Echo Park Gentrification Causes Political Uproar

argue.jpgThe LA Times has a great article today on how the gentrification of Echo Park is playing out among the residents. It focuses on the chaos of the Greater Echo Park Elysian Neighborhood Council, which has divided itself along racial lines, its seems – the long-time Latino area residents on one side, and the newer, “whiter” residents on the other.

While the article makes for entertaining reading, I also think it’s a bit short-sighted to boil the area down to such a simplistic stance over race. Without a doubt, a younger, non-Latino crowd has been moving into the area over the past decade, opening shops, upscale restaurants, and building the modern condos the article talks about. But it’s also in my opinion much more of an economic status issue. There are lots of middle and upper class Latino families all over Echo Park that fix up their houses, eat at the nice restaurants, etc…..and there are lots of economically-challenged “white” singles who don’t fix up their houses or eat at nice restaurants. Point being, not everything is about race. As the article also points out, only 2% of residents turned out to vote in the bickering council – that leaves a lot of locals who probably are too busy living their lives to worry so much about what their neighbors are up to.

In the meantime, Echo Park has a lovely mix of houses – from new modern structures to old Victorians. It’s got hillside communities and neighborhoods with sidewalks and trees. Here’s a couple worth checking out:

  • Here’s a new one on the market (10 days) that looks like a very charming (if still expensive) condo alternative – it’s only 732 square feet, but it’s a Victorian-style hillside home. It looks like the owner is upside-down on it. It last sold in 2006 for $675,000.
  • This lovely 3/2 is on Cerro Gordo – a quiet street high up in the hills near Elysian Park. It’s been given a stylish modern makeover…but it’s been on the market 78 days and had it’s price drop almost$100,000 from $839,000 to $759,000.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, here is a serious short sale in the flats. The asking price for this 3/1 is $397,000 with 64 days on the market. But the owner paid $615,000 in May 2007.
  • And here is a bank-owned foreclosure that looks like it might be a good deal for an intrepid buyer that doesn’t mind dealing with bank red tape: It’s a 2/1 on Lake Shore for $379,900. It’s only been listed 2 days….It last sold in 2004 for $401,000.
  • Jim Cohen

    But overall, whites in Echo Park live a much cleaner lifestyle than hispanics, that’s a fact. And they are almost never involved in gangs and spraying graffiti as are hispanics.

  • evelyn

    And overall, whites don’t experience racism because they are too busy creating it, that’s a fact.

    racist jackass.

  • Jamin

    I’m a white guy living in Echo Park and I get called Racist names often, My nabors to the north of me ignore me when I say hello and someone spray painted “STOP ETHNIC CLENSING IN ECHO PARK” near my house… There is a lot of racism and hostility in the L.A. Latino community and I can’t help but see the gentrification fight as a cover for racism. Naborhoods change it’s a fact life living in the city so I reject the idea that being of a certain race should determine where you can and cannot live.

  • apache native

    im more afraid of whites than any other race these fuckers are slick when they want to wipe out a race -no joke!!