Invisible Trajectories

CA Route 30 Part 1

February 4, 2006

Yesterday, we headed out to Fontana from Altadena. We stopped off at the studio in Alta Loma and then made our way down Baseline. Taking a left at Sierra, we made our way out towards Lytle Creek, the historic water source crucial to this region's agricultural history. Stopping only at a turnout to look at some of the burned vegetation from one of the last big fires, our visit was short. On our return route, we made our way back down the hill towards Highland, which had been cut off by what looks like a future extension of the 210 Freeway. We drove down the street a little ways and parked the Jeep in a nearby neighborhood.

We walked towards the I-210 and followed it as we made our way along Highland. There were numerous open spaces, fresh land soon to be developed, up against housing tracts. Some new houses appeared to be under construction. We weaved around the k-rail and made our way across empty roadways, broad stretches of asphalt open for pedestrian use. During our jaunt, we saw a few motorists try to enter our space, but none could penetrate the boundary. We kept moving, only stopping to take some photographs of traffic moving briskly on the I-210. Strolling by the sound wall, we saw the monstrous SOLO warehouse off in the distance.

We kept walking along what we thought was still Highland, but what was instead Easton. There was an immense warehouse on our right and a large trash-strewn field separated us from it. We reached the end of the warehouse, crossed the street, and walked down into what seemed to be an open field. There we came across a homeless family who had lived there for about four years. We talked with John and Paul who told us about the community of homeless living there and their struggle to survive. They told us about their battles with the cops and the addict neighbors who often stole their tents. We also learned of the police choppers that scanned the area at night with infrared.

John and Paul told us about their difficulty getting housing and work. John told us that his wife is blind in one eye, and this made things even more difficult for them. We stood and talked with them for about 15 minutes, deciding not to move further into the field. We did not want any problems with any of the less-friendly community members. John and Paul asked us to bring water if we returned, but what they both really wanted was a house and some jobs. We said our goodbyes and walked back to the Jeep.

From Easton Road, this community of homeless is invisible. Motorists move rapidly by without any knowledge of the people living out their lives just yards away. A multi-million dollar warehouse sits just across the street, and there are tracts of middle-income houses just beyond that. We will return to this secret world again in the hope that we can learn more from John and Paul. Perhaps we can help them in some way. --CW

Part 2 >