ELF Quarterly Updates

The main project for CRSP’s Ecological Revolving Loan Fund the past few years, and anticipated for the next several years, is the re=development of the quarter acre Song property, an old auto shop and café which CRSP acquired in late 2016.  We are retrofitting the property for  a variety of co-op oriented uses.  Below are quarterly updates to our lenders starting December 1, 2016.

March 1, 2018

Greetings valued ELF lenders and friends,

It’s been an eventful few months! Amongst the workshops, CCLR (Center for Creative Land Recycling) webinars, clearing, cleaning, planning, bidding and design, Lois had a death in her family and was in Florida for two weeks.

Work on the property continues. Though we have cleaned out literally buckets of stuff, there is still piles of old brake pads, gaskets, sound equipment, office equipment, books and unrecognizable plastic and metal bits of all sorts. We intend to have it all cleared out for lead and asbestos remediation in the coming month.

There is still some large and valuable auto equipment to get rid of as well. Of three lifts, one is gone at a fair price, considering the purchaser came and broke it all down and hauled it away themselves! The air compressor is gone as well. The tire changer remains. All items are up on E-bay and craigslist, and I am daily interacting with prospective buyers.

Now to some really interesting stuff! We have held two workshops in the garage, led by LAEV associate Jim Bledsoe, to experiment breaking down hydrocarbon residuals on the auto shop floor with oyster mushrooms. We are not aware of any others doing this kind of work here in Los Angeles. Hopefully, our results will be able to influence regulations, and help other neighborhoods with inexpensive remediation strategies.

Our engineering firm BuroHappold continues to be among our heroes, along with Architect Ian McIlvaine. Last month, B-H hosted the first of several design meetings to discuss the many sustainability options. For example, a black glass pane on the exterior south wall of the auto shop to trap cold and hot air for heating and cooling.

BuroHappold structural engineer Patti Harburg-Patrich-(left) and intern Channel check out 1930 café wall for structural integrity

BuroHappold structural engineer, Patti Harburg-Petrich, joined by her intern Chanele, walked the two buildings last week to gather further information for retrofitting. Their work gets us a step closer for interim uses of the buildings!

All of this fits into the ever evolving phasing matrix, which I initially developed, and BuroHappold’s Team Leader Gideon Sussman took to the next professional level with input from several of us. Please let me know if you’d like a copy.

After all this exciting news, here is the frustrating news: The L.A. County Assessor’s office rejected our request for a property tax appeal on the grounds that we are not currently using the property to further our public interest purposes. Once we have more workshops and classes happening, we will try again. Our request for a property tax exemption was also rejected on grounds that we did not have a current Organizational Clearance Certificate from the State. We will be continuing to pursue the necessary process for these tax advantages.

We’d be delighted to hear what your visions are for the property. As always, please feel to contact us with any questions or concerns that may come up. Also, please let us know if you’d prefer to get your interest checks annually instead of quarterly, in which case, we would still send you updates.

Questa Gleason CRSP Special Projects Coordinator


Dear Lenders and Friends,

About working with the US-EPA:

Well, our year-long engagement with the US-EPA came to a close in late October with their three final reports:

  • a Phase II Targeted Brownfield Assessment (TBA) 100 page report completed in July which we wrote about in our September update to you
  • an Analysis of Brownfield Clean-Up Alternatives (ABCA), a 43 page report completed in October
  • an Appendices to the Phase II TBA of 149 pages completed in April

We felt like we had enough info and a number of interested and dedicated folks to create a brownfield grant writing team, including a professional grant writer, a former employee with the EPA, a few with comprehensive science backgrounds, and several of us with a good history of the site, good writing skills, plus lots of good contacts for garnering support for a US-EPA Brownfield Clean Up grant.

So, without a lot of thought or initial homework, our team came together and decided to go for a $150,000 grant for our Project. Our decision was made in mid October. The deadline loomed at a very tight November 16. The 71 page long Grant Guidelines were intimidating. So it took the next few weeks to get a handle on understanding how to respond to the Application, and we were already more than a month behind since the Guidelines had been released in early September.

Some exciting meetings with our grant writing team followed, and we were putting together a lot of resources for the proposal: commitments for letters of support from a dozen organizations, including the California EPA, the City’s Brownfield program, our Council office, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations; demographics, pollution issues in our neighborhood, and more! Wow! We were cooking.

We were learning about the contaminants inside the buildings and in the soil and what their potential effects could be on human health. We were beginning to envision being a resource for other disadvantaged polluted neighborhoods, several of which have been reported on in the mainstream media the past few years. Imagining that our experience and experiments with soil contaminants would give us increasing expertise that we could then share with other disadvantaged neighborhoods to do their own contaminated soil remediation. We knew that additional public funds may be drying up in coming years. There have to be viable alternatives! And our growing expertise could be one of them!

The big day of the Grant’s required Public Meeting arrived: November 11th, less than a week before the deadline, but the earliest we could manage to get it together enough to conduct such a meeting. A public notice was sent out about the meeting to a thousand people in ours and nearby zip codes and flyers posted on the property and on our two blocks, face to face invitational discussions with adjacent school principals were made, and meeting flyers in Spanish and English handed out to the parents who walk their kids to school.

The public meeting did draw about 25 people, and our good neighbor, AnaPaul Noguez Mercado with AntenaLA, provided interpretation for Spanish speaking neighbors. But, the three day Veterans holiday pretty much killed attendance for lots of other folks.

Each of our eight grant writing team members made a brief presentation or played an essential role in the public meeting. Together, we publicly chronicled our vision for the project, and what we planned to do about the contaminants before we could substantially manifest that vision. We answered and recorded questions and comments from the participants, as required by the grant guidelines. Our presentations focused on remediating the contaminants inside the buildings (lead, asbestos and PCBs) in a fairly quick and conventional way. We decided that it would be these contaminants that we would seek the US-EPA grant monies for. And we would look for other monies for remediating the soils.

Together, the team felt strongly that the soil remediation should be done using plants, trees, microorganisms, mushrooms and other on site phyto-technologies. The US-EPA’s ABCA did not support this alternative, so we didn’t feel it worthwhile to include these technologies in the grant proposal.

After the crunch of preparing for the Public Meeting, when I finally got to read so much of the back and forth emails among our amazing grant writing team, I realized that without at least 3 or 4 of us being on a 24/7 schedule working on this for the next four days, there was no way we would even meet the Grant’s “Threshold Criteria,” And, if that didn’t happen, there was no way the Agency was going to look at anything else we had to say in our proposal.

That night I finally took a look at the bids for removing the contaminants inside the buildings, and, by golly, they were a pittance compared to what we were planning to ask for in the Grant! Plus the Grant was going to require us to put $20,000 of our own money, and it didn’t appear that the removal of these building interior contaminants would cost more than that. When, just a week or two earlier, we were still considering including the soil remediation in the Grant proposal, $150,000 made a lot of sense based on the ABCA’s estimated costs that included soil removal. Now, however, it became clear that our month’s effort on this proposal was a huge success in putting a committed team together in a hurry, learning a lot, and becoming clear that money is great, but being true to our values and our vision is more important. I concluded it was time to halt the effort on this US-EPA proposal.

The calls I made that night and Sunday morning to each of the seven other team members were heartening. Each was glad we had worked together the preceding month, and looked forward to our next grant writing project. Everyone on those calls also had enthusiastic ideas and actions to share. From contacting local college and university graduate programs in Environmental Science, to taking our “dog and pony” show on phyto-technologies for remediating contaminated soils to Neighborhood Councils and other civic organizations throughout the City, to setting up a consulting team on phyto-remediation of soils. Over and over again, I heard “Nothing was wasted; we learned so much!”

And Other Happenings:

So, in addition to that, architect Ian McIlvaine has worked on some renderings showing potential locations of the hostel in the rear yard of the property,  a new ELF loan came in, Questa has been drafting a Gantt chart showing phasing of the project, we had a professional survey done on the property so architect Ian McIlvaine could begin to proceed with accurate drawings, and our friend Jim Bledsoe is proceeding with a micro experiment using mushrooms to remediate the hydrocarbons accumulated in the southwest corner inside the garage.

About your quarterly interest checks: Several of you have still not deposited your interest checks from September. Please let me know if these are lost or not received, or just that you haven’t gotten around to it. Also, let me know if you’d prefer to have your interest checks just once a year instead of quarterly. If so, we’ll still send you quarterly updates. Much appreciate your responses on this.

Open Invitation to you all ELF lenders:
As many of you know we have veggie potluck dinners every Sunday evening from about 7 to 9pm. Please feel free to join us on any Sunday. Call me if you plan to attend, so I’ll be sure to be there.

Los Angeles Eco-Village to celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2018:
Stay tuned for celebratory activities, and let us know if you’d like to be on our planning committee.

Thanks everyone for your continuing support.

Love, Lois


Update on your ELF loan for September 1, 2017

Greetings! Things are moving along now, but, as usual, ever so slowly. Here’s Questa again to give you the update below. We are excited to share this with you on the one year anniversary of several of your loans. We are delighted to report that nearly all of you whose loans were for one year, have requested that the term of your loan be changed from “due in one year” to “annual review.” But, do keep in mind, it will not be a problem at all, should any of you request the return of your principal prior to the term on your agreement or the annual review next year. Let us know if your need arises. Also, if you have friends familiar with LA Eco-Village who might be interested in making a socially responsible loan to ELF, please share info with them or refer them to our website for more info on ELF: www.laecovillage.org under the <CRSP> top menu item. Gratefully, Lois.

Dear ELF Lenders,

Report on first events on the new property, June 17th: Tri-Board gathering, but first… Although the auto shop is almost completely cleaned out, there are still a few large pieces of auto equipment, several shelves of small auto parts in the office and a pile of miscellaneous junk adjacent to the shop outside. Feel free to make a date and come by to take a look if you think you might be interested in having any of it for a junk sculpture (it’s perfect for that purpose!) or other re-purposing.

The Tri-Board (CRSP, USTU, BVCLT) social gathering at the new property with lenders, USTU community members, friends and neighbors was an unquestionable success! About 30 attended, including 8 of you, our lenders. There were countless opportunities for connections and cross pollination between the groups. For those of you who were unable to attend, we created a five-dot survey for participants to prioritize their favorite potential interim or permanent uses of the space (assuming, at that time, that housing was a given). The most popular items and the number of dots each garnered are as follows:

  • Vertical organic hydroponic farm – 18 dots
  • Event Venue – 16 dots
  • Fair trade coffee (Un-Gentrified) – 11 dots
  • Music lesson studio and Tiny House Village – 10 dots each
  • Seedling plant nursery, Place based school – 8 dots each
  • Art Gallery, Veggie café, Bike shop, Used book store – 7 dots each
  • Food co-op bulk bins – 6 dots

Several of these potential uses are not mutually exclusive. For instance, a veggie café could also accommodate an art gallery, fair trade coffee, and bulk bins.

The CRSP Board will be continuing to explore these and other options using a planning process that will generate input from the community and neighborhood. One idea, discussed below, is an eco-hostel instead of a permanently affordable cohousing development.

In the interim, we opened the space once more on July 27th for James Rojas’ internationally renowned and award winning “Place It” workshop! Nearly 60 people attended the event which was co-sponsored by the LATCH Collective and the “You Are Here” Meet-up Group. Watch for photos of the event on our LA Eco-Village blog.

US-EPA Phase II Targeted Brownfield Assessment (TBA), scoping document and remediation direction.

The results from this report are in. In summary, the property is below the contamination levels for commercial/industrial uses but too high for residential uses. There is asbestos in both roofs, lead paint and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB’s) in the light ballasts. In the soil, there is lead and other heavy metals, diesel, chloroform and ethylbenzene. While all of this sounds pretty dire, it is actually much better than we had hoped for. In fact, we believe that if we chose to use the site only for commercial ventures, conventional clean up could be as short as 2 months and relatively affordable! Let us know if you would like to see the full report.

Christian Arnsperger’s Perma-Circular talk and the Emergence of the Eco-Hostel concept. On July 19th, Swiss Professor of Economic Anthropology Dr. Christian Arnsperger, graced our lobby for a talk on L.A.’s Perma-Circular Future. Earlier results on the Phase II TBA were beginning to make our vision for permanent housing look longer, more costly, and more difficult to move forward on bio-remediation with plants and mushrooms. Lois had been thinking about an appealing alternative use for the property. Then, inspired by Christian’s talk, Lois had an epiphany. Concept: a cooperative eco-hostel! Members would be other ecovillages, intentional communities and academic institutions in the U.S. and abroad. Although other prominent ecovillages around the world sponsor immersion programs, they are all rural. An eco-hostel could use the existing buildings, be remediated to the more lenient commercial standards, and provide an urban sustainable living immersion program to visitors and academic groups from throughout the world. Our USTU members and colleagues have a wealth of knowledge to share, and a curriculum would not be difficult to develop. This direction would not preclude the possibility of permanently affordable cohousing in some future scenario. And, incidentally, we are happy to report, about 600 units of affordable housing are already slated for development within about one-quarter mile of LAEV, and probably more planned that we don’t know about yet.

CRSP board meets with BuroHappold’s LAEV Engineering Team. We reported on BuroHappold, an international engineering firm specializing in sustainability, in our last update. Since then, a team of four BuroHappold engineering staff, were selected by their corporation’s internal grants process to provide volunteer engineering services to our new property! The team, led by Gideon Sussman, met with the CRSP Board last month, and we were inspired by their visionary thinking. It promises to be an exciting partnership, and they have indicated their early support for the eco-hostel concept.

International exposure.

Our dear friend and lender from Singapore, Sarah Ichioka, is curating an L.A. Eco-Village exhibit in Seoul this month at the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism. For other media about L.A. Eco-Village, current and past, visit our blog https://laecovillage.wordpress.com/category/media/

CRSP board expansion CRSP is currently in the process of expanding its board of directors and re-establishing an Advisory Board of prominent people in the urban sustainability and co-op worlds. If you are interested in being considered for either, please forward your bio to Lois and call her to discuss. If you have recommendations for candidates, please pass them along.

Please continue to feel free to join us here at the Village any Sunday evening for our veggie potluck dinners at 7pm. Let us know if you plan to attend, so we can be sure to meet you here.

Again, we are grateful for your continuing support. Stay tuned. And best wishes for a safe Labor Day weekend.

Questa Gleason CRSP Special Projects Coordinator

June 1, 2017

Re:       Update on your ELF loan

Greetings dear lender-friends,

Let me introduce you all to Questa Gleason who has been helping out on a variety of CRSP activities, but especially on the Raisin’Songs auto shop project. She’s among our newest Urban Soil-Tierra Urbana housing co-op members in the big building adjacent to the auto shop. And her balcony looks out over the entire south side of the corner property, so she provides extra security as well. I asked her to write this update. I hope you enjoy it and get a chance to meet her in person soon.



Dear ELF Lenders,

First and foremost, please SAVE THE DATE and keep a lookout for an email invite to a social event on the RaisinSong’s property at 3554 W 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90004 on Saturday, June 17 from 11am to 3pm. We would love to see all of you there! There will be food, fun and friends!

Oh my god there’s going to be a party! What does this mean, you may ask. It means that things are moving right along. Though it’s been an arduous process, there have been significant changes on the property since the last lender-friend update, a mere three months ago!

The US-EPA’s sub-contractor, Weston Solutions, spent a few days here doing their core drilling, collecting soil, gas, groundwater and air samples. With the completion of the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment actual testing, we expect to receive some preliminary results within the next two weeks. As we wait for the final report, we’ve gotten some great news: the geophysical survey utilizing magnetic and electromagnetic instruments to determine if there were any underground storage tanks from the gas station that was there in the 1920s/1940s came up negative!  This is great news, and means we may be able to utilize the property much sooner than we had originally thought.

Some of you may remember the issues with trash, graffiti, and inoperable vehicles on the property described in the last update letter. While CRSP did pay one fine to the L.A. City Building and Safety Department, we were determined not to pay another. With the help of our dear friend Joselyn Geaga-Rosenthal, we were able to establish two time extensions from the Building and Safety Department for getting rid of the vehicles. Graffiti is now being reported to 311 almost daily. The city comes and cleans it up within 3 days. Trash is also being picked up almost daily, by me personally, and sometimes by Lois. And new ownership signs have been posted in English and Spanish.

In addition, it’s bittersweet but a major win nonetheless – (drum roll please) – the inoperable vehicles plus the moldy camper shell are gone! Two amazing members of the LATCH collective (www.latchcollective.org) tiny house advocacy community, disabled veteran and mechanic extraordinaire Jason and his wife Taylor, spent several days here sorting through what appeared to be an endless sea of car parts, advising on what is useful and what is recycling, and carting away about a ton of scrap metal. In exchange for this invaluable help, Jason and Taylor hooked the inoperable RV to a hitch and hauled it away. They will be using it for their own tiny house with their service dog Lady.

The camper shell went to a lovely couple who are also with the LATCH collective, Mario and Siara. Our local architect/handyman Jim Bledsoe spent something along the lines of 5 hours getting it on the back of Mario’s truck. It was quite a saga.

The bittersweet news is that the step vans (think of a FedEx or food truck van) are gone. While we had wanted to do something creative with them, a constituency of Eco-Village members agreed that if we wanted tiny homes on the property, we had all the in-house knowledge we needed to create something much more interesting than what the vans could provide. Lois and I still saw potential in them, but the deciding factor came from the CRSP Board of Directors who sent the word out to get rid of them and avoid further fines and potential struggles with the city. We tried to give them away to a tiny house advocate or to any other friend or ally, but, in the end, we called a tow company and had them taken to the junkyard. End result, they are gone and the outside yard is practically cleared!

Now the really exciting news! Thanks to Lois’ tenacity, Jason’s mechanical know-how, and the help of countless others, the inside of the shop is practically cleaned out! When I first walked in there several months ago, it looked the exact same as the last day of business as an auto shop. All of the machines still sat there, and the shelves were completely full of parts, tires, dust and oil. I thought we should hire someone to clean it out, but Lois persisted, and I am proud to say that approximately 2 to 3 tons of scrap metal, tires, odd sized plastics, oil, and trash has been disposed of in an environmentally sensitive way. The next step is a power wash, some air filtering plants, a solid airing out and a PARTY!

While it is still likely that some bio-remediation will be needed, we are excited to begin considering proposals for revenue generating interim uses of the property. There are many diverse ideas on the table including (but not limited to) an open air market/mercado, thrift/consignment shop, farmers market, office space, bulk organic foods outlet/co-op, art gallery, book store, computer repair, bike shop, yoga studio, plant nursery, healing arts studio, juice bar, vegan or veggie cafe – any of which would be implemented in a way that is non-gentrifying.

Lastly, I’m delighted to report that our friends at BuroHappold Engineering (www.burohappold.com) volunteered to review and advise on the structural issues of the small café on the property. Thanks to their Associate Principal and structural engineer Patti Harburg-Petrich, we have strong direction for retrofitting this historically significant 1930s café. Our CRSP Board President, architect Ian McIlvaine (http://tierrasolymar.com/) is reviewing our next steps for retrofitting the Café.

Please continue to feel free to join us here in LAEV any Sunday evening for our veggie potluck dinners at 7pm. Let me or Lois know if you plan to attend, so we can be sure to meet you here.

We are grateful for your support. Stay tuned. And best wishes,

Questa Gleason

March 1, 2017

Re:       Update on your ELF loan

Hi dear lender friends,

Things continue to move along and still slowly.

Some of you early lenders will be pleased to know that four more loans came in after we closed escrow on October 7th, 2016. Currently there are three more under consideration. So the count as of today is 25 loans for this project totaling $665,000.

We were delighted to learn that the US-EPA has approved our application for completing the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment. That work is scheduled to start this Friday, March 3rd with a geophysical survey utilizing magnetic and electromagnetic survey instruments to determine if there are any underground storage tanks from the gas station that was there in the 1920s/1930s. Further work by the US-EPA contractor will include core drilling into the soil to collect soil, gas, and groundwater samples as well as any air emissions inside the two buildings to determine if the site is impacted at concentrations that may pose a risk, considering our planned uses.

So that’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is that the L.A. City Building and Safety Department received a complaint about the property, did an inspection and cited CRSP for untidiness, graffiti and inoperable vehicles on the site. And, I was guilty as charged. Unfortunately, I had not put up an attractive sign stating CRSP is the new owner with contact information, and a rendering of our planned redevelopment. I was also tardy in getting a regular clean-up and graffiti removal schedule going. That might have avoided the complaint to the City, and brought it directly to me for corrections. So, CRSP paid the $356 Building and Safety Department fine to avoid further penalties. We are now picking up trash on the site daily; put some potted plants along the rear yard fence and building, and are arranging to have regular graffiti removal done. And, I hope to have a nice sign up on the property in the next few days.

But the exciting possibility is that the two inoperable RVs and two inoperable flatbed trucks make perfect raw materials for transforming them into beautiful works of art for a tiny house village in the rear yard of the property and/or other uses we may want them for in the future. We are currently partnering with the LATCH Collective and their coalition of groups in the LA area. The group of tiny house organizations is rapidly expanding into an advocacy coalition toward local policy makers and legislators to legalize tiny backyard houses, and tiny house villages, whether stationary or on wheels. For more info on this coalition, see http://latchcollective.com/ and especially learn about their upcoming events this weekend.

Obviously such regulations could go a very long way to increase affordable housing in our city without having to put out the average $400 per square foot for new multi-family construction to meet all of the City’s needs. Many complain that there is no land for such tiny house villages. Hmmm? Just ask me. Thousands of acres are potentially available, even within the densest parts of our City.

So it will be a bit of a challenge in the next few weeks to persuade the Building and Safety Department to refrain from penalizing us any more if the four inoperable vehicles are not removed by their deadline of March 9th. Some I have sought advice from on this issue, including the CRSP Board, would prefer for CRSP to just get rid of them. If any of you have a way to store them until they can be used by tiny house developers, let me know.

Meantime, I met with two local mushroom bio-remediation advocates last weekend; L.A. Eco-Village resident Federico Tobon and friend Kat Cheng. We discussed the potential of creating the public demonstration for remediating our potentially toxic soils with plants and mushrooms. And, then, as if on cue, Radical Mycology founder and author Peter McCoy (www.radicalmycology.com) contacted me this past Monday to inquire if we would host his three day LA workshop on mushrooms this Fall! An enthusiastic yes! I said.

I also recently met with representatives from the Los Angeles Trade Technical College from their automotive training program. They plan to return to the property with a truck to remove many of the automotive materials that they can use in their training programs.

Lastly, I’m delighted to report that our friends at BuroHappold Engineering (www.burohappold.com) have volunteered to review and advise on the structural issues of the small café on the property.

Please continue to feel free to join us here in LAEV any Sunday evening for our veggie potluck dinners. Let me know if you plan to attend, so I’ll be sure to meet you here.

We are grateful for your support.

Stay tuned.



p.s. For some of you, this will be your first interest check. Feel free to check the arithmetic. Here’s how your interest was figured: The amount of your loan times 1.5% interest, divided by 12 months, times 3 months plus number of days at the daily rate in a stray month that was not included in the full quarter. For example, if your loan was for $5,000 deposited on September 12, 2016:

5,000 x 1.5% = 75 / 12 mo = 6.25 x 3 mo = 18.75 + 6.25 for Oct + 6.25 for Nov + 19days for Sept x .2083 = $35.21

FYI and for clarity, our payout quarters start on 12/1, 3/1, 6/1 and 9/1.

December 1, 2016

Re:· Update on the Auto Shop Property Purchase

Dear ELF lenders and friends,

Things are moving along, but slowly.

Some of you are receiving your first interest check enclosed. Hurray. Others of you will receive your first interest check on March 1, 2017.

As you all know by now, we closed escrow on October 7th.

  • It was a fun day with Mr. Song, the now former property

owner, showing several of us around the shop and little cafe: how to get in, how to turn on the lights, operate the security system, the lifts, etc. Thanks to L.A. Eco-Village resident Carrie Lincourt, who took a few fun videos of this “closing day” tour, you will soon have an opportunity to view them.

Our Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was completed as needed before the closing. That report recommended : that we have a Phase II ESA, because we learned that there was a gas station on the property from 1925 to 1942.  We have applied to the US-EPA Southern California Region #9 for financial assistance for the Phase II and the remediation plan, if necessary.  We are still awaiting word on that.

Meantime, I attended a talk by mushroom expert Peter McCoy a few weeks ago and purchased his amazing new 650 page resource book Radical Mycology. As I have mentioned to several of you, if we do have to do remediation, we will handle as much of it as possible with plants and mushrooms which have been effective in remediating a variety of hydrocarbons and heavy metals. This may take longer than just hauling toxic dirt away, but the important point is to demonstrate’ that we have to reinvent how we live in the City such that there is no “away.” We have to heal the places where we are!

Several Eco-Village/Urban Soil members are advocating strongly that CRSP re-open the small cafe on the west side of the property, formerly known as the Teriyaki House. The 12 seat diner has enormous potential as a veggie cafe. Nonetheless, the Building Inspection report indicated that the 1930 building is very vulnerable from a structural perspective. So we will be taking a closer look at what it will take to make it safe. Meantime, we will be in search of a knowledgeable co-op oriented neighborhood based team to manage it.

‘Please continue to feel free to join us here in LAEV any Sunday evening for our veggie potluck dinners. Let me know if you plan to attend.

We are grateful for your support.

Stay tuned.




Opportunity To Be Part of Los Angeles History – August 14, 2016

Lois Arkin

Lois Arkin

I am contacting you because of your interest in the work of Los Angeles Eco-Village (LAEV) and your interest in the journey to reinvent how we live in our cities. The main project of CRSP for the past 25 years has been the two block LAEV demonstration neighborhood where the social, economic and ecological components are being systematically connected, resulting in a higher quality of life at a much lower environmental impact.


Our accomplishments include:

  •  50 units of permanently affordable ecologically and permaculture-oriented cohousing
    LA Eco-Village Bimini Apartments

    LA Eco-Village Bimini Apartments

  •  Incubation of new green co-op oriented organizations and businesses, including the Bicycle Kitchen, Cafecito Organico, the Food Lobby, Pacific Electric Worker Co-Op, Relampago Wheelery, the LAEV Family Childcare Service, Urban Soil-Tierra Urbana Limited Equity Housing Co-op, and the Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust.bc162d67-289d-41d0-b2a6-e6249983df7dLAEV intentional community members also helped start or grow CicLAvia, the LA County Bicycle Coalition, the Los Angeles Permaculture Guild, the Arroyo Seco Network of TimeBanks,, and the multi-school White House Place Learning Garden. and last, but not least, the CRSP Ecological Revolving Loan Fund (ELF).

And that last item, the ELF, is a major reason you are receiving this note today. We’re growing the ELF and invite you to be part of it.   Here is the Who, What, Where, Why, and How to be Involved:

Who:  CRSP, the initial nonprofit development organization of LAEV, is in escrow for the quarter-acre auto repair shop and Teriyaki House on the north corner of the LAEV neighborhood at First Street and Bimini Place, adjacent to our largest building.

What: We plan to redevelop the site as the first new construction CAR-FREE mixed-use, permanently-affordable, ecologically-sensitive, culture-changing cohousing co-op community in Los Angeles.  It’s been 70 years since Los Angeles has had a car-free development.

Why:  In spite of billions of public dollars put into our rapidly advancing transit systems, the public is still trapped in auto congestion and gridlock. (Car sales have never been better.) Someone’s got to step in and say “enough already, NO MORE CARS” but also provide an alternative. We’ve decided to meet the challenge. We invite you to come along with us for the joy and excitement of “being the change” our Earth, our Nation, our City so desperately needs.

How you can be involved:

  1. Loan money to our ELF for the corner acquisition. At 1.5%, we’re paying interest rates competitive with your saving accounts. And you’ll know where your money is and the good it is doing. We’re seeking up to 35 loans from $5,000 to $100,000. Ask Lois to send you the two page Prospectus or the longer Draft Property Analysis, Purchase and Development Plan. Visit our website to view the ELF fact sheet and draft loan agreement.
  2. Join the “culture change” team. Are you an anthropologist, sociologist, psychologist, health and wellness advocate, urban planner—professional or amateur—interested in how society changes? Want to help make the change happen? Come brainstorm and plan with us. Join the “culture change” co-op team. We’ll be meeting in person and on-line. Let us know if you want to be a team member or coordinator.

     3.  Become a future member of the car-free cohousing community. Keep in mind that we are within walking distance of two subway stops and 20 bus lines, with another major transit amenity planned for Vermont Avenue. If you or your up-to-three-person household falls within very low to moderate income guidelines, start saving now with ELF for your share payment in the future cohousing limited equity co-op. You’ll be invited to participate in the design and to form community with future neighbors. Your savings will be refundable if you do not become a member of this co-op. Contact Lois for other qualifying criteria.

We are scheduled to close escrow October 8th, 2016 (yay! we got an extension from September 8th), and we have commitments of $600,000. Will you be among the 35 people who help double that in time for the closing and beyond? All three of our multi-family buildings have been acquired by this same method, without bank loans. We invite you to take advantage of the opportunity to make this the fourth!

Thanks for reading and being part of the future.

Lois Arkin
Founder, Executive Director

117 Bimini Pl #221
Los Angeles CA 90004

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117 Bimini Place #221
Los Angeles CA 90004