Los Angeles Audubon Society looking for a new home
After decades of operating in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, the Los Angeles Audubon Society has been evicted by the city, which plans to bulldoze the building housing the society’s office during a park renovation.
The Los Angeles Audubon had an office and bookstore in the Great Hall/Long Hall building, a community center built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.
The group, a chapter of the National Audubon Society, was evicted in November.
The Great Hall/Long Hall building will be removed as part of a planned $41-million renovation of Plummer Park and will be replaced with park space.
The Los Angeles Audubon currently is looking for a new location for its headquarters, and the members of its office staff -- including two full-time employees -- are working out of their homes, said Travis Longcore, the group’s president. The group’s library, as well as a specimen of the now-extinct passenger pigeon, are now in a storage unit in Los Angeles.
“It’s certainly been a blow to our chapter and the historic role of our chapter,” Longcore said. “It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that the Los Angeles Audubon is without a place.”
West Hollywood had offered the Los Angeles Audubon its office space at no charge since the city was incorporated in 1984, continuing Los Angeles County’s longtime agreement to provide free space, according to Sam Baxter, West Hollywood’s director of human services.
West Hollywood has offered to let the society use city facilities for meetings but cannot provide a permanent office because of limited resources and a high demand for space, Baxter wrote in an email.
The Los Angeles Audubon has seen much change throughout its decades in the park, Longcore said.
From the 1940s through the early 1980s, the group was headquartered in the Plummer House, known as the oldest house in Hollywood, until it was moved from Plummer Park to the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas.
The society for decades ran a gated bird sanctuary in Plummer Park, but it was removed in the 1990s, to the lament of its members, Longcore said.
Now, the chapter is trying to move through another “tough transition,” Longcore said.
“The overwhelming feeling I get from people in the chapter -- and there have been people dedicated to this chapter for 40, 50 years -- is a feeling of profound disappointment and loss at the end of an era,” Longcore said.
-- Hailey Branson-Potts
Photo: Members of the Los Angeles Audubon Society search for birds on the middle jetty by Ballona Creek back in May. They were on a bird-a-thon to try and identify as many species as possible. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times