Homeless Task Force Continues Restoration of Palisades Bluffs

By Nina Kidd
Special to the Palisades News

Twelve volunteers met at the foot of the Via de la Paz bluffs, off Pacific Coast Highway between Temescal and Potrero Canyons, for a homeless encampment clean-up on Aug. 12.

At one time, there were as many as 13 homeless sites in the brush, but because of a November 2015 fire that threatened homes on the top of the hill, the area was declared a “Very High Fire Severity Zone” and entry restricted. The entire hillside bowl is property of L.A. Recreation and Parks, but is now closed to the public.

Persistent enforcement by the LAPD has kept the hills free of illegal campers. But the 13 abandoned camps remain, dug into the hillside and half-hidden in the brush. All of the camps have been numbered, and are layered with rotten clothing, broken furniture and garbage.

A second bluffs cleanup was held on August 19, and a gun was found at one encampment.
Photo: Sharon Kilbride

Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness (PPTFH) is working towards removing the trash and clearing them out, then restoring the land to a natural state.

Organizer for the PPTFH cleanup Tom Creed started the day with an orientation and safety training for volunteers. He told people to watch for rattlesnakes, open bottles of liquid, drug paraphernalia and knives. Los Angeles Recreation and Parks supplied a Caterpillar loader and two trucks to haul away the trash.

The crew of PPTFH volunteers, Park and Rec officials and LAPD then put on work gloves and dust masks and pushed their way into the abandoned site PEA 1.02 which had been targeted for cleanup.

About four hours later, the team was sweaty and grimy. But the encampment, which actually turned out to be three camp sites hidden in the willows, was cleared and both trucks were filled with bagged junk.

Local LAPD Officer Rusty Redican and his team continue to patrol the entire bowl often to prevent campers from returning.

The day after the clean-up, Rusty thanked the team and reported,“The immediate area that was cleaned yesterday is still clean. However, one of the encampments at the top where we found needles and other signs of recent activity had [an additional] tent this morning. This is further evidence of the absolute necessity of our ongoing team efforts!”

Tom Creed and the PPTFH plan more cleanups this fall, not only in the Via de las Olas bluffs, but also at sites along Temescal Canyon Boulevard and Palisades Drive. Volunteers are needed. Contact Tom Creed at tom.creed@gmail.com.

For more information, visit https://pptfh.org.

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