What role does the lake play in our city’s water system? What will happen if it is fenced off for two years or longer? How will the money be spent and how does this project relate to previous city water projects?

There’s also a public hearing on the DEIR for the proposed Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project. Learn about the proposal and submit your written comments about the DEIR (the deadline for your comments is Monday, August 30).

DEIR Public Hearing

Monday, August 23, 2010 from 6:00-8:00 pm

St. Paul Cathedral Center, Grand Hall, located at 840 N. Echo Park Avenue
Click here for the flyer (which also contains a Spanish-language page) so you can distribute info in your neighborhood.

See you there!

Things look pretty peaceful right now at Echo Park Lake, but The Eastsider LA is reporting that shots were fired earlier this afternoon near Laguna and Echo Park Avenue, leaving one man injured:

An afternoon shooting near Echo Park Lake left one man injured in what one resident described a “Wild West” scene, police said.  The victim told police he was fired upon by suspects in a car  on Echo Park Avenue, said Sgt. Michael Mabie with the Rampart Division.  Details are still sketchy but the man – who was shot in the leg and was grazed in the back by another bullet – was able to drive himself or have a relative drive him to a nearby hospital, Mabie said.  No suspects were in custody and police were still interviewing residents.

A resident commented on the article, saying, “First thing I screamed as I went outside is anybody hurt? It has been over 15 years since I have heard so many shots. Thanks to all the neighbors on Laguna for the descriptions given to the police.”

There’s a LOT of tagging on along Laguna Avenue near Laveta Terrace, but the Eastsider article says it’s unclear the tagging is related.

Click here to read the full article.

The Eastsider LA reported an update last night, saying the shooting does appear to be gang related and that the victim is believed to be a gang member.

If you have any information about the incident on Sunday, call the Rampart Division at (213) 484-3400.

Panoramic view of Echo Park, looking north toward Mount Hollywood, December 1911

We recently found some photos in the University of Southern California’s Digital Library of Echo Park in the very beginning of the 20th century.

We’ve posted some of the pictures here for your enjoyment. The photo above was accompanied by a lovely account of the beginnings Echo Park Lake written by Jose Rivera.

Initially, the area we now know as the park was a natural arroyo that filled with water from a spring-fed stream that originated at Baxter Street and flowed down what is now Echo Park Avenue. In 1868 the Los Angeles Canal and Reservoir Co. dammed the arroyo to make a reservoir that aided in powering a woolen mill at what is now 6th and Figueroa (then known as Pearl St.) and was to eventually serve local residents, walnut orchards and vineyards to the south along Alvarado. The immigrants that worked these orchards and vineyards settled here and began to build small homes along Sunset Boulevard, between Echo Park Avenue and Lemoyne Street.

In 1875, the woolen mill closed and the reservoir land (then known as the Montana Tract) was sold off. Eventually, Thomas J. Kelley and Dr. W. Lemoyne Wills purchased the land for a business venture. In 1888, Mr. Kelley and Dr. Wills donated the land to the city for the expressed purpose of creating a public park for the enjoyment of the people of Los Angeles.

The first Superintendent of Parks for the city was an English immigrant named Joseph Tomlinson who was assigned the task of creating the park. One day, while overseeing the work, Mr. Tomlinson thought he heard his workers talking during a break, but he knew they were across the park from him. The park had an echo! He knew what the name of the park would be! The park was dedicated and opened to the public in 1895. The famous bed of lotuses that grow in the lake at the northwest end of the park, the largest stand of lotuses outside Asia, is a mystery yet to be solved. One legend says that evangelical Chinese missionaries planted them for use as food, but no one knows the real story. They appeared some time in 1923 or 1924.

Click below to view more photos.

Read more

Walking around Echo Park Lake yesterday was an experience residents haven’t seen in quite a while on a Sunday: green grass occupied by picnickers, families, and a few necking lovebirds. The northern end of Echo Park Lake was really, really quiet with the exception of the occasional jingle from an ice cream cart bell. It seems that word got around after last week’s “crack-down” at Echo Park Lake, during which officers cited vendors for soliciting on public property. Even though just a few citations were issued, it certainly had an effect.

Residents and The Eastsider LA reported yesterday that a few Rampart Division patrol cars and officers had posted up throughout the day on various corners of the Lake. They were ready to enforce not a soliciting on public property violation like last week (which it seems may not be entirely and legally applicable), but for those who didn’t have resale licenses. Deputy City Attorney Andre Quintero seemed a bit surprised at Thursday night’s Echo Park Improvement Association meeting when told about the previous Sunday’s activity. Having worked on this issues for about a year now (in relation to the city law that was overturned when Venice Beach activists sued for free speech violations), he wasn’t sure whether or not a soliciting on public property violation applied to the Echo Park Lake vendors.

Those who have been actively working on clearing the vendors from Echo Park Lake on Sunday are relieved to “have the park back.” Other residents might have mixed feelings about losing the vendors from the Lake because, really, who cares if someone’s trying to make a buck in this economy? But arguments seem to always come down to one thing: It’s a lake, it’s a park, and that’s what it should be used for.

I recommend taking a gander through the article published yesterday by The Eastsider LA, and decide for yourself whether or not it’s a good thing to cite vendors at the lake.

Related articles:

  • “Police try a new strategy to sweep out Echo Park Lake swap meet vendors.” August 8, 2010, The Eastsider LA
  • “Vendors at Echo Park Lake get the boot.” August 1, 2010, Echo Park Now
  • “The many facets of the Echo Park Lake swap meet.” March 24, 1010, Echo Park Now

Picnickers and swap meet vendors

The Eastsider LA is reporting that Rampart Division police officers showed up at the Echo Park Lake swap meet today to “warn and educate the vendors about the law,” Sgt. Joel Miller told the Eastsider. Several vendors were also cited for “soliciting on city property.”

We have written extensively about this issue before, covering the legality vs. illegality issues and more. More recently, the main concern revolves around a small number of individuals who are reportedly selling spaces on the grass to potential vendors. One resident told everyone at the EPIA Town Hall meeting in July about a man offering those spaces for $20 and $40, and was apparently carrying a machete.

Another resident commented on the Eastsider LA article today about their experience, writing: “Well I tried to walk home several Saturdays late in the evening and when I saw the ropes, strings, plastic bags, hangars, yellow tape, and as recently as July 31 brown mailing tape marking the spots. When I approached the obvious markings I was approached by a tall man who asked me ‘Tienes en Lugar?'”

Perhaps these reports from residents, which surprised the Rampart Division officer who was present at the meeting, are the reason why police showed up earlier today to disperse the crowd.

Photo by The Eastsider LA

Some Echo Park residents have noticed this as recently as the Lotus Festival: It appears the Lady of the Lake statue at Echo Park Lake is missing a few digits. The fingers of both hands have fallen off the 76-year-old statue (or perhaps broken off by vandals), which has been repaired as recently as May of 2009.

It seems the Neighborhood Council took on paying for restoration in prior years, and there seems to have been some drama revolving its restoration. An August 2008 article on Chicken Corner has the back story behind it all, including the story about how the neighborhood in the late ’90s  got the graffiti-marred statue back after being stored for 13 years.

GEPENC President Jose Sigala commented on The Eastsider LA article on the subject, saying:

I join with others in expressing my anger over the defamation of the artistic history and cultural icons of our neighborhood. I see no difference when a developer tears down a cultural and historical home or structure with the mindless vandalism of the Lady of the Lake. Both actions impact the reason why we live here in Echo Park.

Given the city’s budget financial crisis, I am not sure where the funding many come from to repair the lady of the Lake.

I am not sure what the cost may be to replace the statue’s hands but I would like to commit to work with other community members in identifying and raising the funds to restore her hands.

I will ask to see if any of the funding that is dedicated to the rehabilitation of the lake may be used to assist in repairing the statue.

A  meeting on the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 4 at 6:30 pm at Barlow Hospital.

Pollution and much-needed updates to the filtration systems are behind the Prop O funded rehab project, which is scheduled for next year – the lake will be gated up in January 2011 in preparation for the construction, and in April construction will be at full speed ahead.  They will drain the 13 acre lake and haul out approximately 50,000 cubic feet of soil from the bottom, replace the lake liner, rebuild the wetlands, and replant other vegetation (including the lotus bed). They filtration systems will also be updated, as the lake does collect water runoff from the city, and will help reduce the amount of city water used to keep the lake levels high.

Wildlife activists and bird lovers have been concerned with the state of the migratory birds once the lake is drained. It seems a compromise has now been reached, and the engineers will include four temporary pools for migratory birds.

A draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) was recently released, but is not yet available online. You can click here for the initial study on the City’s website. Hard copies of the draft EIR are currently available at the following locations:

  • Echo Park Branch Library, 410 West Temple Street (available in the reference section)
  • Edendale Branch Library, 2011 West Sunset Boulevard
  • Office of Council President Eric Garcetti, Hollywood District Office, 5500 Hollywood Boulevard
  • Office of Council President Eric Garcetti, Glassell Park District Office, 3750 Verdugo Road

We will also post a downloadable version as soon as it’s available.

The public is welcome to review the draft EIR and send comments by August 30 at 5:00 pm. Send comments to:

Via mail:
City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works, Bureau of Engineering, Environmental Management Group
Attn: Maria Martin
1149 S. Broadway, Suite 600, Mail Stop 939, Los Angeles, CA 90015-2213

Via fax to (213) 847-0656, Attn. Maria Martin

Via email to Maria.Martin@lacity.org

For more information about the upcoming event, feel free to contact Olga Morales at 213-485-5933, or email at Olga.Morales@lacity.org

Related articles:

  • “Cleaning up Echo Park Lake is going to be a big mess for residents,” September 14, 2009. The Eastsider LA
  • “City engineers make room for bird baths during Echo Park Lake rehab project,” July 15, 2010. The Eastsider LA

2006 Festival Photo via LA Taco

Since we didn’t publish our usual “Flashback Friday” history post yesterday, with the Lotus Festival going on I thought it’d be a good opportunity to do a quick history of the Fest.

"Lotus Festival in the 1970s." Flickr photo by La Angelena

The Lotus Festival started out being called “The Day of the Lotus,” and debuted at Echo Park Lake in 1972 thanks to the Department of Recreation and Parks and members of the Council of Oriental Organizations (COO). Each festival takes place in July, timed for the blooming of the lotus flowers. Starting out as one-day affairs, the Day of the Lotus was designed to promote awareness of the contributions by Asian Americans to our culture and communities. The festival focuses on a different Asian ethnicity each year, this year they will showcase the Chinese culture.

Read more

Flickr Photo via citta-vita

While the Lotus Festival isn’t going to coincide with the blooming of the Lotus flowers in Echo Park Lake this year,  have to admit we are a little excited about its return this weekend. In 2009, the Lotus Festival was canceled due to budgetary cuts, and instead turned into the first Echo Park Community Festival. This year marks the 32nd celebration of the Festival, and is sponsored by L.A. Lotus Festival, Inc. and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

For those of you who have never been to a Lotus Festival and are new to the area, it’s basically a medium-sized fair around the Lake with vendors selling clothing, jewelry, and other knick-knacks, along with a variety of festival-style food. There’s also a stage where entertainment takes place – we’ve seen some impressive taiko-style drumming, traditional dancing, and other great music.

All this is designed to promote an “atmosphere of understanding in which Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Southern California are brought together for two days of cultural sharing.”

Also in past years, there used to be a Dragon Boat race, where teams applied and paid to race each other in the lake. It seems due to some cutbacks, the races are canceled this year. From the Lotus Festival Dragon Boat Races website:

After much discussion and deliberation, HAP, Inc. has made this difficult decision to cancel the races. Since, we are a not-for profit organization, our primary goal is to provide scholarships to graduating high school students to further their higher education aspirations. Due to unforeseen complications and in the best interest for those most in need of our scholarships, this year races have been canceled.

Read more

Just a few months ago, OK Go debuted its video for the song “This Too Shall Pass” filmed in an Echo Park warehouse. The new video for “End Love” is filmed at Echo Park Lake, which I LOVE! In just a few months, the lake will be gated up in preparation for the big rehab project, so this is a nice “ode to Echo Park Lake” for me.

Check it out here: