City begins removing planters installed by Los Feliz residents at site of former homeless encampment

LOS FELIZ, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- City workers began removing concrete planters that residents of a Los Feliz neighborhood installed along a street after a homeless encampment was finally cleared in hopes to prevent people from coming back.

Before it was cleared last month, the stretch of Berendo Street near Hollywood Boulevard was an encampment that police said was a gang-run, drug-dealing hub.

Residential security cameras captured vandals tagging homes and gunshots when deals went south.

"Residents on this block have been vandalized numerous times with gang tagging. I've had a knife pulled on me, telling me to stop talking to the press and to police," said one resident who asked that we not use his name.

EMBED More News Videos

A Los Feliz homeless encampment police said was a drug-dealing hub has been cleared. But what has replaced the tents is causing a new set of problems for some residents.

Once the last of the encampment residents moved out, residents were quick to install the planters on the sidewalk where the tarps and tents had previously been set up.

"All they want is to leave (American Disability Act) access here so anybody can pass, but also be able to plant something, to have something beautiful here and have no more crime," said one neighbor at the time.

However, the city showed up on Monday to remove them, saying residents did not have the proper permits to place them there.

Many neighbors are livid with the city and the area's representative, Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman.

"You're here to help us, not work against us...You're here to remove planters but you let all these neighbors suffer for one and a half years. This is beyond madness. Wake up, wake up. Help us," said Tanja Damha.

Los Feliz encampment: Homeless camp or drug dealing hub?
EMBED More News Videos

Los Feliz residents who live near a homeless encampment say the city continues to treat it like a group of unhoused people -- when it's actually a drug dealing hub run by the La Mirada Locos street gang.

According to a spokesperson with the city Department of Public Works, permits are needed for anything that blocks access to the sidewalk.

"In the specific case of the Berendo Street planters in the Los Feliz area..., after receiving a complaint from a member of the public that approximately 20 planters had been installed there, it was determined there was no permit for the installations," a statement read.

Violation notices were sent out twice before crews showed up on Monday.

They removed three planters and the rest were blocked by area residents, leaving the city to figure out its next step.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.