Environment

Earth day cleanup in Oakland: “If it’s helping my community, I can’t say no to that.”

When they arrived at the Rockridge-Temescal Greenbelt, aka FROG Park, on Saturday morning, Alya Davidman and her 6-year-old daughters Evelyn and Josephine Ellis-Davidman found a group of over 100 volunteers hard at work raking leaves, pulling weeds, and picking up trash across the narrow greenway tucked between a row of houses, the DMV and the Temescal farmers market in north Oakland  Josephine and Evelyn, waddling with bright orange trash pickers in one hand and garbage bags as big as their…

Oakland council delays decision on 222-unit West Oakland development near BART

Citing environmental concerns, Oakland City Council on Tuesday again pushed back its decision on Golden West, an eight-story complex that would provide 222 housing units with ground floor retail and work space across from the West Oakland BART Station, at 1396 Fifth St.  The project has already been delayed for over a year. After the Planning Commission unanimously approved it in March 2021, it was brought before City Council in September when East Bay Residents for Responsible Development, a coalition…

What’s next for workers, city after century-old foundry announces move to Texas?

AB&I Foundry, one of the largest industrial sources of air pollution in Oakland, announced plans last week to cease operations at its century-old plant and move to an existing facility in Tyler, Texas.  The closure, beginning in June, will cut 200 jobs and comes just weeks after two lawsuits were filed in Alameda County Superior Court accusing the company of spewing excessive levels of a carcinogen into East Oakland’s air.  “I am really scared for our community and what impact…

East Oakland foundry pollution spurs two lawsuits to protect community

The state of California and an Oakland-based environmental group are suing the pipe casting facility AB&I Foundry for reportedly emitting excessive levels of a carcinogenic chemical into East Oakland’s air.  Both lawsuits, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, accuse the foundry of violating California’s Proposition 65 — a law requiring businesses to warn people about significant exposures to harmful chemicals. The state’s lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Rob Bonta on Feb. 15, states that McWane Inc. operating as AB&I Foundry,…

West Oakland garage getting electric car-chargers for public use

Oakland is partnering with electric provider East Bay Community Energy to install 17 dual-port fast chargers, powered solely by solar and wind power, at the City Center West Garage.  The project is part of the Oakland Transportation Department’s plan to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles across the city, while tackling the health disparities in neighborhoods most plagued by air pollution. Bounded by the Port of Oakland and the interstate 580, 880 and 980 freeways, West Oakland has some of…

New filtration program is step toward cleaner air for West Oakland residents

Shortly after Brian Beveridge moved to West Oakland in 1999, he noticed a greasy layer of black soot building up on his window shades and tabletops. It wasn’t hard to figure out where it came from, with diesel trucks from nearby industries driving through the neighborhood and expelling pollution into the air that residents were breathing.  Now, over two decades later, Beveridge is co-director for the nonprofit West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, where he works to provide solutions for West…

East Oakland scraper bike program gives kids a chance to safely cycle

Beside bikes dazzling with brightly colored tape and foil, about a dozen East Oakland elementary school children excitedly, in unison, recited their ABCs:   “Air, brakes, chains.”  The kids learned the drill to check bike parts during a new six-week, after-school bike course this fall for children at Brookfield and Madison Park elementary schools. Mentors from The Scraper Team and the nonprofit Higher Ground launched the program to teach kids about bicycle safety and maintenance in a neighborhood that has very…

Planners move to restrict new housing in Oakland hills fire zone

Thirty years ago, 25 people were killed trying to escape the Oakland Tunnel Fire, which swiftly engulfed neighborhoods in the hills.  Since then, many residents have rebuilt in those neighborhoods, which remain under higher risk of fire.  In the next few months, the Oakland City Council will consider a proposal put forth by the Planning Commission that some worry doesn’t go far enough in restricting development in the hills, where narrow, winding roads still pose challenges as escape routes.  The…