The Breakdown | Explaining Southern California's economy

In California, the housing crisis has also ruined the view

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I was emailed this story from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune last week, about how Norman's Nursery is relocating what amounted to a semi-permanent landscaping forest from the San Gabriel Valley to Ventura Country. Why? The housing crisis has pushed the company's sales down 60 percent. And the effect?

The removal of thousands of boxed trees, shrubs and ornamentals stored along a one-mile stretch of Arrow Highway on the northern border of Irwindale and Baldwin Park has already had an aesthetic impact. The flat land adjoining the Santa Fe Dam was leased from the Army Corps of Engineers by Norman's Nursery for growing plants. The large swath of potted trees, plants and shrubs placed side by side and in rows formed a greenbelt that has existed for more than 20 years, Norman said. At first glance, it appeared as if the trees were permanently planted there.

We hear quite a lot about boarded-up, foreclosed properties and how they create urban and suburban blight. We hear less about the visual damage that the housing crisis has done to industries that support the housing business. And with good reason — it takes a special kind of eye to find a lumberyard beautiful, or a Home Depot esthetically exciting.

However, we can all get excited about trees and shrubs. Unfortunately, the residents of the SGV will have to go to Ventura to once again see a landscape they'd become accustomed to.

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