City Council to discuss closure of Parnell Park on Monday
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect a new meeting date and time.
WHITTIER — The Whittier City Council has scheduled a special meeting Monday where they will consider a proposal to temporarily shut down Parnell Park.
The public meeting is set for Monday, Jan. 6, starting at 5:30 p.m. with closed session. The council is expected to reconvene at 6:30 p.m. for a public discussion.
Councilwoman Cathy Warner proposed that Parnell be closed after a woman died at the park on New Year’s Day. Corinna Megan Ortega, 22, died of a suspected drug overdose.
“The death on New Year’s day of the young woman at Parnell Park was tragic and unnecessary,” Warner said. “As we now know she actually lived a few blocks away with her family but chose to visit Parnell Park daily to participate in drug use with homeless individuals. Paul Ramirez is correct in stating that the addicts and vagrants at Parnell park are simply unaware of the dangers they’ve assumed and Monday’s death is a wake up call to the City of Whittier to act and to act quickly.”
In a Facebook post, Councilman Henry Bouchot said closing Parnell Park “isn’t a solution.”
“It’s not going to solve homelessness or drug addiction,” Bouchot said. “It’s only going to move these problems from one part of town to the other. If we’re going to clear any encampment, we need a plan and it needs to be done legally.”
Warner’s proposal came before reports of a possible shooting at the park. Officials said a man driving a Cadillac Escalade confronted residents of the encampment early Sunday morning and may have fired a gun after a physical confrontation.