San Fernando Valley

Old Nike site above the Valley a trouble spot

oat-mtn-bus-dn.jpgDecommissioned former Nike missile sites can be found here and there around the LA basin, relics of the Cold War. The one that is part way up Oat Mountain in the Santa Susana Mountains above Chatsworth and Browns Canyon is in the news because the fences around it have been broken down and now people go up and hang around there day and night. The city of Los Angeles actually controls the property, with the main use being a training center for the LAPD's bomb squad and SWAT teams. But a recent trip up there by nearby property owners and a Daily News reporter and photographer found a cache of bullets left behind by the SWAT squads, plus open underground bunkers, decayed batteries and other potential hazards. From the Daily News story by Mariecar Mendoza:

A former Nike missile base in the hills of Chatsworth has become an unsanctioned playground for hikers, taggers and vandals, raising safety concerns among neighbors and triggering a Los Angeles Police Department internal investigation.

The former U.S. Army LA-88 Nike Missile Base on Oat Mountain is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, but the gates have been found unlocked or broken into after an onsite manager left the property nearly five years ago.

Its underground bunkers, burned-out structures and rusty construction equipment now seem reminiscent of a post-apocalyptic movie set.

"Everybody knows that place is a lawless area," said rancher Wayne Fishback, a neighbor who has raised concerns about site security. "That's why there's so much vandalism and random people there throughout the day and night. It's really troubling for us who own property nearby."

The Daily News site has a couple of dozen photos by staff photographer Michael Owen Baker.

Daily News photo: Michael Owen Baker

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