Sunday, July 12, 2020
Home News LA River Defender Honored

LA River Defender Honored

By Andrea Serna, Arts and Culture Writer

The Los Angeles River, infamously tamed and confined in concrete is coming back to life, one small step at a time. The improbable revitalization began thanks to poet, artist and crusader Lewis MacAdams.

This month MacAdams’ extraordinary accomplishments were recognized with a 7-foot statue created by sculptor Eugene Daub titled, Poetry and Politics. On the monument are MacAdams’ words: “If it’s not impossible, I’m not interested.”

The monument was installed in the Frogtown neighborhood of Los Angeles, officially known as Elysian Valley. The river runs through the small community bordered by 110 Freeway to the south, the 2 Freeway to the north, Interstate 5 to the west and the Los Angeles River to the east.

MacAdams, the founder of the non-profit Friends of the LA River, also known as FoLAR, points to the frog as the symbol of the river. Frogtown’s name comes from the days when red-legged frogs used to climb out of the river to lay their eggs. On warm summer evenings croaking could be heard throughout the river valley. Red crawfish used to live in that river and the last steelhead trout was caught in 1948. MacAdams may never bring back the steelhead, but his goal is to repopulate the river with the sound of frogs.

The genesis of MacAdam’s activism dates back to the 1980s when he moved here from San Francisco and stumbled across the concrete ribbon called the LA River. The poet was invited to participate in a performance festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art, called Angels Flight. As part of his performance he and two friends grabbed their wire cutters, cut a hole in the surrounding chain link fence that had defined the river as an inhospitable drainage ditch and performed something of a ceremonial unleashing of the river. He called his piece, Friends of the LA River, and a movement was born. The impossible task was to return one of the world’s most heavily industrialized rivers to nature.

Honoring the campaign to free the river, Daub moved away from his traditional bronze medium and created a statue from concrete. This is the first time he worked with that material. The statue depicts MacAdams over a relief of river flora and fauna including frogs, herons and fish. Marsh Park, the location for the installation, was renamed MacAdams Park in his honor.

The park itself is a triumph. The goal was always to ‘crack the concrete’ and return the river to the people, for recreation, environmental education and as a community space. In 2014, FoLAR built the first visitor center for the river. Affectionately referred to as the Frog Spot, it sits on the bank of the river overlooking heron’s resting on rocks and trees growing on the banks. Now, the park provides a verdant location for newlyweds to exchange vows, hipsters to knock back a beer while enjoying live music, as well as for families to take pleasure in a simple picnic. Each Saturday they host live music and recruit volunteers for their grassroots advocacy.

In April 2018, FoLAR will organize the 29th annual Great LA River Cleanup/La Gran Limpieza. In 2017, 10,000 volunteers removed 100 tons of trash from the river banks.

To be part of MacAdams visionary project and have an up-close experience with the river, volunteer at

Andrea Serna
Andrea Serna is a freelance writer and Wikipedia editor living and working in San Pedro.

Most Popular

Summer Al Fresco Dining Coming Soon

By Gretchen Williams, Dining and Cuisine Writer Life is challenging this summer, and the living is getting easier, by...

Random Letters: 7-9-20

Defunding the Police “Defunding” the police is the latest version of the same old, tired, Democrat ploy to rob...

DREAMers Get To Stay for Now

By Sarai Henriqulez, Editorial Intern Anais Franco was just nine years old when she first stepped foot on American...

Viva Pat Carroll!

San Pedro Art Community Loses Great Ally By Ron Linden, Contributor; Andrea Serna, Arts Writer; Melina Paris, Editorial Assistant

Recent Comments

Kevin on Icarus Falls
DAVID J LEE on Think: George Floyd
M Mackey on Think: George Floyd
Michael S. Motta on Think: George Floyd
Thomas "HOUSE" Houchens on Think: George Floyd
Eliath Mena on Think: George Floyd
Deidre Powell on Think: George Floyd
Marcia Ladymgirl on Think: George Floyd
Jennifer L on Think: George Floyd
Carlos Fisher on Think: George Floyd
Jose "cheMMa" Rodriguz on Think: George Floyd
Aniza Thomas on Think: George Floyd
David Seay on Think: George Floyd
Marc LJ on Think: George Floyd
andre edwards on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on From Pop Culture to Cop Culture
Sharon Hislop on Think: George Floyd
Fetteroff on Think: George Floyd
Raul Acevedo Jr. on Think: George Floyd
Mel Grayson on Think: George Floyd
Terelle Jerricks on A Virtual World of Events 
Alice r. Knoop on Lung Health Tips for COVID-19
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Joshua E Chambers on Take me to Sardine
Chad Dorchester on Take me to Sardine
Terelle Jerricks on Change Won’t Be Televised
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Melina Paris on Take me to Sardine
Bob Kohler on About
Judie M Barker on About
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Kim Kaufman on Staff
Vivian Morales on From War to Lowrider
Robin Doyno on Staff
Publisher on About
Joe Stackhouse on Advertise
Marshariki Haylock on A Stabbing in San Pedro
CARRIE MENDOZA on A Stabbing in San Pedro
Martin Palmiere EMC(SW) ret. on Trouble on the Iowa
Martin A.Palmiere EMC(SW) USN(ret.) on Trouble on the Iowa
John H Winkler on Frequently Asked Questions
J. McVey on Staff
Malou Mariano on Tampering and Collusion
Terrell Williams on The New Gap Band Fills The Gap
Alton C . Thompson, Ph. D. on About
Harold Ericsson on Letters to the Editor
Hillbinkel on Trouble on the Iowa
Ian Gordon on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
larry lebedin on KKJZ Leaves CSULB Campus
Joseph Bianco on Frequently Asked Questions
Deborah Steed on Zerby Family Finds Solace
Don Griffin on Rosenberg
Pete on About
Anne Marie Knudsen on Clem Pennington is the Whole Package
Terelle Jerricks on About
Lyn Jensen on Go Retro with Records
Steven R. Heldt on Fig Trees Are Like Democracies
Joanne Sims on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Dave Borst-Smith on Peacocks, Paseo, Politics
Charles Traupmann on The Buscaino Report:
james P. Allen on Across the Great Divide
Allyson Vought on Across the Great Divide
PBinLostAngeles on RL NEWS Roundups: June 14, 2016
davehall on Voter Guide
Chris formica Gringos Tacos on Food Truck Blues
Random Lengths News on Iowa Fever
Tinisha Rodrique on IMG_1761
polos fred perry on Less Than a Side Show
cheap soccer jersey on Less Than a Side Show
le mahjong gratuit on The Surrealness of Knives and Breast
Harry and the Gang on Sherlock Holmes at the LB Playhouse
neufert architect s data pdf on IMG_1761
sewing machine reviews on Annie at the Warner Grand