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Filming Decline and Blight Strike Leave It to Beaver Block

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Over the long weekend, the LA Times looked at the 6200 block of Orion Avenue in Van Nuys, called Cameron Woods and also known as the "Leave It to Beaver block" (for its white picket fence look)--the stretch is going through some tough times, for instance at 6216 Orion Avenue: "one of the street's oldest homes sports peeling paint and thigh-high weeds, along with a 'For Sale' sign. It's been empty for two years and on the market for nearly a year." Now neighbors are concerned that the house, built in 1949 by developer William Bucher, will be torn down. This in contrast to a once robust market where homes sold before even being publicly listed. ABC7 reports that another house along the block, valued at $1.3 million at the height of the market, is now worth half that amount.

Then there is the film industry production that formerly frequented the block: "For decades its white picket fences and rolling emerald lawns have made it one of the most filmed streets in Los Angeles, standing in as a vision of Anywhere, U.S.A., in movies, television shows and commercials." (We would be remiss if we didn't mention an LAT article from earlier this year that described Spring Street in Downtown as a double for "Anytown, USA" and also called that street one of the most filmed in the city.) Well, film permits for productions looking to capture the neighborhood's resemblance to the "I Like Ike" version of Americana are down--from 48 in 2009 to 36 last year.

And for you history buffs, William Bucher built most of the homes on the 6200 block of Orion Avenue between 1946 and 1952. "According to lore, [he] had a Connecticut street in mind, leaving some of the walnut trees that had been there to spread their stout limbs along the street's curving lines," says LAT. Bucher was one of the first builders in the San Fernando Valley to put big houses on big lots: the 30 homes in Cameron Woods are lots about 100 feet by 300 feet. However, "Bucher's plan to build a whole subdivision of estate homes evaporated when he and his partners had a falling out and the city changed the zoning." World War II vets made $1 down payments on smaller tract homes on much smaller lots along adjacent streets.
· Sought-after Cameron Woods finally feeling the real estate crash [LA Times]
· Tough housing sales on famed TV/film street in Van Nuys [ABC7]