North Park Could Blend with East San Diego
(Originally published in the San Diego Reader October 10, 2012.)
On a sweltering Tuesday morning in late August, a three-man crew begins day two of the demolition of Leo’s Auto Shop at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Dwight Street in City Heights. In heavy boots, face masks, and hard hats, the workers clean up debris from yesterday’s destruction of two small houses and a garage. Today’s job will entail the razing of the rest of the structures on the property: one more small house and an open garage.
A long-contested presence at the corner of Euclid Avenue and Dwight Street, the auto shop has been considered “blight” by neighbors for many years. Fox Canyon Neighborhood Association president José Lopez claims the problems began with a Christmas party in 2008; the association first heard complaints about the shop at their monthly meeting in January 2009. In an email he explains that issues included “toxic fumes and other pollutants showered onto all the residential housing,” blocked driveways, “junk cars” on the street, and “near misses” at the corner, due to the abundance of auto-shop customers and employees.
“We see the rubble as a victory pile for the residents and the successful and productive organizing from the Fox Canyon Neighborhood Association,” Lopez writes.
Before further razing begins this morning, 50-year-old Mark Abina, who lives in the house directly behind property, asks the demo crew for one small favor: Would they be so kind as to help him save some baby birds?