From the roof of a downtown building, nearly the entire stretch of the river can be seen, including its many miles of concrete riverbed the Army Corps of Engineers built to prevent flooding. But now designers are looking at natural ways to prevent flooding and to remove the concrete.
"We stood here because it had the very best view of Piggyback Yard, a 125-acre site where shipping containers move from trains to trucks. It's not used nearly as much as it used to be, and in a few years, it will be up for sale. The Friends of the LA River are planning on transforming it into the tongue-in-cheek Piggy Backyard, a park and mixed-use development which will offer the first truly revitalized and redeveloped portion of the river.
The most exciting part of the plans, which were revealed on that helipad, is that Piggy Backyard would actually be the age-old solution to managing those outrageous floods the 1930s engineers couldn't envision. The plan would essentially turn Piggy Backyard into a mini-floodplain by either widening the river channel, or diverting a significant amount of water into wetlands. When large amounts of water came surging downstream, it would flow freely into the greenspace, perhaps rendering some of the park unusable, but actually allowing the water to sink down into the aquifer, instead of being pushed out to sea."