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L.A. Audubon Society booted from its park perch

After decades of operating in West Hollywood’s Plummer Park, the Los Angeles Audubon Society has been evicted as part of a controversial $41-million park renovation.

Los Angeles Audubon for years has had an office and bookstore in the Great Hall/Long Hall building, a community center built by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. Now it’s all slated to be bulldozed to clear the way for added green space.

Los Angeles Audubon is now looking for a new headquarters, and employees — including two full-time staffers — are working out of their homes, said Travis Longcore, the group’s president. The group’s library has been packed up and put in storage.

“It’s certainly been a blow to our chapter and the historic role of our chapter,” Longcore said. “It’s hard to come to grips with the fact that the Los Angeles Audubon is without a place.”

Los Angeles Audubon has been operating out of the park since 1937 and has kept its headquarters in the park since the 1940s, according to the Western Tanager, the society’s newsletter. The group, which has more than 2,100 members, still holds its regular meetings and evening programs at the park and elsewhere.

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West Hollywood has given Los Angeles Audubon office space at no charge since the city incorporated in 1984, continuing Los Angeles County’s longtime agreement to provide free space to the group, according to Sam Baxter, West Hollywood’s director of human services.

West Hollywood has offered to let Audubon use other city facilities for meetings but doesn’t have the resources to offer a permanent office, Baxter wrote in an email.

Los Angeles Audubon has seen much change throughout its decades in the park, Longcore said.

From the 1940s through the early 1980s, the group was headquartered in the Plummer House — said to be the oldest in Hollywood — until it was moved from Plummer Park to the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas.

The society ran a gated bird sanctuary in Plummer Park for decades, but it was removed in the 1990s, to the dismay of members, Longcore said.

Now the chapter is trying to move through another “tough transition,” he said.

“The overwhelming feeling I get from people in the chapter — and there have been people dedicated to this chapter for 40, 50 years — is a feeling of profound disappointment and loss at the end of an era,” Longcore said.

hailey.branson@latimes.com


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