Los Angeles City Council Celebrates Third Annual LA River Day


CITY HALL - Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell shined the spotlight this week on the collaborative efforts to improve, preserve, and revitalize the Los Angeles River, as well as bestowed the honor of LA River Hero to Lewis MacAdams, during a special City Council presentation.

Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, Chair of the City’s Arts, Parks, and Los Angeles River Committee, praised the work City staff is doing on his key initiatives to restore the river as well as protect neighborhoods. Since taking office in 2013, O’Farrell has worked to establish a permanent revenue stream that will allow the City to improve infrastructure, restore habitat, help clean up brownfields, and provide a more livable community, including the production of low and moderate income housing.

“We have a collective goal  to restore, to the greatest extent possible, natural elements of the Los Ángeles River,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “The many communities along its 51- miles and beyond deserve this investment, for it is the place that brought our ancestors together centuries ago. This is our river, our city, our resource and it has given us so much. Now it is time to give back, and what we will get back in return is invaluable and worthy of the world class city we strive to be.”

During the event, Councilmember O’Farrell shared his appreciation for the City departments who are committed to making the LA River a world class destination for active and passive recreation and habitat restoration. O’Farrell thanked the Bureau of Engineering, the Bureau of Sanitation, and the Department of Recreation and Parks for their partnership.  The Councilmember was also joined at the event by several river partners on the local, state and federal level.

“The collaborative efforts of the Los Angeles River family are more important than ever ,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, who is working on the federal level to identify funding for river restoration. “I ask every member of the Los Ángeles River family to join me in working with the communities that line the river banks south of downtown to bring the same benefits of restoration, revitalization and economic opportunity that other communities will enjoy. This approach will be a win- win for Angelenos and for visitors from across the country and around the world.”

Colonel Kirk Gibbs of the United States Army Corps of Engineers was also at the event to speak about continuing efforts to improve the Los Ángeles River.

“We recognize the critical role we have in balancing our responsibilities among increasing interest and recreational opportunities along this great river and we’re committed to partnering with the city, the county, and non governmental agencies to combine effective flood damage reduction, habitat restoration, and recreation in an urban area,” said Colonel Gibbs. “I’m especially pleased to see the city and core Los Ángeles River Ecosystem Restoration project continuing to move forward.”

Lewis MacAdams, who is known as the Godfather of the LA River and founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River,  was honored with the LA River Hero award. During his acceptance speech, he reflected on the many people who have served as river stewards over the last 30 years.

“We’re now planning the next thirty years for the Friends of the Los Ángeles River and the River itself,” said MacAdams.

The full City Council presentation is available online here.  

Councilmember O’Farrell serves as the Chair of the City’s Arts, Parks, Los Angeles River Committee, and hosts the annual LA River Day event each year.