eNews: Street Fair, Annual Meeting, and More

enews-logoAssociation updates - Laurel Street Fair, upcoming Annual Meeting, Redwood Heights Park initiative, and saving the 39th Avenue Garden.


Neighbors and friends were out in force at the recent Laurel Street Fair on MacArthur Blvd. on Saturday, September 12th. The 18th annual Laurel Street Fair ran from 11 am to 7 pm, spanning several blocks from 35th to 39th Avenues. It was a festive scene that showcased the joyous, creative energy of Oakland, with several music stages positioned along the street, featuring local musicians, drumming and acoustic groups, and dance troops. Dozens of booths stretched along the strip, featuring a wide array of vendors selling crafts, clothing, jewelry, olive oil, artwork, and many other mostly local, tempting wares. The food and drink options this year were wonderful and varied, featuring local breweries, pizza, fried chicken, Thai, barbecue, and other delicious street food. There was plenty of entertainment for families, with several rides and a bouncy tent in the Goodwill parking lot, and a very well-stocked petting zoo with a llama, lambs, small pigs, turtles, and other small animals for all ages to view, pet, and enjoy.

RHA hosted a booth at the corner of MacArthur and Loma Vista, where we posted current photos of Redwood Heights Rec Center’s park, and board members invited neighbors passing by to post suggestions for improvements and amenities they’d like to see at our park on our idea board. No idea was too big or too small. We received over a hundred suggestions from neighbors of all ages; many good ideas that could bring a greater variety of neighbors into our common area and make better use of currently neglected areas of the park.

RHA Annual Meeting FlyerComing up in October, you will have another chance to brainstorm and imagine the possibilities for our park at RHA’s Annual Meeting on Wednesday, October 4 at 6:30 pm at the Redwood Heights Rec Center. Dinner will be served, and neighbors from Redwood Heights and surrounding areas are encouraged to come, participate, and learn about our association and goals for community building.  After a welcome from RHA President Carla Gerardu-Low, our district Councilwoman and Vice Mayor Annie Campbell Washington will speak, and special guest David Clifford will lead a session in Design Thinking with all to further explore and expand on our visions for the park.

Not familiar with Design Thinking? Design Thinking is way to talk about problem-solving. It is a hands-on approach to developing solutions. If you have never participated in a Design Thinking exercise, this is a great opportunity to do so, plus you will help determine the future of our local park! It is always a lot of fun, so please join us!


One of the rewards in climbing the 39th Avenue hill from the Laurel is the garden that greets you as you reach Victor Avenue. With its plantings and orange bench, it is a welcome respite from the steep climb.
Although most don’t realize it, this garden is not a city facility, but was created by neighbors John Jernigan and Kathy Collins some years ago, to create beauty and to deter crime from continuing in the previously derelict area. Now, however, the community is in danger of losing this neighborhood amenity.


In 1997 EBMUD renovated its reservoir property near the 39th Avenue fence line, adding new trees and an irrigation line to ensure their growth. Shortly thereafter, John and Kathy began using water from this line to cultivate the garden for all to enjoy. Prior to their efforts, it was merely asphalt, and a magnet for trash and crime. Prostitution, drug dealing and dumping were frequent, and at one point a stolen car was even torched there. With time and lots of TLC, John and Kathy transformed it into a safe and beautiful place.

John, Kathy and others have maintained and expanded this sustainable garden for nearly 20 years, and both were named local heroes by then Councilmember Libby Schaaf. Recently however, the EBMUD trees have become mature enough to no longer need watering, so EBMUD ended their irrigation and the water supply to the garden.

In order to maintain the garden, several steps are necessary to reestablish a permanent water supply. We are negotiating with our Councilmember (and Vice Mayor) Annie Campbell-Washington, urging the city to claim ownership for the garden, since currently there is no parcel number or identified owner for the property, and such tenure is necessary for EBMUD to provide water. Additionally, EBMUD requires that a viable commercial-grade irrigation system be installed. This will cost several thousand dollars, and a small group of immediate neighbors (in association with the Redwood Heights Association, which has designated the garden a formal project) are reaching out to the community to fundraise for this new irrigation system.


There are two great ways we can all help save the garden: buy tickets and attend the benefit BBQ on Sunday, September 3 at the garden site (39th at Victor) from 3-7 pm, hosted by Dorothy King of Everett and Jones. For BBQ reservations and more information, contact sarah94619@gmail.com. If you can’t attend, contribute to help keep the garden alive. Make a tax deductible donation at the RHA website : www.rhaoakland.org/contribute (select cause - 39th Ave Garden).


We are so much more than a collection of homes; we are a community. As the association that represents this community, we rely on your generosity to support our purpose - improving the quality of life for those living in and around the lower Oakland Hills. Your tax-deductible donation helps defray the costs of advocating for community needs, sponsoring community events, and funding community improvements. Thank you in advance for your support!

Donating is easy! Just go to RHAOakland.org/contribute to donate online (preferred method) or download the donation brochure HERE . You can even select where you want your money to go - general support, Redwood Heights Recreation Center Park project, or the 39th Avenue Garden.

You can find us on   too!

Together, we can do so much more. Thank you for your support!

Movie in the Park


September 22, 2017

Redwood Heights Recreation Center Park
3883 Aliso
Starts at dusk
Sponsored by Redwood Heights Association


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