Pacoima Wash, Pacoima Beautiful

September 25, 2008 § 3 Comments

The Pacoima Wash downstream of the San Fernando Road Bridge

The Pacoima Wash downstream of the San Fernando Road Bridge

The non-profit Pacoima Beautiful is undertaking a 3-year community process to plan and implement a community greenway along the Pacoima Wash. The neighborhood of Pacoima (part of the city of Los Angeles) is located in the north end of the San Fernando Valley.

The Pacoima Wash is a tributary to the Tujunga Wash which is in turn tributary to the Los Angeles River. The Pacoima Wash originates in the Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, where it’s still very wild. Before entering the Valley, the Pacoima Wash’s natural flows are cut off by Pacoima Dam and the Lopez Debris Basin, so during dry weather there’s very little stream flow. The combined Tujunga Wash / Pacoima Wash watershed was recently the subject of a thorough and exciting watershed plan, created by The River Project.

Pacoima is a Tataviam Native American word that, depending where you look, means “the entrance” or “flowing waters“. The communities along the Pacoima Wash are some of the region’s poorest, resulting from past racial segregation. Historically, Pacoima was the only part of the Valley where blacks could live and own. In recent years, the African-American population has shifted to predominantly Latino.

Pacoima Beautiful is a non-profit organization that works on environmental justice and environmental health issues in, you guessed it, Pacoima. PB received a grant through the County Public Health Department’s PLACE (Policies for Livable, Active Communities and Environments) program. The PLACE program funds community and city efforts to create changes in the built environment to foster better health by incorporating more physical activity into people’s daily lives. Pacoima Beautiful will be working with the community to create a Pacoima Wash Greenway Master Plan which will extend from Lopez Debris Basin to the Pacoima Spreading Grounds (which are located south of Devonshire Street, east of Woodman Avenue.) Additionally, they’ll be working with local partners to create an initial linear park along the wash in the vicinity of Telfair Avenue, where there are two linear vacant areas along the creek. This is an important chance to get new green space into one of the most park-poor communities in Los Angeles. Continuous trails along the Pacoima Wash can make it safe and convenient for local residents to bike or hike up into the San Gabriel Mountains, or, someday, down the Los Angeles River to the Pacific Ocean.

Creek Freak had an opportunity recently to walk the area with Pacoima Beautiful’s Max Podemski. The wash’s channel is anonymous trapezoidal concrete. At some streets that dead-end into the Pacoima Wash, there are issues with illegal trash dumping. There is quite a bit of vacant space, though, so there’s a good potential space for greening in a neighborhood that can really use it. Creek Freak is looking forward to seeing what Pacoima Beautiful comes up with along this neglected tributary.

If you’re intersted in getting involved in this project, email Max at “mpodemski {at}”

(Note that the adjacent city of San Fernando is currently under construction with its Pacoima Wash greenway project – I’ll blog about that one soon, too.)


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§ 3 Responses to Pacoima Wash, Pacoima Beautiful

  • […] To read about the city of San Fernando’s 8th Street Pacoima Wash Park follow this link […]

  • Lynn says:

    A greenway mater plan was created in 2004 by graduate students at Cal Poly Pomona from the debris basin to the spreading grounds as well as further connections to and from the Wash. The City of San Fernando would have a copy of the plan that shows the linear park concept, as well as a proposed park from Foothill to 8th, so it is nice to see something being constructed there. The group worked with Pacomia Beautiful and did several surveys of the surrounding community. The docuement is a great tool to have and use as a resource with ecological and social apsects of the area. If the City does not have a copy Cal Poly would.

  • karenkt says:

    how cool that you have this blog and this information for me about PB’s plan for the linear park along the river. I’m hoping to work with Pacoima Beautiful in the future, so i was happy to google upon your blog.
    You have some nice pics here! Love the one of the poppies in the native park.

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