- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Hollywood moviemakers took over about 250 parking spaces yesterday in Columbia Heights, forcing residents to find alternative parking during the daylong filming of a George Clooney flick.

“Having to get around that crew is a burden,” said Connie Hassan, a resident who works at a nonprofit agency. “I had to walk a block to get around it. These city blocks are long.”

Parking was restricted near the intersection of 13th Street and Clifton Terrace NW from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Witnesses said trucks began towing vehicles near the start of the morning commute.

However, D.C. officials did not respond to calls about how many cars were towed or whether motorists were fined. The vehicles were towed to a nearby street.

D.C. officials sent letters dated July 29 to residents stating that Warner Bros. would be filming a movie yesterday in the neighborhood. The letter stated that the city would “appreciate” residents not parking in areas marked “emergency no parking zones” and that the film’s location manager would attempt to find alternative parking. However, D.C. officials could not confirm yesterday whether alternative accommodations were made, and the location manager did not return calls.

“They didn’t catch us off-guard, [but] I had to walk about two blocks away from here,” said Alicia Berry, a social worker. “Yes, it was an inconvenience.”

The convoy of trailers began parking along the 2500 block of 13th Street early yesterday morning to film scenes for “Syriana.”

Mr. Clooney stars as Robert Baer in the first-person account of the CIA’s false confidence concerning the future of the Middle East after the end of the Cold War, according to the Web site Internet Movie Database, or www.imdb.com.

Matt Damon and Amanda Peet co-star in the film directed by Stephen Gaghan. Mr. Gaghan wrote the screenplay for the 2000 movie “Traffic,” which also featured scenes shot in the District.

The parking problem was compounded yesterday by minor construction on nearby Euclid Street NW that eliminated about seven more spaces until the early afternoon. A city official said the road construction likely was related to a home-renovation project. The official was unaware of the film project and the parking squeeze it created.

D.C. officials did not know whether the film crew would remain in Columbia Heights today, though Miss Berry and another resident said they heard that the crew might stay for at least another day.

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