A Living Landmark for Over 70 years, LA’s Main Waterway Is Garnering New Attention

Revitalizing the LA River

Ask a random Angelino for their hot take on the LA River and you’re bound to get wildly different responses. For my mother, it was a way for her father to get around town while avoiding freeways, driving his Chevy truck at an angle along the embankment. For me, the river was home to the famous River Cats, painted along the waterway and visible from the I-5 northbound toward Glendale. For my son, the river is an afterthought; a concrete artery that only roars to life when the rains come down in February.

The 51-mile river stretches from the San Fernando Valley down to the Port of Long Beach, and depending on where you encounter it, the river can manifest itself as a thin trickle no wider than a footstep or an overgrown marsh flourishing with urban wildlife. At the moment, a major restoration effort is underway on the section that runs north of Downtown and into Frogtown; a billion-dollar endeavor overseen by famed architect Frank Gehry, whose local works include the Chiat/Day building in Venice and the iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall.

You can read a full story on the river and check out a beautiful photo essay here.