The trail area above Irvine’s Turtle Rock neighborhood has become the product of an infamous nickname over the years, as locals have dubbed the area “Suicide Hill.”
Now, according to a memo dated Jan. 28, Irvine City Council Member Mike Carroll, with the support of Irvine Vice Mayor Tammy Kim, Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan and City Council Member Larry Agran, is looking to officially name the popular Suicide Hill in Irvine.
During the Irvine City Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 9, Carroll, who lives near the area, said he was approached by residents who thought the area needed an official name, due to its popularity.
“It’s climbed by hundreds and hundreds per week, it’s a very popular hiking and gathering and viewpoint site, and maybe it may be the most cherished in all of South Irvine and maybe the entire city itself,” Carroll said. “Over the years it has adopted the name of Suicide Hill, and it was brought to our attention from residents and friends that maybe that’s a name that we can consider changing.”
Carroll also added the residents are open to retaining the name, as well.
In a phone call with Irvine Weekly, Kim said she was unaware of the origin of the name Suicide Hill, but thinks a name change would be a great way to involve the community.
“The thing is, it’s also showing up on hiking maps now, and official places,” Kim said in a phone call with Irvine Weekly. “It was a name that sort of just stuck, but it wasn’t because people killed themselves. I think the thought is that it’s time for an actual real name.”
Thanks to spectacular views at its peak, Irvine’s Suicide Hill has become somewhat of a destination – now being recognized as an official location on check-in websites like FourSquare. Navigation directions to the questionably named Suicide Hill have also been found on Reddit.
While the renaming process is currently at an informal intersection, Deputy City Manager Melissa Haley informed the council that in seeking an appropriate name, the city has enlisted the help of trial leadership in both the Gabrieleno Band of Mission Indians, along with the Juaneno Band of Mission Indians.
“[We’re working with] indigenous leader Joyce Perry. She was a part of our Native American Wing at the Portola Springs Community Center and has been involved with that process,” Haley said. “We looked to her for some guidance and we’re setting up some preliminary meetings in the coming days to further dialog about some names that would resonate for that site.”
For those unaware, Suicide Hill, as explained by Irvine Council Member Anthony Kuo, is a “townie” name for a steep set of stairs, which lead to a rock formation above Chaparral Park in the Turtle Rock community.
Despite the edgy name, Kuo said there is nothing to fear, as he recently visited the area, which was featured on a recent “Where am I Wednesday” post.
“It’s not scary, and when you get to the top, the views are incredible.”
Yet during Tuesday’s meeting, Kuo questioned if changing the name of Suicide Hill would actually persuade Irvine residents to call it something different.
“This is not a hill the city has named, this is not a hill the Turtle Rock community has named, it’s just something that has caught on for years and stuck. Are we going to be taking down a sign that says ‘Suicide Hill’? Do we believe that by changing the name or renaming it that folks who have lived in this community for decades are going to refer to it as something else?” Kuo said. “In my own personal experience, people are still saying, ‘Hey, let’s go see a hockey game at the Pond.'”