Environment

Oakland is losing more trees than it is planting, leaving some neighborhoods more exposed to pollution

On his birthday in 2020, Walter Hood planted six trees in front of his house. That same year, he tore out the concrete parking strip and planted a dozen more. Now children come by to pick his lemons. It’s not much, he says, but it’s an investment in Oakland’s future.  Hood, a UC Berkeley professor and the creative director of Hood Design Studio, has lived for 25 years in West Oakland, where tree canopy coverage is a mere 5% —…

Who will be Oakland’s next mayor? Candidates talk public safety and other issues at forum

Nine candidates who want to be Oakland’s next mayor answered questions about gun violence, the environment and quality of life before an audience of about 50 voters Thursday at St. Columba Catholic Church​ in northwest Oakland.  The forum ​was sponsored by Faith in Action East Bay, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Alpha Nu Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the Oakland chapter of the NAACP. The Rev. Ken Hamilton moderated, giving each candidate two…

Living in a ‘Disneyland of disasters,’ Oaklanders show up at Chabot to prepare for emergencies

For many, getting prepared for emergencies is a daunting task, leading them to procrastinate from taking simple preemptive steps to manage critical situations for themselves, their families, and their communities. About 500 people set those fears aside last Saturday to participate in an Emergency Preparedness Day at Chabot Elementary School in Oakland, where they had fun while learning practical steps to take in planning for emergencies.  The event normally is held every other year, and last week’s was the first…

Don’t be surprised if you see more rattlesnakes on East Bay trails this summer

Sandra Rose hikes frequently in East Bay Regional Parks and is no stranger to rattlesnakes. Last month, she saw three in one week.  “We all heard the hiss as the snake went up the hill.” Rose said, referring to a hike in Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve in Oakland. Rose says she expects to see snakes in the park. “They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them,” she said. “I’m not scared of them, I think they’re fascinating.”  Last month,…

East Oakland residents wary of changes intended to make it easier to report air pollution

The morning of March 8 was beautiful, and Jennifer Pope wanted to let fresh air into her East Oakland home. So, as one often does on a sunny day, she opened all the windows. Suddenly, though, came the odor — what Pope describes as a burnt resin smell.  “It came wafting in the house and it just ruined my whole morning,” Pope said. “I can’t even enjoy living in my own home because this odor is so intrusive.”  Pope reported…

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,…