Organized by the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness, 20 volunteers worked to clean out five abandoned homeless campsites on the west side of Temescal Canyon Road on December 9.
Their efforts produced enough garbage to nearly fill a 40-cubic-yard dumpster. (The east side of Temescal had been cleaned on October 14, with the trash from 18 abandoned campsites filling a 40-yd.-dumpster.)
As four volunteers worked one encampment hidden in the brush below Tahitian Terrace (across from the food trucks parked along Temescal Canyon Road), PPTFH’s Patrick Hart walked along the drainage ditch towards PCH.
He came across an uncharted recent site that contained a mattress, clothing, batteries and dog toys. When other volunteers came to clean it out, one lifted the mattress and a large rat ran out. A pan, cooking utensils and propane canisters were also found.
With wildfires ranging throughout Southern California this past week, PPTFH enforcement chair Sharon Kilbride said, “We need to put a sign right here.”
The sign reads: “Restricted Entry, Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone, Trespassing and Loitering Forbidden by Law, LAMC 57.4908.81. Fines up to $1,000 + Penalty Assessments.” The same signs were posted after a homeless-related brush fire in the parkland below Via las Olas in November 2016.
Those signs have been posted in areas around Pacific Palisades in an effort to stop similar fires.
Community Sparkplug winner Tom Creed, a PPTFH member who initiated and then organized Project CLEANup in an attempt to return the land to its natural state, surveyed the newly found site on Temescal and said, “It’s so disheartening.” He explained that farther north in the canyon, he had mapped a site, but when volunteers actually started cleaning it, they found additional sites behind it.
After the last bag was hauled to the dumpster, Creed said “Saturday was an incredible day. We have identified more than 75 abandoned homeless sites, with tons of garbage and fire-hazardous waste. We have actually cleaned up 55 sites and today, we did five. We even did an upper site that I thought we might have to do on another day.”