Some Temescal Homeless Encampments Cleaned (Video)

By Sue Pascoe

The homeless encampments along Temescal Canyon Drive were targeted for cleanup on Oct. 14 by the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness under the direction of volunteers Ben Creed and Sharon Kilbride.

Twenty-nine volunteers, dressed in jeans and long sleeves (to prevent contacting poison oak), gloves and boots (broken glass and the possibility of snakes), worked on 18 abandoned campsites that were hidden from view of the street.

These sites are posted and prohibit camping because of severe fire danger. Most have become trash dumps that have been there for years, prior to the signs.         

Temescal Canyon homeless encampment cleanup group on OCt. 14, 2017.

In a June Los Angeles Times story, it says that public crews have cleaned 16,500 homeless encampments since 2015, removing more than 3,000 tons of trash at a cost of $14-million.

Instead of waiting for the city, Creed wondered why residents couldn’t clean the abandoned sites in order to restore the Via de las Olas bluffs, and other areas in the Palisades back to their native state. Thus, a movement began within the PPTFH in the parkland below Via de las Olas.

This News editor joined the cleanup at Temescal, which started at 7 a.m. with registration, signing liability waivers and being assigned to one of three teams. Volunteers were warned that they would work up a sweat and to take water.

The first team went to the “bee” hill about mid-way up the Canyon (it is called that because there are actual beehives on homeowner’s property near that hill).

Those walking by Temescal could see some trash, but only once climbing the narrow trail, could one see not only the hill, but the little stream behind and the area filled with rubbish.

Garbage is buried two and three layers deep (or more). Almost like an archeological dig—one layer unearths a second, a third and even a fourth.

Working in the stream area, below the hill, near the poison oak, first a small mattress was carried out, then three large black plastic bags were filled with blankets, shoes, numerous cans and bottles, paper, lighters, litter, plastic fruit cups and plastic containers.

Temescal Canyon homeless encampment cleanup group on Oct. 14, 2017.

One person commented that instead of annual beach cleanups, the real litter (which eventually finds its way to the ocean), is hidden away in the canyon. A plastic banner that was hung on the Palisades High School fence had been absconded and had been placed on the ground as a base to keep moisture away from clothing and bedding.

The second campsite yielded more bags of garbage, alone with a small night stand, an umbrella, a knife and a Cruisine Art sauce pan.

The final site, which at first appeared like it was a single towel, turned into a dig that produced tents, blankets, pillows, a backpack and more shoes. There was also a plastic bag that contained bug spray, a lighter and a book.

Volunteers, who ranged in age from 25-78, were sweating as they shoveled, raked and loaded trash.

It was noted that there were numerous dead trees and brush in the canyons between the homes along Radcliffe and Temescal Park and that owners might want to go below and have it cleared for fire prevention.

The bags, human waste and drug paraphernalia were loaded into a 40-foot dumpster that was filled to the brim. On October 16, L.A. City Rec and Parks removed the dumpster.

Cleanups for the westside of Temescal, Palisades Drive and the Castellemmare areas at not scheduled, yet, but if you would like to help, contact Creed and Kilbride

Temescal Canyon homeless encampment cleanup group on Oct. 14, 2017.
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