LA River 51-mile master plan update underway

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The 51-mile flood control channel that is the L.A. River is the topic for this week's Newsmakers.

The river runs through 15 cities but is overseen by the county. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, 1st District, was joined by architect Frank Gehry, of Gehry Partners.

The 88-year-old renowned architect is serving as a unpaid consultant on the master plan. When asked why he'd volunteer for the project, Gehry said he's lived in Los Angeles since 1947 and "I grew up architecturally here."

Solis said the river master plan hasn't been updated in 20 years and it was time to think about recycling, conservation, recreation and cultural experiences. She said it could be about 18 more months before there's a new plan and communities will have a chance to voice their opinion.

There will be different plans for the lower and upper river and areas in between - about 155 potential projects in all.

Gehry discussed the concept of bridges and parks over the river. He talked about capturing enough floodwater that it could finance the projects.

Gehry said there is little chance that all the concrete can be removed. He said the only way to do that, would be to widen the channel for the expected flooding.

"I think you have to take the river channel as a flood control project, what its needs are. Ignore it at your peril," he said.
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