On May 26, residents and city officials memorialized the highly anticipated reopening of Echo Park Lake with a blessing ceremony performed by Native American tribal leaders, while giggling kids and happy ducks played nearby. Paul Michael Neuman, organizer of Silver Lake’s National Night Out, was on the scene and provided this report. He noted that a few dozen protesters objected to the reopening of the public park, but the tone of the event was positive.
Neuman said, "The May 26 reopening of Echo Park was absolutely lovely. One could delight in the pastoral, picturesque environs we want for any community's public park space; something for all to enjoy. Even ducks and geese were sprawled on the grass, safely indifferent to the people starting to accumulate.
"Joggers, seniors, kids playing, and families with strollers were blissfully relieved to be back, with no more fear of weapons, needles and tons of waste. Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell talked about challenges and successes providing housing and services for homeless people, and greeted the happy crowd. Upon the lake itself, clusters of small paddle boats were suddenly reemerging. The optimistic sense we all have, of a 'post-Covid' society coming out of hibernation, seems doubly true for Echo Park Lake — and for the formerly unhoused who now have better, safer lives ahead."
Echo Park Lake was closed for two months while the city removed more than 35+ tons of
waste, including 744 pounds of human/biological waste that accumulated during homeless
encampment. Fencing installed during the renovation will remain in place; four gates will
be closed at night to help enforce park hours, 5:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.