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At the 2016 FoLAR Fandango Friends of the Los Angeles River unveiled the Lewis P. MacAdams River Champion Award, a tribute to members of the community and entities that have supported the organization for the past thirty years of L.A. River advocacy and revitalization. The honorees represent the passionate and diverse community that has made river restoration a major priority for the communities on the Los Angeles River.


Frank O’Brien

One of FoLAR’s earliest board members, Frank’s whip smart intelligence and gusto for community organizing have been vital to the quickened pace of the past, present, and future of downstream River restoration.

Bladimir Campos

By matching local needs with City resources and coordinating the delivery of services to solve problem after problem and issue after issue, he has consistently demonstrated his commitment, passion, and love for his work and quality of life.

Harry Chandler

Founding and current Chairman of the Board of RiverLA,  Harry Chandler is passionate about revitalization the River and the lands its touched.  Harry is an artist living in DTLA.  Formerly, he was an internet, publishing, and television executive. He also produced 8 movies for television.

The Council for Watershed Health

At the 2016 FoLAR Fandango Executive Director Wendy Ramallo accepted the award on the Council for Watershed Health’s behalf. With over 15 years experience of organizational leadership, she is recognized in the Los Angeles community for strategic partnership building with government agencies & community organizations.

Jim Danza

Jim Danza has championed rivers for two decades focusing on river restoration and preservation, including the Los Angeles and Santa Clara Rivers.  He is currently a board member of Friends of the Santa Clara River.  He also volunteers with the Sierra Club wilderness basic training for backpacking.


At the 2016 FoLAR Fandango was Director of Content Juan Devis, a creative leader in public media, accepted the award on KCET’s behalf.  Devis is currently the Director of Content for the largest independent television network in the United States, KCETLink

Ceci Dominguez

As a resident of Elysian Valley for 43 years helped plan and establish Marsh Street Park, Jardin Del Rio (community garden) and Marsh Skate Park. Appeared with Lewis in the Cornerstone Play Touch the Water and currently serves on the Cornerstone Theater Board.

Robert Garcia

Robert García is a civil rights and human rights advocate. He engages, educates, and empowers communities for equal justice, human dignity, and equal access to public resources. He is the Founding Director and Counsel of The City Project, a non-profit legal and policy advocacy team in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Mayor Garcetti was an original member of the Ad Hoc LA River Committee, met with President Obama numerous times about the LA River, and led the charge to promote and adopt Alternative 20. Deputy Mayor Barbara Romero, who spent more than a decade with the MRCA, accepted the award on his behalf at the 2016 FoLAR Fandango.

Arthur Golding

Along with Dorothy Green, Arthur was one of the founding board members of what is now the Council for Watershed Health. As a watershed advocate who pounded the pavement on behalf of a renewed cornfield, Arthur has served as the Council’s President and a board member for twenty years.

Joan Greenwood

Served on FoLAR’s Board from 1995 through 2001. Widow of John Gailey, another strong advocate for the L.A. River during FoLAR’s formative years.   Together, they brought FoLAR’s vision to the attention of Long Beach elected officials and communities along the nine-mile stretch of the River in Long Beach.

Heal the Bay

Interim president Stephanie Medina accepted the award on Heal the Bay’s behalf at the 2016 FoLAR Fandango. A former board chair, Medina brings a unique perspective to Heal the Bay’s mission as a native Angeleno and lifetime resident of the San Fernando Valley.

Sean Hecht – UCLA Law

Working with his great friends FoLAR board member Charles Eddy and Lewis MacAdams to write and pass SB 1201. This watermark legislation forever changed the way that the LA County Department of Public Works goes about its business in reopening the River to the People of California for kayaking and fishing.

Christian Kasperkovitz

Christian, also the artist known as Elkpen, is the eyes of the River. She’s given FoLAR its look. Christian has told the River’s story in just thirty-eight feet, designing the exterior of the LA River Rover, FoLAR’s mobile education museum.

Leo Limón

Riding along the River alone on his straw basket bike, Leo sprayed cat heads onto the River’s storm drain covers with his rusted Krylon paint cans. The first artist to symbolize River rebirth, he now teaches kids how to contribute to the beauty of our urban waterway.

George Mihlsten

Perhaps the most powerful land use attorney in Southern California, George has guided the evolution of FoLAR’s goals and strategies for more than a decade. George was instrumental in convincing NBCUniversal to invest $13 million to study and create a plan for a bike path connecting Studio City to Griffith Park.

Gary Lee Moore

The youngest City Engineer in the history of LA, Gary was among the earliest advocates of LA River transformation. Along with City Architect Deborah Weintraub, Gary wrote the request for proposals for the LA River Revitalization Master Plan, the first to look at removing concrete from the River’s channel.

Dr. Carol Armstrong

For years the Doctor has spread the good word of the LA River. Every ounce of enthusiasm and commitment to the cause of the River originates in Dr. Armstrong’s fevered brow, from her work at LA Riverworks to her continued support for Team River.

Lauren Bon

Lauren is a rare combination of artist, activist, and visionary ecologist, whose “Not a Cornfield” project created a community gathering place that would become LA State Historic Park. Among her current projects are La Noria, a waterwheel which promises to bring its angelic waters closer to the heavens.

U.S. Congressman Alan Lowenthal

During his two-decade tenure as a city council member and California legislator, Congressman Alan Lowenthal’s dedication to common-sense bipartisan solutions earned him a reputation among his colleagues and constituents as one of the most respected and effective legislators in both Long Beach and Sacramento.

Senator Kevin de León

Kevin de Leon was one of the first to get a Rivie, FoLAR’s prized award for river champions before the dawn of Fandango. Kevin paved the way with the emerging Latino presence on the River in bridging the divide between the Westside environmental movement and the Latino community.

Irma Muñoz

Founder and president of Mujeres de la Tierra a non-profit focused on healing La Madre Tierra which has benefitted under-resourced neighborhoods of color since. currently serving as chair of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy & Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board.

North East Trees

Arborist Aaron Thomas accepted the award on behalf of Northeast Trees at the FoLAR Fandango. Aaron manages their programs that train local youth in environmental stewardship, and their environmental restoration programs have had an invaluable impact on restoring the River’s ecosystem and saving youth through hard work and fast music.

Grove Pashley

A resident of the Frog Town in Elysian Valley with a home next to the LA River. He’s been a professional entertainment photographer since 1990, and is currently working with a number of Hollywood television production companies.

Senator Fran Pavley

Native Angeleno, spent 28 years as a public school teacher. First Mayor of the City of Agoura Hills. Elected to California State Assembly in 2000. Elected to the California State Senate in 2008.

Tom LaBonge

Tom was the first person to take his fellow politicians down to the River and continues to be one of its greatest champions. An original member of the LA City Council’s Ad Hoc LA River Committee, Tom saw the potential of the cornfield when it was just an inactive railyard.

Ed Reyes

As a Northeast Los Angeles native, Ed P. Reyes was influenced by the river’s presence as his sanctuary in his formative years. As Council Member, Reyes worked to revitalize the river corridor by arranging the first $3 million dollars to initiate the Los Angeles River Master Plan in 2002.

NRDC – Joel Reynolds

Since 1980, he has specialized in law reform litigation, arguing cases on behalf of environmental and community organizations at all levels of the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, and has led several of NRDC’s largest campaigns. He has twice been selected California Attorney of the Year.

Bruce Saito

Played an instrumental role in monitoring the River’s water quality, providing logistical support for cleanups, and making history with the River’s first kayak program, “Paddle the LA River”. Acknowledging his legacy, Governor Brown appointed Bruce to head the California Conservation Corps.

L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis

Supervisor Solis has been a strong advocate for riverside communities, fighting for greater open space and parkland as part of Measure A efforts. Her continued support for LA River projects has brought about greater flood protection, transit integration, and possibilities for environmental restoration.

David de la Torre

Native of Elysian Valley and persistent voice for the people of this riverside community. Head of the Elysian Valley Neighborhood Watch, he’s worked to integrate the community into River restoration efforts and represent the diverse needs of its residents with projects like the Jardin del Rio Community Garden.

Toyota Financial Services

Toyota has been an instrumental partner of FoLAR’s, not only with their outstanding staff volunteerism, but also their continued support of numerous education and community programs like the Great LA River CleanUp. FoLAR is proud to honor Toyota as their one and only corporate River Champion this year.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The Army Corps’ ARBOR study is a crucial element to ongoing LA River restoration efforts and established an ecological activist presence for the Corps. The same day that the River was reclassified as a navigable waterway, Brigadier General Mark Toy started working as the new head of the Army Corps’ LA District.

Sean Woods

Sean Woods is the Superintendent of the Los Angeles Sector for California State Parks. Superintendent Woods has worked with California State Parks (CSP) for the past 15 years with the primary responsibility of implementing CSP’s Urban Strategic Initiative in Los Angeles.