Just in from correspondent Miguel Luna

September 22, 2008 § Leave a comment

Here’s a message I received from Miguel Luna, all-around good guy and chief arbol of Urban Semillas (Miguel provided the photo, but I’ve added the links):

Sketch and His Son at the L.A. River / Arroyo Seco Confluence

Sketch and His Son at the L.A. River / Arroyo Seco Confluence

“Hey during the cleanup we had this guy show up, he was not there for the cleanup – though he was very pleasantly surprised to see people there.  He did not even know that there was a cleanup scheduled for saturday.  Anyways, he said he was lured there because he was following a book he purchased.  Guess what book? YOURS!!! he had it with him and said he had visited all the sites up to this one and was planning on visiting all the sites in the book.”

“He was there with his little kid. I thought you should know, if you don’t already, the impact you have on people’s lives and how lucky we and the river are to have you!”

(Joe’s note: It has been great to hear from folks who are using and enjoying my book.  Early on I would hear from people who had looked through the book saying things like “I like the look of your book.”  Later, I would get comments like “I read about Ernie’s Walk which I hadn’t known until I read your book.”  Both of these are great to hear, but the best comments are ones like what Miguel has passed along where my book has helped folks go and explore places on the river.  Shameless self-promotion: the book is titled Down By The Los Angeles River: Friends of the Los Angeles River’s Official Guide.  It was published by Wilderness Press in 2005.   It costs $17.95 and is available all over, including from my local independent bookstore Skylight Books.)


Metabolic Studio Twain Tours Historic Bridge Excursions

December 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

View from the North Broadway Bridge's central belvedere - during the December 3rd Twain Tour - photo by Miguel Luna

Last Friday and the Friday before I had a great time showing off a dozen of  my favorite historic bridges in and around Downtown Los Angeles. The events were the Metabolic Studio Twain Tour L.A. Creek Freak Historic Bridges Excursions. « Read the rest of this entry »

Images of Future Compton Creek Park

November 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

Aerial showing location of future Compton Creek Park. The initial 4-acre park site is in light green, shaped like a U with wings. The darker green parcels on the right are planned future phases. North is to the upper left. Compton Creek flows from left to right through the middle of the image - and is unfortunately lidded in mid-frame. The light blue on the right is the more natural earthen bottom creekbed. The Metro Blue Line runs diagonally from upper left to bottom right, with Artesia Station at the bottom middle of the image. The 91 Artesia Freeway or Gardena Freeway is diagonal on the right.

When the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lisa Jackson announced the L.A. River’s navigability determination in July 2010, that big announcement overshadowed the day’s other great news: the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority’s (MRCA) purchase of 4 acres along and in Compton Creek. Creek Freak’s Jessica Hall wrote about the Compton Creek park project earlier here – including  showing the property map and discussing some possible cross-sections for restoration projects. Today, creek freak brings you some images: what the site looks like today, where the acquisition parcels are, and renderings of what the inital phase of the park could look like. Images are courtesy of Mia Lehrer + Associates and the MRCA. « Read the rest of this entry »

Coro Fellows Seek the Logic of the L.A. River

September 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

I had the pleasure of showing off the L.A. River to the 2010-2011 class of Los Angeles Coro fellows last week, then attending their presentation earlier this week. Above is a short video they did as part of their presentation on “The Logic of the Los Angeles River.” The video features Urban Semillas‘ Miguel Luna, FoLAR‘s Shelly Backlar, yours truly, and others. « Read the rest of this entry »

Wondering about the water bond?

May 27, 2010 § 1 Comment

There’s $11.4 billion for water-related projects waiting in the wings – to vote for, or against?  The upcoming Water Summit sponsored by the Planning and Conservation League may help you to decide.  Thanks to Miguel Luna at Urban Semillas for making me aware of the event.

From the Facebook page:

The Summit will feature a presentation and discussion on the $11.14 billion water bond (full agenda to follow)

When: Wednesday June 2nd, 10:00am – 1:00pm

Lunch provided with RSVP to summit@cawatersummit.org

Where: SEIU Local 721- Auditorium , 500 S. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90020, (5th & Virgil)*
*Near Wilshire/ Vermont Red Line Station

Parking lots on 5th & Virgil and street parking is also availible
Please remember to RSVP!

L.A. Creek Freak wants your feedback

March 29, 2010 § 11 Comments

Los Angeles Creek Freaks get together to plot to take over the world, one drop at a time. Left to right: Joe Linton, Jessica Hall, Jane Tsong.

L.A. Creek Freak is the brainchild of Jessica Hall and Joe Linton. In 2008, we talked about an idea for this blog as a tool for getting our points of view out to a broader audience, to raise awareness about the past, present and future of L.A.’s maligned waterways and to build momentum for healthier waters in L.A.’s future. Thanks to Miguel Luna for playing midwife matchmaker – turned out that both Jessica and I mentioned to Miguel that we were thinking of this – so he brought us together on it (though we already knew eachother and had worked together.)

Jessica contributed our first article about the removal of concrete from Las Virgenes Creek in Calabasas. I followed soon thereafter with a series on the three-day kayak expedition down the L.A. River.

« Read the rest of this entry »

News and Events – 24 March 2010

March 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

Image of planned new Riverside Drive Bridge and Roundabout - From L.A. City Flier


>TOMORROW! The city of Los Angeles hosts a community meeting on its plans for the Riverside Drive Bridge. The meeting is at 6pm on Thursday, March 25th 2010 at the Atrium Room of the L.A. River Center at 570 West Avenue 26 in Cypress Park. City flier here.
The city plans to replace the L-shaped Riverside-Figueroa Bridge with a new wider straighter faster deadlier bridge, with construction planned to begin later this year. The L.A. River bike path is planned to extend along the upstream edge of the bridge across the river from Frogtown to Cypress Park. The project (image above) includes a roundabout (traffic circle) at the intersection of Riverside Drive, San Fernando Road, and North Figueroa Streets, where the state is working on its planned Confluence Park. Confluence Park, partially under construction (next to the Home Depot parking lot) but stalled due to state budget issues, will celebrate the historic confluence of the L.A. River and the Arroyo Seco.  Learn more about the project, by attending tomorrow night’s meeting!

>TOMORROW!  The Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History presents their Sustainable Salon: Sustaining Our Water at 7pm on  Thursday, March 25th 2010. It’s free and talkes place at the museum’s North American Mammal Hall. Featuring:  Miguel Luna (Urban Semillas), Renée Maas (Food and Water Watch), and Conner Everts (Southern California Watershed Alliance.) For information and to rsvp contact Kim Kessler at 213-763-3463 or kkessler {at} nhm {dot} org. 

>The Theodore Payne Foundation – California Native flora-philes:

  • California Wildflower Hotline  until May 31st 2010 – Find spectacular California wildflower sites – updated Thursdays. Use link or call (818)768-3533.
  • THIS SATURDAY! Spring discount plant sale & Open House Saturday, March 27th 2010, 8:30am-4:30pm at TPF Nursery in Sun Valley.
  • Annual Native Plant Garden Tour takes place Saturday and Sunday, April 10th and 11th 2010, from 10am-4pm – including a free lecture:  In California, the Natives Are Friendly with Isabelle Greene on Saturday, April 10, 2010, at 6:30pm at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Hollywood.

>The Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council, Friends of the L.A. River, and the Urban Land Institute host On Track: Rivers and Rails Symposium. It’s on Thursday, April 1st 2010 from 3pm-6pm at Metro in downtown L.A. More information here.

>The Arid Lands Institute at Woodbury University hosts three free workshops on three Saturdays: March 27th, April 3rd and April 17th. See earlier post for details.

>Save L.A. River Open Space is holding a special meeting on Thursday, April 15th 2010 at 7pm at the Beverly Garland’s Holliday Inn at 4222 Vineland Ave in Studio City.  Featured will be State Senator Fran Pavley and Esther Feldman of Community Conservancy International presenting a vision for a 16-acre Los Angeles River Natural Park  at the former golf and tennis site.

>The L.A. River boating expedition documentary Rock the Boat will screen at Los Angeles Eco-Village on Saturday May 8th 2010. Basic info here, more details coming soon.


Orcutt's Yellow Pincushion - from Ken Bowles Wildflower and Bird Photos - click on image to link to biggified version

>A rare wildflower – Orcutt’s Yellow Pincushion – was discovered at a restoration site in the Ballona Wetlands. The Argonaut tells all!

>Long Beach is labeling its bikeways, and the L.A. River path there is now officially Long Beach Bikeway Route 7.

>Los Angeles’ elected officials and agency leaders have been in Washington D.C. pushing for funding for Los Angeles River revitalization. Los Angeles State Historic Park has the pics to prove it!

>Fishing in the very lush Los Angeles River off Tujunga Boulevard [perhaps Avenue] in 1945? The Museum of the San Fernando Valley has the pics to prove it!

Discuss the Future of Albion River Park – Meetings Start This Week

November 14, 2009 § Leave a comment

Albion Flyer - English

Flier for Albion Dairy - click for full 2-page pdf file with meetings info, map, and background sheet

The city of Los Angeles has announced a series of community meetings for public input on the future Los Angeles River park at the Albion Dairy site. The first meeting is this Wednesday November 18th at 6:30pm at Downey Recreation Center.

In September 2009, the city purchased the 6-acre industrial site located between North Spring and North Main Streets in the Albion neighborhood of Lincoln Heights. Earlier L.A. Creek Freak covered the purchase, background, and shared photos of the site.

From the city’s flier:

Please join First District, Councilmember Ed Reyes for the first of three meetings to discuss the future of the 6-acre Swiss Dairy site. The meetings seek to inform and solicit input from local neighborhoods and stakeholders on the possibilities to transform this site into a community riverside park.

The meetings will be hosted at:
Downey Recreation Center
1772 N. Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90031
Refreshments and Snacks will be provided at every meeting

Wednesday – November 18, 2009
6:30PM – 8:30PM
Site-specific overview and background.
Community input on desired outcomes.

Saturday – January 9, 2010
10:00AM – 12:00AM
Community check-in. Design concepts presented.
Community input on project alternatives.

Thursday – January 28, 2010
6:30PM – 8:30PM
Community design unveiled.

The flier includes meeting information, map and a background sheet. For more information on the meetings, contact Marisol Salguero [213] 485.0763 marisol.salguero [at] lacity.org or Miguel Luna [818] 568.9139 miguel [at] urbansemillas.com

News and Events – 12 June 2009

June 12, 2009 § 2 Comments

Rachel Garcia as the Great Blue Heron in Touch the Water, costume design by Soojin Lee - Photo copywright John Luker

Rachel Garcia as the Great Blue Heron in Cornerstone Theater's L.A. River Play Touch the Water, costume design by Soojin Lee - Photo copywright John Luker


Shishir Kurup and Joe Linton in Touch the Water - Photo copywright John Luker

Shishir Kurup and Joe Linton in Touch the Water - Photo copywright John Luker (enter your humorous caption in comments!)

> “Touch ze water, man”  Cornerstone Theater‘s Touch the Water is showing NOW, and continues Wednesday through Sunday through June 21st ( this weekend and next weekend only!)  Come and see your creek freak blogger Joe Linton’s dramatic debut and what the LA Weekly describes as including a “stunning moment of spine-tingling magic that is the raison d’etre of site-specific theater.”   Most performances include pre-play river walks, lead by local creek freaks including Jenny Price, Robert Garcia, Miguel Luna and others.  Make reservations online at the Cornerstone website.  Here are a few suggestions for theater-goers:

(For my handful of loyal readers:  I promise to blog more once this production is over!)

> The Pacific American Volunteer Association and Anahuak Youth Sports Organization host a Los Angeles River clean-up this Saturday June 13th via Green L.A. Girl.

> Author and Urban Ranger Jenny Price, after leading her pre-play walk this Friday, will lead Friends of the Los Angeles River’s tour of the Lower Los Angeles River on Sunday June 14th.


> Per the Long Beach Press-Telegram, L.A. County Supervisors have voted to proceed with a Compton Creek Master Plan.

The Glendale News Press reports that Disney is being sued for alledgedly polluting the river-adjacent Polliwog Parcel.  Polliwog is a remnant piece of Griffith Park stranded north of the Los Angeles River when the river was straightened.  The site has been discussed as part of a future Los Angeles River greenway (though today most of the site is separated from the river by the 134 Freeway.)

Relief from the Concrete lets us know that the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the San Gabriel River Discovery Center has been released and is now open for comments.

According to Science Dude, the San Gabriel River’s sea turtles appear to have established a year-round colony.

LAist talks bull on Army Corps restoration of Bull Creek in the Sepulveda Basin, and talks trash about L.A.’s storm drain covers.

W Roscoe (with my friend Federico) explores the Ballona Creek underground.

Some new video coverage of local waterways:

Some creeky new blogs:

Lastly, probably off topic, but about water at least:  see this WaterWired post on a water-computer used to predict changes in the economy.  It’s both elegant and Rube-Goldberg – follow the link on the blog to watch the video.

Pre-Play Walks at Touch the Water

May 23, 2009 § 3 Comments

Moving a tree on the riverside set of Touch the Water

Moving a tree on the riverside set of Touch the Water (photo by Terry Young)

As you probably remember from creek freak’s blog entry a week or so ago, Cornerstone Theater Company is presenting the L.A. River play Touch the Water. Previews start next week! I am in the play and excited to get lots of people there (make your reservation on-line here,) so I’ve been working with the Cornerstone folks to set up a series of short pre-play walks that will be lead by some of my favorite local creek freaks.

The play starts at 8pm at the Taylor Yard bowtie parcel (2800 Casitas Avenue, L.A. 90039 – like many spots on the river it’s a bit hard to find – use bike/bus directions here or driving directions here.) The following performances will include pre-play walks. The walks will start promptly at 7pm, so they can conclude by 7:45pm, in time for participants to take their seats in time for the play. Folks who participate in the pre-play walk will get preferred seating for the play.

In addition to the walks below – most Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays – there will “talkbacks” (post-play discussions with with cast and others) on Thursday nights after the play.

The pre-play walks are free, and the play itself is pay-what-you-can (suggested $20.) Make reservations online at the Cornerstone Theater Company website. You don’t need to register for the pre-play walks – just show up!

Friday June 5th
Melanie Winter, Founder and Director, The River Project

Sunday June 7th
Jessica Hall, Senior Associate, Restoration Design Group
(and, of course, L.A. Creek Freak blogger!)
on “L.A. River Tales”

Wednesday June 10th
Sabrina Drill, University of California Cooperative Extension
on “Fish in the L.A. River” (see also our earlier post on fish)

Thursday June 11th
Nidia Garcia, Holly Harper, and Aaron Thomas, of North East Trees

Friday June 12th
Jenny Price, writer, Los Angeles Urban Ranger, and LA River tour guide
on “Los Angeles, the River City: Past, Present, Future”
>Don’t miss Jenny’s upcoming lower L.A. River tour on Sunday June 14th!

Sunday June 14th
Shelly Backlar, Executive Director, Friends of the Los Angeles River

Wednesday June 17th
Miguel Luna, Urban Semillas

Thursday, June 18th
Robert Garcia, Executive Director, Counsel and Founder of The City Project

Friday June 19th
Dorothy Kieu Le and Aurisha Smolarski of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition
“Bike Night at Touch the Water”
>Don’t miss LACBC’s upcoming Los Angeles River Ride on Sunday June 7th!

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