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Echo Park Fences Go Back Up After People Tore Them Down Sunday Night

Fencing rests on the ground and on top of a bike sculpture at Echo Park. People walk along a nearby path. A whiet banner reads "PEOPLE'S PARK LA Welcomes U," draped over the park's own official sign.
While a group of individuals disassembled the fence surrounding Echo Park Lake, others placed a handmade banner over the official Echo Park signage, reading “People’s Park LA Welcomes U.” Various parkgoers acknowledged the aftermath while leaving the park.
(Ashley Balderrama
/
for LAist)
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Los Angeles was working Monday on putting up new fencing around the park surrounding Echo Park Lake to replace the portions torn down overnight by an unknown group of people.

Officers responded Sunday night to reports of 20 to 30 people disassembling the fence, an LAPD spokesperson said.

The group began taking down the fence around 8:30 p.m., according to freelance photographer Ashley Balderrama. The group dispersed after about 15 to 20 minutes, before police or park rangers arrived.

Balderrama captured some of the aftermath in photos before police arrived and took down the banners.

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A black tarp placed over some metal fencing, hung from a tree, reads "COMMUNITY DE-FENCE!" Toppled fencing is seen in the foreground, buildings lit up in the background.
A group of individuals disassembled the fence surrounding Echo Park Lake, then erected a piece of the fence with a handmade banner reading “Community De-Fence!”
(Ashley Balderrama
/
for LAist)

The fencing was first put up last year before the city evicted a homeless encampment and closed the park for renovations. It remained in place even after the park reopened two months later.

A post that was circulating on social media appeared to be describing why those who tore the fences down did so.

"When the Echo Park Lake fence went up last year, the parkgoers, the Karens and Kens, returned and let out a sigh of relief. The city had addressed the 'homeless issue.' Good, they said," the document reads.

It talks about the displacement of people who were living in the park and how the fences represent the transfer of power from people to the city and developers.

The document concludes, "Why has life become so miserable? Because we let it. Tonight we are dumping this bind by tearing down the fence."

Fencing tipping over, other pieces on the grass, on the edge of Echo Park. Cars are parked nearby on the street, others driving by, building in the background. People are walking along a nearby path.
Pieces of the disassembled fence lie on the grass at Echo Park Lake after a group of individuals attempted to take most of it down.
(Ashley Balderrama
/
for LAist)

The fencing is temporary but necessary, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell said, adding that he thinks the unauthorized removal is vandalism.

“This is just not acceptable to this community," O’Farrell said. “This is a park for everyone. People who live here, people who visit here, people who are unhoused — I mean that this park is not at the exclusion of anyone, it is for everyone.”

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An unhoused resident who identified himself as Larry and who said he used to live in an encampment inside the park, said the public is tired of “being fenced out.”

“The city is controlling the people," Larry said. “When they made the mistake in the first place of allowing the people to stay here, they allowed them to stay here for what was it, over a year? And then all of a sudden they decided that they wanted to clear it out.”

L.A. park rangers are investigating the incident, according to an LAPD spokesperson.

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