Two Paul Walker fans stood on a sidewalk in Valencia Thursday, looking at the ground and at the place where a violent car crash claimed the actor’s life four years ago.
Nothing about the scene suggested the stretch of Constellation Drive where they stood was a shrine.
Gone were the heaps of flowers, clusters of candles and the signatures of fans scribbled on the pavement and the curb and on the stump of the tree.
The two fans – before they got into their yellow convertible Mustang – were visiting Germans who were in Santa Clarita on work.
Neither spoke much English, but few words were needed to convey the respect they held for the actor.
“Paul Walker,” one of the men said, giving a thumbs up sign. “We know him.”
Walker, 40, star of the popular “Fast and Furious” action movie franchise, and his friend Roger Rodas, 38, were killed when the Porsche driven by Rodas smashed into a light pole and tree and then burst into flames Nov. 30, 2013, near Rye Canyon Loop.
A badly damaged tree in the crash, cut down to a stump soon after still bears testaments left by fans and their signatures. Coins were found on the stump and around it, as if at least in some cases, money was thrown out of cars driving by the site.
Similar markings scrawled with black felt markers were found on another nearby stump. Again, coins were found on it and around it.
Constant tree-cutting, brush trimming and the painting over of written testaments left on the curb have made it difficult to discern the actual pinpointed location of the crash.
Why the cleanup?
“The City does not have an official position on the Paul Walker shrine,” City of Santa Clarita spokeswoman Carrie Lujan told The Signal Thursday.
“We do remove items in the right away after a respectful amount of time has passed.
“We reach out to the family members to see if they would like the items that were left,” she said.
About 6,000 people converged on Valencia for that first memorial, jamming traffic around the crash site where the two men died and forcing traffic to be re-routed.
The overwhelming turnout soon turned into an automotive parade after law enforcement, anticipating the crowds, turned streets in the area into one-way thoroughfares.
A large influx of people, in response to a memorial organized by fans on social media, brought an unprecedented number of people into the valley for a spontaneous gathering, officials had said at the time.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt