Pico-Union, Los Angeles, California: Wikis


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The intersection of Pico and Union
Pico Union street scene
Angelica Lutheran Church

Pico-Union is a district in Los Angeles, California. Its name derives from the intersection of Pico Boulevard and Union Avenue. "The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) officially adopted the name in 1970, when it launched a neighborhood renewal program that continues to this day. In the 1980s, the area became a major point of entry for Salvadoran and Guatemalan immigrants seeking refuge from civil war," according to the Pico Union Self-Guided Walking Tour, published in 2009 by the Los Angeles Conservancy.[1]



The Salvadoran Civil War caused many Salvadorans to immigrate to North America. Many settled in Pico-Union.[2]

Geography and Transportation

Pico Union, a sub-district of the community of Westlake, is bordered by South Park on the east, West Adams on the south, Harvard Heights and Koreatown on the west, and the north part of Westlake on the north. Its boundaries are Hoover Street on the west, Olympic Blvd. on the north, the Harbor Freeway on the east, and the Santa Monica Freeway on the south. Principal thoroughfares include Washington, Venice, Pico, and Olympic Boulevards, Union Avenue, and Alvarado and Hoover Streets. The district lies within ZIP codes 90006 and 90015.

The Neighborhood

Alvarado Terrace

Pico Union is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. Once predominantly white and (prior to World War II) heavily Jewish, it is now primarily populated by first-generation Hispanic immigrants, particularly Mexicans, Guatemalans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans. Nearly 50% of the population is believed to be living in the United States illegally, but as Los Angeles is designated a sanctuary city, many of the undocumented are somewhat protected. In many places, Pico-Union resembles an East Side neighborhood, with busy industrial concerns frequently adjoining residential properties. A number of Korean businesses, priced out of Koreatown, have also established themselves in the district. Most of the district lies within the Rampart Division of the Los Angeles Police Department, and is plagued with high crime. Several transnational gangs, most notably the 18th Street Gang and Mara Salvatrucha ("MS-13"), were started in the neighborhood and maintain a strong presence.

A Pico Union House: HCM #86--Powers Residence on Alvarado Terrace

Nevertheless, as of 2008, Pico Union may be in the beginning stages of gentrification. Although the core of the neighborhood is still impoverished and somewhat dilapidated, the area's western and eastern fringes are beginning to see residential development. Near the Harbor Freeway, development in downtown Los Angeles--especially the South Park area around Staples Center--is expanding into Pico-Union, while the areas around Hoover Street are beginning to be incorporated into something of a "Greater Koreatown."

Pico Union became the city's 19th Historic Preservation Overlay Zone on August 10, 2004. It contains two historic districts listed in the National Register of Historic Places: South Bonnie Brae Tract Historic District and Alvarado Terrace Historic District. HPOZ Map

One of Jim Jones' Peoples Temples was located in Pico Union, at the corner of Alvarado Street and Alvarado Terrace[3].


La Curacao Department Store
The New Rampart Police Station

Pico Union occupies U.S. Census tracts 2242, 2243.10, and 2243.20. Per the 2000 census, the district has a population of 8598. Racial breakdown was 2.2% white, 3.8% black or African-American, 1.4% Native American, 1.7% Asian or Pacific Islander, 59.4% some other race, and 5.6% two or more races; 92% of all races were of Latino or Hispanic ethnicity. Per capita income was $9273; 45% of individuals were below the federal poverty line.

Many people living in Pico-Union consisted of immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua and their children.[2]


Loyola Law School, part of Loyola Marymount University, is located on Olympic Boulevard near the northern edge of Pico-Union.

The successful La Curacao Department Store is located at 1605 W. Olympic Boulevard at Union Ave.

Pico-Union is adjacent to the new LA Live development.

Toberman Park and the Salvation Army Red Shield Center are also in Pico-Union.

Government and infrastructure

Local government

  • The community is represented in the City Council by First District Councilman Ed Reyes.

County government

The Los Angeles County Department of Health Services operates the Central Health Center in Downtown Los Angeles, serving Pico-Union.[5]


Tenth Street School
Pico Union Branch Library: 1030 South Alvarado Street

Primary and secondary education

Public schools

Pico-Union is in the Los Angeles Unified School District.[6][7] The community is in the Board of Education District 2,[8] represented by Mónica García as of 2008.[9]

Elementary schools serving Pico-Union include 10th Street Elementary School (in Pico-Union, 1-5), Norwood Elementary School (K-5, south of Pico-Union), and Olympic Primary Center (K, north of Pico-Union).

Berendo Middle School (west of Pico-Union), Liechty Middle School (north of Pico-Union), and Adams Middle School (southeast of Pico-Union) serve middle school populations.[10]

West Adams Preparatory High School (west of Pico-Union) and Belmont High School cluster (north of Pico-Union, including Belmont High School, Miguel Contreras Learning Complex, Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, and other schools) serve high school populations in separate attendance zones.[11] Camino Nuevo High School, an alternative high school, also serves the residents of Pico Union. New Village Charter School. an all-girls high school, serves the area as well.

In 2006 the Los Angeles Unified School District and some union officials agreed to a proposal to develop school choice for high school students in the Pico-Union area; 10 small high schools would offer different academic and schedule choices.[12]

Private schools

Loyola High School, a private high school operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Bishop Conaty-Our Lady of Loretto High School, an all-female Catholic high school, are located west of the area.

Public libraries

Los Angeles Public Library operates the Pico-Union Branch Library at 1030 South Alvarado Street.[13] The Central Library is located just east of the Harbor Freeway in Downtown Los Angeles.

See also


External links

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