Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our Oakland

originally published on my home improvement blog, DIY Insanity. The post on City Homestead inspired me to write this, and then inspired me to create this blog.

Oakland - many parts, one whole

There's a great post over at City Homestead about Oakland in the aftermath of the shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer. My Oakland is different their Oakland, and was different than Oscar Grant's Oakland, but it's all Our Oakland. It's a large, diverse, beautiful city, and I love it. I'll be the first to admit that I might feel differently if I lived in some other parts of Oakland, but it's a wonderful city.

Yesterday I worked out at Habitat for Humanity, south of the Oakland Coliseum. I've been volunteering in that neighborhood for almost 14 years, but I don't really know it, and the only people I know who live there are Habitat homeowners. But slowly but surely the neighborhood is improving. Besides two large Habitat developments, there are a number of commercial developments along 98th, and just the other side of the BART tracks is a large development of Pulte Homes.

Today K and I went to some other Oaklands. A fawn died under our carport, and animal control warns on their website that living animals come first so it could be a long wait, and I didn't want to dig the requisite 4'-deep hole to bury it. So we carefully slid it into a heavy bag and took it to Oakland's animal shelter. The drive took us from Montclair, through Glenview, to the Dimond District where Oscar Grant worked, down Fruitvale Avenue to the Fruitvale District where he died. There were no signs of the protests there (the vandalism didn't start until they got closer to downtown) -- it was the same Fruitvale I've gotten to know over the last couple of years. Edis and his family live there, and I've made frequent trips to the nearby Home Depot and to Economy Lumber. It was a beautiful day, with food cooking, people shopping, the sun shining.

After the animal shelter, we went to a small shoreline park to shift gears from our grim task. Union Point Park is a little park along the Oakland estuary near Coast Guard Island, squeezed between the estuary and an industrial area. (I'd been there before because the Alameda County household hazardous waste facility is nearby.) It's home to a playground, picnic area, marina, and a distinctive viewing platform. The viewing platform is all the more interesting viewed from above, when its spiral shape becomes apparent. The park also contains the statue pictured above, Sigame/Follow Me, which reflects the diversity of Oakland by honoring various Oakland women of note. Like Oakland and her people, it's made of many disparate parts, but is one whole. Sometimes we forget that. But it's all Our Oakland.

No comments: