Chavez Ravine

Topics: Public housing, Affordable housing, Dodger Stadium Pages: 6 (1921 words) Published: May 1, 2007
Years ago, there was once a small town called Chaves Ravine within Los Angeles, California and this town was a poor rural community that was always full of life. Two hundred families, mostly Chicano families, were living here quite peacefully until the Housing Act of 1949 was passed. The Federal Housing Act of 1949 granted money to cities from the federal government to build public housing projects for the low income. Los Angeles was one of the first cities to receive the funds for project. Unfortunately, Chavez Ravine was one of the sites chosen for the housing project, so, to prepare for the construction work of the low-income apartments, the Housing Authority of Los Angeles had to convince the people of the ravine to leave, or forcibly oust them from their property. Since Chavez Ravine was to be used for public use, the Housing Authority of Los Angeles was able seize and buy Chavez Ravine from the property owners and evict whoever stayed behind with the help of Eminent Domain. The LA Housing Authority had told the inhabitants that low-income housing was to be built on the land, but, because of a sequence of events, the public housing project was never built there and instead Dodgers Stadium was built on Chavez Ravine. Although Chavez Ravine public housing project was the result of the goodwill and intent of the government, rather than helping the people Chavez Ravine with their promise of low-income housing, the project ended up destroying many

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of their lives because of those in opposition of the public housing project and government mismanagement.
Chavez Ravine was a self-sufficient and tight-knit community, a rare example of small town life within a large urban metropolis, but no matter how much the inhabitants loved their home, their friends and family, they had to still had to leave. Because Chavez Ravine was a relatively large piece of land with a small population , it was chosen as one of the public housing sites by the Housing Authority of Los Angeles. The area was also quite blighted, but to the community Chavez Ravine was, in its own way, a Shangri La. "It was sad because we were like a big family: My cousin, my friends, my grandma," exclaimed Genevoi Bamboa, "My grandma couldn't come with us because there were too many people." Torn from their families and friends, everyone went their own separate ways and most of them would never see each other again. This housing project forced around 200 families to leave and relocate from Chavez Ravine, and as a result, "There would be generations of family that would never get to know each other," stated Amelia Chico. There would also a generation that would never be able to see where their mothers and fathers grew up, and the house where their parents and grandparents were born because most of Chavez Ravine no longer exists and lies under a baseball stadium. "When I saw the bulldozer, I knew I was never going to go to the Dodger's games and I was a Dodgers fan," remarked Amelia Chico. When people began tearing down and bulldozing Chavez Ravine some people were still living there and had to be evicted from their own property.

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Ironically, among the Chavez Ravine residents, there were some Dodgers fans, but because of what happened to their homes and community, some of them could never forgive the government and Dodgers Stadium for ruining their lives, childhood, and homes. Many of the inhabitants were angry and resented government for forcing them off their property; they became even more distraught when the cheap housing that was promised never happened; instead, Dodgers stadium was built.

After the Housing Act of 1949, Los Angeles was given 110 million dollars for public housing programs, but there were still people who were strongly opposed to public housing. The organizations against the Housing Authority of Los Angeles which was in charge of the housing project was strong, but at the beginning of the project, there...

Cited: Chávez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story. Dir. Jordan Mechner. 2004 DVD.
BullFrog Films, 2005.
Cooder, Ry. Interviewed by Warren Olney. Which Way LA? 20 June 2005.
Cooder, Ry. "Don 't Call Me Red." Chávez Ravine. Nonsuch Records, 2005
Cuff, Dana. The Provisional City: Los Angeles Stories of Architecture and
Urbanism. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2000.
Independent Lens. "Chávez Ravine." 15 February 2007.
Normark, Don. Chávez Ravine, 1949: A Los Angeles Story. San Francisco:
Chronicle Books LLC, 1999.
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