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City officials were on hand to unveil the Los Angeles River campaign poster.
From left to right: Brian Williams, Deputy Mayor, Councilmember Wendy Greuel, artist Oscar Amaro, Councilmember Ed Reyes, and Councilmember Tom LaBonge

"LOS ANGELES RIVER — THE FUTURE IS NOW" ADVANCES THE REVITALIZATION OF ONE OF THE CITY’S MOST FORGOTTEN LANDMARKS

City of Los Angeles launches two-month public education program to educate its residents about the LA River and the benefits of the watershed

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 14, 2005) City officials, 20 community LA River organizations, and friends publicly acknowledged the forgotten landmark the Los Angeles River. Recognizing its rightful place among the pantheon of LA attractions, the Ad Hoc River Committee unveiled the poster and four-panel mobile display of the program: "Los Angeles River The Future is Now."

The outreach effort is designed to educate LA residents and adjacent communities about the benefits of the Los Angeles River. April 14th marked the kick-off of the two-month education program and a long-awaited tribute to the ongoing and future projects that will revitalize this magnificent tributary the Los Angeles River.

"Unmatched in the City Council’s history, we are bringing a real focus a master plan to regenerate the Los Angeles River. It’s long overdue, particularly for the neighborhoods along the riverÕs path," said Councilmember Ed Reyes, Ad Hoc River Committee Chairman. "The City has earmarked at the outset $3 million for the LA River Project. Funding will create a long-term plan to revitalize 30 miles from Canoga Park to Boyle Heights of the 51-mile long river."

In collaboration with various agencies and LA River community groups, the City of Los Angeles River Committee, announced a roster of exciting LA River events to take place over the next two months under the new education program. A virtual calendar of more than 40 scheduled events throughout April and May: festivals, river walks, LA River clean-ups and gardening days will be available for the public. An event calendar has been prepared for easy access at www.lariver.org.

ÒThis beautiful and informative display will help educate event attendees about the importance of the Los Angeles River," said Public Works Commissioner Yolanda Fuentes.
The City of Los Angeles Fire Department performed a swift water rescue demostration (above) while artist Oscar Amaro and Councilman Ed Reyes look on (below).
The new Los Angeles River poster designed by Oscar Amaro.

Councilmember Tom LaBonge, master of ceremonies for the launch, invited his fellow committee members to unveil the poster, the symbol of the "Los Angeles River; The Future is Now" education program. Council members Ed Reyes, and Wendy Greuel joined in the unveiling of the poster that was designed and created by Oscar Amaro of the Watershed Protection Division.

Board of Public Works Commissioner Yolanda Fuentes revealed the public education mobile display that will be exhibited at the myriad events. "This beautiful and informative display will help educate event attendees about the importance of the Los Angeles River. The four-panel display (shown below) describes the program through visuals and core messages. The two center sections depict the poster and information about what Angelenos can do to prevent pollution. The side panels explain watershed, highlight current projects on the LA River, and provide a beautiful display of photographs capturing the many views of the River."

Over 20 community organizations and friends of the LA River were on hand to dispense information and each group actively shared their perspective on the river and the environment. Among those present were the Army Corp of Engineers, Arroyo Seco Foundation, Audubon Center, City of LA-PW/Prop K/Engineering, Compton Creek Watershed, DWP/Sanitation IRP, Heal the Bay, LA Zoo, Folar, LA Bike Coalition, LA City Engineering, LA Cultural Affairs, LADWP Low Flow Toilets, LAFD, LAPD, LA Libraries, Los Angeles County, Neighborhood Council, Northeast Trees, Rec & Parks, Swift Water Rescue, Sun Valley Watershed/Hansen Dam, The River Project, TreePeople, Tujunga Watershed Council, and WPD Sanitation.

"The Los Angeles River; The Future is Now" public education program was developed and presented by the Los Angeles River Ad Hoc Committee and the Bureau of Sanitation. Established in June 2002, the Ad Hoc Committee focuses on major revitalization efforts of the historic river to provide new parks, a bike and pedestrian trail system, historical and cultural preservation, brown fields redevelopment, public transit, and waterfront development. The Bureau of Sanitation educates the general public and school children about stormwater pollution — the single largest source of pollution reaching our rivers, beaches and ocean.

During the press conference on the bank of the river, City Councilman Ed Reyes said an engineering and planning firm will be selected Aug. 1 to help devise and implement the $3 million master plan. The vision is intended to transform the river from an ugly concrete flood control channel into a habitat teeming with native plants, animals and activity.

Reyes, who chairs the L.A. River Ad Hoc Committee, said he hopes the campaign will persuade developers and businesses to invest in amenities such as bike paths, restaurants, retail and housing along the 51-mile route that includes Downtown Los Angeles and ends in Long Beach. "This is a huge step in coalescing the interested groups and educating people about cleaning up the river," Reyes said. "We are trying to pierce the consciousness of the city by drawing a connection between the river and the ocean."

Artist and city employee Oscar Amaro unveiled a rendering that will brand the campaign saying that he drew his inspiration from, "…my childhood, when I would visit the river and see newts, frogs and salamanders. And now they’re gone. I’d like to see [our] wildlife back."

Amaro also created the large, 4-panel displays that will be used in educating Angelenos on the area’s watersheds. In addition to the watershed maps, they also contain information on what residents can do to prevent contaminated urban runoff. The last panel depicts the current, and potential beneficial uses of the river and features a photo of the river’s natural state in the Sepulveda Basin.

Click on any of the panels above for a larger view.

Over 200 people attended the campaign kickoff including school kids from a nearby elementary school as well as getting news coverage from KAZA-TV (54)HD News (National Satellite News), KCAL-TV (9), KRCA-TV (52), KTTV-TV (FOX), KCET-TV, "Life & Times," reporter/producer Toni Guinyard", Channel 35, "LA This Week", KNX Radio, City News Service, LA Downtown News, Boulevard Sentinel, Highland Park News, Chinese Press, WCBS (KCAL), and La Opinion.