Cleanup begins at massive homeless RV encampment in Playa del Rey

Cleanup efforts have begun at a homeless RV encampment that has been plaguing Los Angeles' Playa del Rey neighborhood since the COVID-19 pandemic. Local officials and community activists said it's a long time coming.

Residents have been desperate to clean up the encampment along Jefferson Boulevard for years. Los Angeles City Councilmember Traci Park, who represents the area, called the issues stemming from the encampment "just absolutely outrageous."

"All of what was allowed to go on without any kind of intervention from government officials — that ends today," Park told FOX 11.

The encampment has been the center of a number of sanitary and ecological issues over the years. In one instance, a homeless woman scooped human feces into a bucket from the nearby porta potty before throwing it on a woman just trying to help. Others have been arrested for stealing an elderly woman's car. Her neighbors ended up spotting the car at the encampment and stole it back.

SUGGESTED: Playa del Rey residents fed up with parked RVs damaging 'environmentally-sensitive' habitat

Hoses from the RVs have drained human waste from the vehicles' dump tanks into the environmentally-protected Ballona Wetlands, home to hundreds of species including the endangered El Segundo blue butterfly.

"All of this is garbage that is going to end up in our marsh," Park said. "Our storm drains and our ocean if we don’t stop and pick it up, and if you don’t say enough is enough."

Park has also decried what she called "the crime and the drugs and the overdoses [and] the violence" from the area, among other issues. Lucy Han, President of the non-profit Friends of the Jungle said that there were several "meth dealers that had meth labs in their RVs, and there would be explosions and fires," including a fire in March 2020 that burned five acres of the protected wetlands.


Park was elected to LA City Council's 11th District in November, on a platform that promised to clean up LA's west side, something advocates like Han have been fighting for for years. The plan is for the area to be cleaner than it was before the encampment took root. After several months of homeless outreach — with some accepting services, others declining — Park and her team completed Phase One of the cleanup by the end of July. So far, about 1,000 feet of the encampment has been cleared, and temporary barriers and chain-link fences have been put up.

"Just last week when we were here beginning this project, three stolen [ATMs] were recovered from this area," Park said. "This could have been done sooner. It should have been done sooner."

Cleaning up the rest of the encampment is expected to take at least a few more months. Park said she's also launched the Jefferson Trail Rehabilitation Project to restore the sensitive habitat and beautify the area.