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City News

Skid Row Funk Finally Gets Cleaned Up

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Tue, Jun 19, 2012 at 2:27 PM

click to enlarge RUST O'LEUM
  • Rust O'Leum
Skid Row lives up to its name, despite the decade's long, loft-dwelling gentrification just to the west.

Drug dealers deal, homeless call it home, and trash grows tall. The city of L.A. has tried to battle all of the above with cops, cash and, now, clean-ups. Until today, City Hall was reluctant to fully sweep up the mounds of filth along the Row because a court ruling prevented officials from taking transients' stuff.

Something changed:

The County of L.A. actually cited the city of L.A. for the unhealthy funk.


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So today the city Department of Public Works began a two- to three-week clean-up that will commence at 8:30 each morning and last until about 4 p.m., officials told us.

Is it a ruse, as some fear, to literally sweep the homeless from their concrete beds each morning?

Michelle Vargas, a spokeswoman for Public Works, tells us, nooooo! She says:

click to enlarge STERLINGDAVISPHOTO
  • sterlingdavisphoto

Public works is working to balance out our public health priorities with what is important to the homeless. We know that these materials might be the only stuff they own, and we are very sensitive to that.

Stuff that's determined to be not trash but rather people's belongings will be taken to a storage facility at 432 E. Temple St., and people can come claim their belongings for up to 90 days from the day they're brought in, Vargas says.

The area being swept is between Fifth and Seventh streets, Gladys Avenue to Wall Street, she said.

Some of the filth being cleaned up: fecal matter, heroin needles and condoms.

The nearly year-old court ruling prevents the city from picking up people's stuff unless it can find beds for them. But the county order apparently gave L.A. some wiggle room to figure this out.

Homeless people were warned beginning three weeks ago that bulky items would be picked up, sidewalks would be power-washed, and streets would be swept, Vargas said.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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