Councilwoman calls for immediate closure of Parnell Park
WHITTIER — Councilwoman Cathy Warner has called for the immediate closure of Parnell Park “until further notice” after a woman died at the park’s homeless encampment on New Year’s Day.
“Paul Ramirez is correct in stating that the addicts and vagrants at Parnell Park are simply unaware of the dangers they’ve assumed and [Wednesday’s] death is a wakeup call to the City of Whittier to act and to act quickly,” Warner said, referencing the local activist.
Corinna Megan Ortega, 23, was found dead inside a tent early Wednesday morning. Officials said she lived in the area but visited the park to do drugs.
“The death… 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.”
“Consequently, I have just sent an email to our City Manager and Mayor requesting that the Whittier City Council hold a special council meeting this next Tuesday night to discuss the health and safety situation at Parnell Park that has resulted in this young woman’s death,” Warner added. “Included in that email, I have requested that the Council discuss an immediate closure of Parnell Park until further notice in light of the health and safety issues that exist there.
“Many of us support the nonprofit organizations that exist in our area which offer services and housing to homeless individuals, however, many of the individuals at Parnell park refuse to accept housing or services. Therefore, we must act in a humane way to insure that the health and safety issues at Parnell park are eradicated immediately to protect all individuals.”