Echo Park residents discuss LA Times’ gangsters-only-on-weekends story

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On February 3, 2014 LA Times published an article titled, “With gentrification, Echo Park gang members move outside their turf” and it describes how gentrification has caused an exodus of Echo Park gangs, forcing them to return to their old barrio mostly on weekends.

The story was re-tweeted and re-shared many times on social media, and got nearly 300 comments on the LA Times website itself. We were interested in what our Instagram @echoparkforums followers had to say, many of whom are Echo Park residents or nearby locals. This is the post and subsequent dialogue it produced:

@Chicano_soul initialized the conversation by joking, “Headline could’ve also read ‘Hipsters Win War On Gang Violence.'”

Here are some of the quotes from the conversation:

My fiancé is Mexican and heavily tattooed (but not in a gang) so I totally get the fight against racial profiling, but I could also do without having my garage and retaining wall tagged 5 feet high by 15 feet long every weekend. That being said, the diversity, color, and vibrancy of echo park is why I love it so much. – @allgrownsup

That’s crap it’s not just gang members, it’s Latinos who, because of high rent, have to move elsewhere. Also mom and pops businesses along Sunset are being replaced by these hipster places. That’s gentrification. – @cayanaya

I don’t mind it. – @charlesdfourth

Not all vatos were bad. – @stormcloud72

I find this absolutely refreshing. I am born and raised in Los Angeles (USC Medical Center) have lived my whole life in LA (with an exception of a year that moved to New York), I am first generation Mexican-American (both my parents migrated to the US in the 70s), I am a proud USC and FIDM grad and have seen this city transform. I am happy to see that a neighborhood once known for low income and gang violence has evolved into an appealing and more sophisticated area. Unfortunately, without increasing value/rent the neighborhood would not have evolved. I live in Echo park now and still find it affordable compared to other neighborhoods or even cities. I embrace the change, feel much safer and welcome the “hipsters”. They are responsible for this new phase. – @nadvette

I absolutely love where i live, i may not be from here but I definitely feel connected. Some old-schoolers may see me and profile me as “part of the problem” or white hipster gentrifier, but bottom line is I interact with the neighborhood everyday, whether it’s walking through the park or stopping by the juice spot and bakery or checking out a show at The Echo. It’s all about being proud of your neighborhood and acting right. So stop throwing trash in the lake! – @iseesomethingiwant

Catch the entire conversation here.

On our site, Lago and Parky also had a conversation about the issue.

Did you read the article, and if so, what do you think? Has gentrification resulted in the weekday defeat of gangs and in a better neighborhood, or is the evacuation of gangs a sign of something else?

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