Pacoima is one of the easternmost areas of the San Fernando Valley bordered to the east by the mountains of the Los Angeles National Forest. The rivers whose waters rushed down from the hills westward into Pacoima gave the area its name, which means “Rushing water” in the language of the Gabrielino Indians’ language. To the east of Pacoima sharing the range as their eastern border are Shadow Hills and Lake View Terrace. The latter neighborhood is home to the Hansen Dam Recreation Center and Hansen Dam Golf Course, which came to existence after the United States Army Corps of Engineers built the dam at that location, quieting the rushing water that gave Pacoima its name. Pacoima’s eastern border is defined by Foothill Boulevard and Glenoaks Boulevard, which form the western border of the recreation center and golf course. Pacoima’s chief southern neighbor is Sun Valley. To the west are Mission Hills, Arleta and Panorama City, and to the north are San Fernando and Sylmar.
Pacoima is home to Whiteman Airport, known appreciatively by a variation of its old name, Whiteman Airpark, by those who remember it from its formation in the mid-twentieth century as a converted piece of farm land before Los Angeles County took the airfield over in 1970 and gave it the current name in 1980. Today, the airport is one of Pacoima’s largest single-location employers and provides a number of vital services for the local public, including a home for fire and rescue aircraft and news helicopters, as well as venues for community events. It is also a base for national security operations as well as law enforcement operations. The airport employs about 246 people directly and claims a contribution of an additional 166 jobs indirectly as a result of the opportunities provided by businesses affiliated with Whiteman or providing services to the airport and its employees.
Prior to severe cutbacks and plant closures, Pacoima was a popular neighborhood to live in for the less well-off employees of the automotive and aerospace companies which operated in nearby regions of the San Fernando Valley such as Van Nuys and Burbank. Since the closure of the Van Nuys auto assembly plant and the withdrawal of various aerospace projects, however, most of the workers in Pacoima have had to seek employment elsewhere, employment that does not provide the same wages, job security, and other benefits that were provided by their previous employers. For example, another large employer in Pacoima is a famous membership big-box retail and grocery outlet. It is well known for providing a relatively fair hourly wage compared to its competitors, but a full-time position is not easy to get. Many jobs such as these place a physical toll on the employee who must do repeated tasks such as lifting, bending, and moving heavy objects around, which could lead to slowly-developing pain in, or even reduction in function of, the employee’s back, shoulders, hips, or knees, which ultimately may require some physician-recommended time off for physical therapy, a temporary reduction of work hours or alteration of work duties, or even an extended leave of absence to allow the body to recover. In such circumstances, an employer may make the decision to terminate the worker rather than make such an accommodation. Our office is about twenty-two miles from Pacoima. If you find that your employer is not making accommodations for you, or if you have been terminated due to a disability or serious medical condition, contact our office for a free review of your situation.