The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to revamp the LA River Master Plan.
Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl proposed the update, calling for a steering committee of regional agencies, city leaders, nonprofit organizations and community groups to work together on a solution.
“It’s been 20 years since the LA River Master Plan has been updated,” Solis said, calling the river “a county gem that connects millions of residents.”
Kuehl said the river has suffered not from neglect as much as from too much attention, with many organizations working independently to make changes.
Many other county interests come into play with the river, including the fight against homelessness, public health, environmental remediation, economic development, parks and flood risk.
As other cities, including Los Angeles, and agencies work on design and plans for portions of the river, Solis and Kuehl see the county as best positioned to coordinate efforts.
“It is apparent that there is a need to link the various individual efforts along the 51 miles of the river system into a single, comprehensive plan through a transparent, community-based process ensuring all voices are heard,” their motion states.
The proposal is intended to avoid “plan-demonium,” Kuehl said. “From Canoga Park in my district to downtown L.A., to the river’s terminus in Long Beach, city governments, community groups and residents want to contribute their ideas and help forge a plan.”
River LA, a nonprofit organization, is already working on a vision for the entire river based on input from government officials and community members. The nonprofit has also assembled the LA River Index, which tracks existing studies and analyses.
The board plans to collaborate with River LA going forward and the group’s executive director, Omar Brownson, said he welcomed the effort.
“There are 17 city, county, state and federal jurisdictions that in some way disrupt the river’s flow,” Brownson told the board. “This motion … is about hacking that system and bringing people together.”
The supervisors directed the Department of Public Works to set up the steering committee, pull together a working group of county departments, sign an agreement with River LA and coordinate with the Los Angeles River Cooperation Committee, which includes the Flood Control District and U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers.
Quarterly reports are expected.
–City News Service
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