In 2008, developers in Eagle Rock put the kibosh on a planned mixed-use development on Colorado Boulevard—they abandoned the building foundations and left behind an ugly spine of tall concrete pillars. For seven long years, residents have had to drive by the eyesore as it filled with garbage and graffiti and acquired the name Pillarhenge. The Eagle Rock Association neighborhood group tried to help, but were powerless to solve the problem. In March 2015, a man named Tim Tritch decided he had had enough, created the Friends of Pillarhenge Park group on Facebook with the goal of turning the property into something that would benefit the neighborhood, and watched as the number of supporters to the cause grew to more than 600. That's pretty impressive for a Facebook group devoted to a single vacant lot in Eagle Rock, California. It's truly a people's movement, and according to the Boulevard Sentinel, city hall is starting to listen.
Shortly after creating the page, Tritch posted the contact info for the Department of Building and Safety and urged people to file complaints about the sorry state of the property. The response was overwhelming. Not long after, Tritch says the property owners were out cleaning graffiti off walls and clearing out dumped mattresses and hypodermic needles. It was a small but significant grassroots victory.
The emboldened citizens group was even able to secure a meeting with several city officials, including representatives from Councilmember Jose Huizar's office to discuss the lot. The result: new security lights installed nearby to thwart trespassing.
According to their page, the ultimate mission of Friends of Pillarhenge Park is "facilitating the demolition of the structure while securing a safe hillside." They've won the small battles, but the big prize still eludes them. But they fight on. An active online discussion remains alive on the group's page with neighbors weighing in and strategizing their next move. There's a petition with 375 signatures, words of encouragement, and even Pillarhenge fan art, all posted with the goal of keeping the fight alive. The lot's days might be numbered, but the group isn't going away any time soon.—Jeff Wattenhofer
The Friends of Pillarhenge Park [Boulevard Sentinel]