After ’92 riots, L.A. bought land in Watts and promised jobs. Now, it’s weeds and shanties

LA Times

Juan Luis Gonzalez-Castillo shows where he lived below a manhole in a vacant field in Watts. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

The manhole cover was pushed aside, and the opening in the abandoned street revealed the scorched remains of a bed 6 feet below.

Crouched beside the hole, Juan Luis Gonzalez-Castillo described his brief habitation in the storm drain.

“One day I walked into this property and found a drain,” he said. “I opened it and it was dry. I cleaned a spider web. So I started living here.”

The manhole he called home is on a street the city of Los Angeles built on a field that was meant to revitalize a community bled of its economic base and traumatized by the 1992 riots. The road was the first step in a strategy to bring hundreds of high-tech jobs to Watts with the first industrial development in the area since the 1970s.

Publish : 2022-07-19 19:17:00

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