all photos courtesy of Liz Saidkhanian
The storm drain under I-8 that connects the canyon to San Diego State University
Residents at the July 28 Del Cerro Action Council meeting voiced concern about people trespassing in their yards to go to Adobe Falls, which is in a canyon south of homes and north of westbound Interstate 8. They spoke about fire risks and graffiti sprayed on rocks and in the storm drain beneath I-8 that connects the canyon to San Diego State University.
Rock-colored paint a possible-solution?
Land in the canyon owned by the university is closed to the public. University representatives attended the meeting where residents offered solutions ranging from covering graffiti with rock-colored paint to creating a park through a land swap between the university and the City of San Diego.
Jay Wilson, action-council secretary, said the university owns about 32 acres. The city owns approximately 4 acres that is designated open space and is adjacent to the Adobe Falls Road cul-de-sac. Caltrans “is responsible for a portion of Adobe Falls,” Wilson wrote in a July 23 post on the council website.
The amount of university land was said to be 42 acres when I first reported on Adobe Falls in July 2014. Wilson wrote in his post that he requested “a map of the entire Adobe Fall area,” and it will be posted on the website.
Residents also discussed concerns at a June 23 action-council meeting focused on a June 12 home invasion and Adobe Falls. The intruder reportedly murdered one woman and sexually assaulted another woman in a home on Mill Peak Road, a street near Adobe Falls Road. (According to news reports, police arrested Eduardo José Torres, and he pleaded not guilty on June 14 to felony charges that included murder, assault, and torture.)
Wilson’s post about the June 23 meeting stated there was discussion about the city acquiring university land “for the purpose of maintaining Adobe Falls and adding viable trails through the area for everyone to safely enjoy an expanded open-space park.”
At the July 28 meeting, Wilson said the land was a gift to the university and couldn’t be sold, so “we’ll look into transferring it to the city.”
Nicole Borunda, university community relations manager, said “material is on the way” for an eight-foot-tall chainlink fence that will be installed to block canyon access at Mill Peak Road. Fencing will have quarter-inch links that are “not as easy to climb or cut,” she said.
Discarded paint cans at Adobe Falls
San Diego State police lieutenant Ron Broussard said officers have made 141 canyon checks since June 1. During that time, Del Cerro residents made 56 calls for service. Broussard said campus police worked with the San Diego Police Department, and 16 citations were issued. These included “four for marijuana.” In addition, two vehicles were impounded.
Residents’ comments ranged from a man saying, “You guys are there almost every day” to another who said, “Kids play a cat-and-mouse game. They leave” when patrols arrive, “park somewhere else, and come back.”
A woman asked how many citations were issued to students. While Broussard didn’t have that information, he said, “Officers talk to a lot of people who are travelers” who said they learned about Adobe Falls on the internet.
Borunda said “every single incoming student” is required to attend a forum where SDSU community resource officer Mark Peterson tells them “not to go into Adobe Falls.”
As for graffiti removal, Wilson said permits from the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board are required.
He also read a report from Liz Saidkhanian, director of outreach for District 7 city councilman Scott Sherman's office. It stated that city representatives recently met with university and San Diego Police Department representatives.
“This was the first of many meetings, and we are still investigating all options for this site.”
Saidkhanian said Sherman’s office is scheduling a meeting with the police department and the city attorney’s office to “see if there are any other options for securing the city’s entrance off of Adobe Falls Road and how we can ticket trespassers.”
Furthermore, residents established an Adobe Falls Committee consisting of Wilson and six other residents. Mike McSweeney, action council treasurer, said committee duties will include interacting with agencies that meet to discuss Adobe Falls.