David McNew/Getty Images
The 4th Street Bridge spans the Los Angeles River at sunrise.
Saturday is the annual “Great Los Angeles River CleanUp,” when Angelenos take the majestic concrete banks of the L.A. River to clean up what are sure to be copious amounts of trash. There was once ambitious talk of completely remaking the L.A. River, which has always looked much more like a soulless flood control channel than an actual river—concrete was going to be ripped out in place of natural habitat like real dirt, trees and native plants; parks and trails would line the rehabilitated river to be used as public gather places and peaceful spots to watch the river amble by. Almost none of this has taken place, and with only one stretch of river made natural—the Tujunga wash greenway project in the San Fernando Valley—the new era of slashed budgets and spending makes major river rehab projects look unrealistic. We talk about the L.A. River CleanUp and the prospects for Los Angeles ever having a real river running through it.
Lewis MacAdams, co-founder & president, Friends of the Los Angeles River