Community Interview: A Clean and Family Friendly L.A. River

George Villanueva at the NELA RC's press event in February 2013

Youth Voices is working with students from the Los Angeles River School to re-imagine the L.A. River and the surrounding communities as part of the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative. The student teams are exploring and investigating their communities by mapping assets, and collecting stories through interviews with local residents and experts. Follow their work here, on Instagram @thegreenteam1 and on Twitter by using #kcetyv.

The community cause we are working with is improving the river quality. We want to make it a better place so residents and fellow Angelenos come and enjoy it. We believe that by getting more people involved we can help the community realize the importance of the river, and that it is a place we need to respect.

We are interviewing George Villanueva, a community expert, and the project manager for the Northeast Los Angeles Riverfront Collaborative. During our interview Mr. Villanueva talked about bringing more attention to the river as a community asset, as well as getting the community involved in proposing family friendly projects on the river.

What interest does the Los Angeles River hold for you?
I am first a resident of Northeast Los Angeles, and like coming to the River to bike and enjoy the natural landscape between the concrete banks. I also work on the River as part of the NELA Riverfront Collaborative.

What are some issue that concern you about the river?
Ensuring that it remains publicly accessible to the residents who live near it, and for residents who want to come visit. Ensuring that it remains clean. Ensuring that the trail by the River is not only seen as a bike path, but also a walking path.

What rate would you rank the quality (water, trash, surrounding) of the river? On a scale of 1-5, 5 being the best quality.

What do you think our community could do to improve the quality of the river?
The community can first bring as much attention to the River as a community and recreational asset. Second, the community can think of proposing ways of funding projects that would make the River more family friendly and open for green space.

Would you be willing to volunteer in upcoming river cleanups?

In the foreground: trash on the riverbank


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Community Outreach: Students Meet The Community