Jenny Burman Jenny Burman
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from Echo Park

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The things they buried: Chicken Corner?

For the last couple of years, we've all known it would happen. The big machinery, the displacement of dirt -- and history -- at Chicken Corner, whose most physical address is Delta and Echo Park Ave, 90026, across from Magic Gas. In November "they" came barreling down in a big-ass hurry to tear down the bungalow at the edge of the property, which the Echo Park Historical Society and others had been trying to get moved. Then came the new chain-link fence and then, nothing. Silence. The rains came and plants grew. For a while it looked like an urban soy plantation. In mid-March slumber and unstable peace ended, and cranes showed up and earth movers, pretty artists' murals were painted down, the little hillside grade was taken away. That's where we are now. The condos are coming. You can watch it from the picture window at Chango, the view-spot that required the destruction of Aaron Donovan's chickens mural -- which gave Chicken Corner its name, in the days before Chango existed. My daughter likes to get up close near the fence, to see the massive machinery at work. Some day she may remember the sight. The condos she'll take for granted. Some day she may have friends who live there.

If you're just tuning in: the lots in question used to be an urban ranch and a nursing-care facility -- the two properties side-by-side. For decades there were livestock at the ranch. Then, for a few years, it was empty -- urban space waiting for the next thing, which should have been a park.

(A park: I don't know of any efforts by residents to have the property turned into a park. That particular wagon train left the station quietly. Local groups did work with successive developers, as the properties changed hands at least twice, to influence design decisions. To wit, condo residents will park in back and no faux Italian/Victorian nonsense.)

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