WHITTIER, Calif. - Whittier City Council announced that it will close and clean-up a park packed with homeless people due to concerns for public safety.
The council held an emergency meeting Monday night after receiving reports of more problems at Parnell Park on Lambert Road, most recently drug overdoses.
Young mother, 22-year-old Megan Ortega, died at the park on New Year’s Day.
“I never in my wildest thoughts thought I would ever have to deal with this,” said Ortega’s mother, Betty Thorpe. “You never think about having to make arrangements to bury your child. It just doesn’t cross your mind as a parent.”
Parnell Park used to be a place where kids played and celebrated the 4th of July. It’s now littered with drugs, needles, weapons and criminal activity. Residents say it’s a drug problem, not a homeless problem and many choose to go there so that they can do drugs instead of going home.
The council voted to give people living at the park 10 days to vacate. Then the park will close for a full clean-up.
Once it reopens, a curfew will close the park from sunset to sunrise.