What was really weird was the absence of crackters. It must be a result of law enforcement crackdown on selling copper and aluminium wire. There use to be quite a contingent of folks with barely operating vehicles and three wheeled bicycles. Usually with the side of someone's mobile home or a car radiator. That would yield just enough dough for a hit o crack.
And the days of the "steel pile" are gone. Steel being a relatively cheap metal, they used to just throw it onto one big pile and let it rust. Maybe twice a year, a big crane came in to scoop it up and send it to Berkeley. The artists type (like me) loved the steel pile because the metal was all rusted and had character. And it was mighty dangerous to be climbing on the pile but how else are you gonna feel so much like a kid again?