The Los Feliz Neighborhood Council (LFNC) received an award May 18th from the Los Angeles Dept. of Public Works, recognizing the council’s efforts to beautify the neighborhood—including by initiating a new series of hour long monthly community cleanup sessions.
The LFNC conducted their first such cleanup May 4th, focusing on the area surrounding Vermont Avenue’s post office—a longtime source of blight in the neighborhood, which several residents and community leaders had identified as a top priority for cleanup.
“The post office has been a magnet for trash for years, which is odd considering how lovely the surrounding area is,” said five-year Los Feliz resident Ian Gunn. “It’s so nice to have a great walking community with a post office, restaurants, and businesses. I’m glad that issues like this are getting addressed before it becomes a larger problem.”
According to LFNC Environmental Affairs Committee Co-Chair Debra Matlock, the council organized the recurring cleanup as a response to requests from Los Feliz residents after the city discontinued its Clean Streets Challenge, which the LFNC had participated in annually.
According to Heather Johnson with the city’s Board of Public Works, the program was discontinued this year due to a lack of funding.
“For two years in a row, there was a cash grant prize for neighborhood councils who participated in the Clean Streets Challenge. We didn’t have [the cleanup] this year because it was dependent on funding,” said Johnson.
But according to the LFNC’s Matlock, she hopes the council’s new monthly initiative will achieve even better results than the city’s now defunct annual cleanups, since they will occur more frequently and require a smaller time commitment from volunteers.
“You can go home, shower and still make brunch with your friends [afterwards] and feel like you really did something positive,” Matlock said.
The LFNC provided trash bags, gloves, rakes, and brooms to 23 volunteers, who collected a total of 27 bags of green waste and trash in just under an hour.
Matlock said she credits the high volunteer turnout to the LFNC’s extensive social media outreach promoting the event.
“Our social media outreach got us so many volunteers, including a professional gardener who brought all of his tools. Our senior lead LAPD officer came by to help pull weeds. A couple who were gardening enthusiasts brought pruning tools and expertise, and [one] resident … brought her own trash grabber. It was great to see everyone working together and making friends with each other through this shared experience,” said Matlock.
And while Vermont Avenue is looking much cleaner thanks to the volunteers’ efforts, according to Matlock, “the cleaning up part is only half of it.”
“Meeting random residents walking by [during the cleanup], chatting with them about what we’re doing and how they can help next time is a big part of generating interest and enthusiasm for getting involved in your neighborhood,” said Matlock.
Future cleanups will take place on the first Saturday of each month. To volunteer or suggest which areas should be cleaned up next, contact