Manzanar Committee Calls On Huntington Beach City Council To Act To Preserve, Protect Historic Wintersburg

The congregation of the Wintersburg Presbyterian Church, March 8, 1910.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Wintersburg Presbyterian Church

LOS ANGELES — The Manzanar Committee, sponsor of the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage since 1969, along with the Manzanar At Dusk program, for the last 21 years, calls on the City Council of the City of Huntington Beach to act to preserve and protect the site of Historic Wintersburg, which is currently threatened by the proposed sale of the land by Republic Services, Inc. to Public Storage.

Historic Wintersburg is the former site of a late 1800’s Japanese American farming community which was named as one of America’s Most Endangered Places in 2014, and as a National Treasure in 2015. Both designations were made by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

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The View From Manzanar

Mary Adams Urashima, who is leading the fight to preserve Historic Wintersburg, the site of a former Japanese American community in Huntington Beach, California, attended her first Manzanar Pilgrimage and Manzanar At Dusk program on April 25, 2015, and was visibly moved by what she experienced. She graciously agreed to share those experiences with us here.

Mary Adams Urashima (in red), shown here during one of the small group discussions at the 2015 Manzanar At Dusk program, April 25, 2015,
at Lone Pine High School in Lone Pine, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/Manzanar Committee

If you don’t want to change your perspective, don’t go to Manzanar.

The road to Manzanar is breathtaking. The foot of the Sierras has the sort of terrain travelers stop to photograph, snow-dusted peaks and painter’s clouds. Highway 395 passes through 19th century California, pioneer mining towns with western false front buildings straight off a movie set. It’s a beautiful drive away from California’s urban coast and into the big empty.

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LADWP Clinging To Old Model For Building Infrastructure: It’s Time For A Mindset Change

We continue to get letters opposing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s proposed Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch, a 1,200-acre solar energy generating facility that would be built adjacent to Manzanar National Historic Site, in California’s Owens Valley. In this letter, Mary Adams Urashima, Chair of the Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force, provides a strong argument against the LADWP proposal.

Mary Adams Urashima, Chair,
Historic Wintersburg Preservation Task Force
Photo courtesy Mary Adams Urashima

December 20, 2013

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Environmental Planning and Assessment
111 North Hope Street, Room 1044
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Re: Southern Owens Valley Solar Ranch Project Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR)

I urge you to consider alternatives to the installation of a large solar array in the Owens Valley, near Manzanar, a heritage site on the National Register of Historic Places. Please do not certify the draft EIR and declare it inadequate in its analysis of the cumulative impacts and project alternatives.

Cumulative Impacts

The draft EIR does not adequately consider state and national impacts with the loss of historic and cultural resources relating to Manzanar and the Big Pine Paiute Tribe of the Owens Valley.

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Proposed Solar Ranch Near Manzanar: Another Threat To Japanese American Historic Sites

Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey
spoke out against LADWP’s proposed
solar farm near Manzanar at a
meeting in Downtown Los Angeles
on November 16, 2013.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Ellen Endo/Manzanar Committee

by Bruce Embrey

LOS ANGELES — After decades of annual Pilgrimages, lobbying and finally, an act of Congress, the Manzanar National Historic Site was created in 1992. The first of ten War Relocation Authority concentration camps built to incarcerate more than 110,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, Manzanar became the first site of conscience that tells the story of this shameful chapter of American History.

But not even ten years after the grand opening of the visitor’s center at Manzanar National Historic Site in 2004, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) wants to build a 1,200-acre, 200-megawatt industrial solar facility within a stones throw of Manzanar. This industrial energy plant is widely opposed by many in Owens Valley, including the Big Pine Paiute Tribe, the Lone Pine Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, the Owens Valley Committee, and other concerned organizations, individuals and businesses. All have called for LADWP not to build the power plant next to the Manzanar NHS.

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