Business went on as usual Friday in Canyon Country. Hungry locals sat down for a hot meal at Micheladas Mexican Grill, gentlemen conversed over haircuts at Canyon Country Barber Shop and quick errands were made at Joe’s Liquor.
But at one point during the day, customers and employees stopped their daily routine to look over at the mobile home park that has been sitting worn out and abandoned for about six months, according to multiple eyewitnesses.
Some even cheered after learning that a section of Soledad Trailer Lodge was being demolished before their eyes, among them a resident of the area for more than 20 years, along with Joe’s Liquor owner Joseph Haddad. The pair had stepped outside the shop momentarily to look over at the park, which is only separated by a wall from the business.
“Great on demolishing this,” said Haddad. “It’s got to get cleaned up. It’s got to get mowed down so you can see across this property. You can’t have the things that are happening in there happen, especially in our town.”
Haddad described illicit activities happening in the abandoned park, and at least one trespassing case where a person robbed Joe’s Liquor and “ran in there and disappeared.” The store owner said the park’s condition is detrimental and costing him customers.
The problem, he said, is that law enforcement does not go inside each one of the units, “where these things are happening. They only patrol around the area.”
Lt. Ignacio Somoano with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station said the station is not aware of any reported criminal investigation nor do they know of the condition of the property.
“If deputies are driving through the property regularly, they are taking a proactive approach to abate any criminal activity commonly associated with abandoned properties,” he said.
Barbers at the Canyon Country Barber Shop, in the same center as Joe’s Liquor that is adjacent to the mobile home park, said they recall several “good people” living there just six months ago when the park started to show signs of abandonment.
Several other neighboring businesses said residents left the area and dangerous activity arose soon after around five or six months ago.
On the west side of Soledad Trailer Lodge is the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles, Santa Clarita service center. Corri Richard, a support specialist with the organization, said, “We moved here in May 15, 2018. Since then, we watched the entire area deteriorate. We’ve seen drunken people and homeless individuals.”
She is among a handful of people who had heard the park was going to be taken down and turned into new housing, but “we haven’t seen any activity. It’s just become an incredible eyesore.”
While conditions have not been ideal for the neighboring locations, she said, the Santa Clarita Girl Scouts crew has responded to the local homeless community, some of whom have stayed in the mobile home park, by providing meals and cookies to those in need.