Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tear it Down

Ever wonder what it's like to live next to a condemned building? Let me run it down for you.

Neighbors Leave-A year ago I had a conversation with a woman next door. She got a notice that she had six months to move out. When you first hear that you might get nervous, and wonder if you are going to become homeless. You could wonder if you could find another place in the area for the same rent. From next door, I noticed fewer cars parked next door and unopened junk mail at the doors.

Vandals Arrive-The signs start pilling up. Piles of junk mail, Phone books, no cars in the garage. One guy tags a wall with Graffiti and the word get out that a place is empty. By law, a building owner is supposed to board up a apartment scheduled for demolition. But they don't want to spend the money if they are tearing it down. I noticed new graffiti all thru the spring. The garage turned into a try-out canvas for a few B-list artists from the high school next door. On my days off, I would see truants hang out. No big deal. Abandoned apartments may be a cool hide out for kids these days. Until new tenants move in.

Homes for Homeless-I noticed graffiti outside a second floor balcony and broken glass from a front door window. A few more entered apartments and a call to the police. This part of LA is teeming with homeless persons. Once I heard laughter and a radio coming from a supposedly empty building, I knew that things were worse. Most of the units now had people living there rent free. That went on for 3 weeks.

Tear it Down-Demolition workers move in! Homeless move out. Overgrown trees are chopped down, yellow tape and notices are put up. The sounds of breaking glass and falling wooden beams. Just in time football season. I was told that it would take a week to tear it down in full. I hope to be at work when the heavy equipment shows up.

What Next-I think a developer will put up twice the units in the same space. What else?

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