Martin Luther King Jr proclaimed that “Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve.”
This was true of the 45 great volunteers who showed up and worked all day in the Jingletown neighborhood of Oakland. Volunteers from Kaiser, Clorox, Keep Oakland Beautiful and neighbors worked at two sites, the shoreline and the art wall.
On the shoreline, volunteers picked up trash including broken glass bottles, cigarette butts and various plastic odds and ends, not only making the shoreline more aesthetically pleasing but also keeping the trash from our storm drains and waterways. Volunteers also planted a tree that will serve to beautify the street close to the shore.
At the art wall, volunteers worked hard to weed, prune and clean up the garden space. They also were able to repaint storm drain art under the direction of a local artist.
A lot of work was done and the area will be beautified for years to come!
In 2019, KOB funded 10 small grants. Here's how your contributions made a difference in Oakland.
Jingletown Drain Painting
Like in much of Oakland, storm drains in the Jingletown neighborhood lead directly to the Oakland Estuary. Using a grant from KOB, volunteers painted murals around two drains to bring awareness to the drains while beautifying the neighborhood. The first mural, Estuary Fish, was painted by 50 eighth-graders from Lazear Charter Academy. The second mural, Community Quilt, was designed in collaboration with a local senior quilt maker and painted by neighborhood volunteers during an MLK service day. More photos on the KOB blog post
Myrtle St. Bulb Out Mural and Beautification
As part of the opening of a new Community Foods Market in West Oakland, the city installed a bulb-out at the NW corner of San Pablo Ave and Myrtle St. to slow vehicles at the intersection. Using a KOB grant, volunteers painted a mural to draw attention to the intersection and increase its impact.
Hoover Durant St Corner Library Pop-Up
A KOB small grant supported the construction of mobile book storage wagons as part of the Hoover Durant Street Corner Library Events. The events are a temporary, yet on-going part of a much larger ongoing campaign to bring back a public neighborhood branch library that was demolished for the construction of a freeway in the early 1970s.
Champion Transit Plaza Landscape Renovation
Champion Transit Plaza was built in 2013 by the City of Oakland. Volunteers with the Dimond Improvement Association (DIA) have been maintaining the plaza for five years but the plantings were in need of renovation. DIA used a grant from KOB to replant with more drought-tolerant plants.
“We really appreciated this grant as it served as an incentive to get the project done. It's also great to know that we're one of many projects around the city--a community of good works!”
Longfellow Garden Boxes
The Longfellow Neighborhood Association used a KOB grant to beautify the sidewalk in front of an auto body shop on one of the busiest corridors in the neighborhood. Volunteers built raised planters between the chain-link fence and sidewalk and planted drought-tolerant plants. In the future, the neighborhood association would like to build mini-gardens at 5 additional autobody sites along MLK and West MacArthur.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for the Longfellow Community Association! We've never gotten a grant before and it was both a learning and growing experience for us. We hope to apply for grants for similar projects in the future--Longfellow has a lot of industrial sites that we'd like to green, especially given the positive feedback on this one! “
CAP MLK Blvd Homeless Camp and Street Clean Up
The Community Ambassador Program used a grant from KOB to host three clean-ups at homeless encampments in West Oakland. MLK Blvd & W. Grand, 35th-36th on MLK and Peralta and 35th.
Hoover Elementary Garden
The intent of this KOB-sponsored project was to plant empty spaces in the Hoover Elementary Garden with crops culturally relevant to local families from Arabic and African countries. In partnership with the Permaculture Action Network, Burners Without Borders, and Common Vision, the neighborhood hosted a day of hands-on projects and workshops. Nearly 400 volunteers cleared garden spaces and created community agreements about interest, participation and crop choices. The school district has since decided to take back control of the land so they were not able to plant fava beans, chard and figs. Instead, they built two redwood benches to replace the milk crates used by crossing guards who have been protecting school children for almost 20 years.
“We are very appreciative of the opportunity to add new elements to our School’s garden, one that is transforming our students’ appreciation for each other and our earth.”
MacArthur Heights 98th Avenue Beautification
The neighborhood association used a KOB grant to cover ugly dirt with rocks at 98th Avenue above Mac Arthur Blvd. one of the busiest streets in Oakland.
Longfellow Mosaic Trash Cans
The Longfellow neighborhood is in the process of installing five new mosaic garbage cans on 40th Street at the corners of Market Street, West Street, and MLK Jr Way—the busiest corridors in the neighborhood, primarily at bus stops.
Universal Garden of Love
The Universal Garden of Love will support residents of Lion Creek Crossings (LCC) to share foods they have grown at LCC by hosting monthly clean ups and pot lucks at the public park. The project will provide four residents at LCC with planter beds to place in a small area near the park or on resident patios.
KOB came out in full force at two clean up sites to boost Oakland’s clean up efforts in the Battle for the Bay - Creek to Bay Day event. Our clean up at Cesar Chavez Park had more than 50 volunteers picking up trash from the park and playground areas. Volunteers also removed scrap metal, glass and plastic bottles, clothes, a scooter, a sofa section and two dolls from the day-lighted section of Peralta Creek that runs through the park. Through our pick up efforts we are happy to report that we prevented 21 bags worth of trash from ending up in our creeks and shorelines.
Over 60 people showed up at our Jingletown site and their hard work made a huge impact to that area. In just a few hours, Volunteers picked up 25 bags worth of trash and filled over 100 bags of green waste! Thanks to all who pitched in and came out to make our Creek to Bay Day a smashing success!
You can help Oakland win the Battle for the Bay on September 21! Mayors London Breed (San Francisco) and Libby Schaaf (Oakland) met on September 5 to kick off the challenge to register the most volunteers and pick up the most trash in their cities.
You Can Help ... It's Easy!
First, register on the event website.
Then, check out September 21 KOB-sponsored events.
Last week, Keep Oakland Beautiful awarded 22 grants in an effort to keep our city litter-free and a beautiful place for all. Congratulations to all of the new grantees and thank you for submitting a project!
Learn more about the Small Grant program and application requirements.
Pernod Ricard volunteers joined Keep Oakland Beautiful (KOB) board members at the Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) native plant nursery tucked away in the Oakland hills. FOSC staff shared with the group the importance of reintroducing native plants into the ecosystem. Volunteers were introduced to California native plant propagation methods and performed nursery tasks including preparing pots, transplanting native plants, and removing invasive species.
A small team of Pernod Ricard volunteers assembled two beautiful benches made from recycled materials. In the hot California sun, we all hydrated and greatly appreciated the donation of Boxed Water is Better! We appreciate the donation of Boxed Water is Better as it demonstrates a sustainable product consistent with the circular transformation philosophy.
Volunteers transplanted nearly 100 California native plants which will be reintroduced to the ecosystem once mature. Plants will be used in creek restoration projects which benefit the entire watershed region. A team of Pernod Ricard volunteers assembled two beautiful benches made from recycled materials. The benches will be used by future weary volunteers and Friends of Sausal Creek staff.
The Oakland Recycling Association (ORA) was a non-profit founded with the mission of providing recycling information, education and advocacy in Oakland before recycling was available. We were an early leader in the recycling movement and take shared credit for Oakland’s early adoption of curbside recycling. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, ORA operated recycling buy-back and drop-off centers and at one-point shared space with the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. When the City of Oakland first began curbside recycling, ORA was contracted to provide outreach and education. Later, ORA introduced a waste motor oil education and recycling program. ORA staff and volunteers spoke at dozens of outdoor events and meetings to provide education on recycling. After the 1991 Oakland Hills fire, ORA opened a Construction Material Drop-off Site as an alternative to landfill. Once recycling became institutionalized ORA decided it was time to shut down shop. KOB seemed a very fitting non-profit organization to donate ORA’s balance of funds and we wish KOB well in its efforts.
In our continued effort to give back to our community, Keep Oakland Beautiful partnered with Iconoclast Productions and other neighbors of Courtland Creek Park on Saturday, April 20. In addition to picking up litter and spreading mulch for weed control, we helped restore this towering monument that honors the history of the Leona Line cable car and station that once existed in this Oakland neighborhood.
Keep Oakland Beautiful took part in an event that honored the life of Oakland resident, Michael Stewart who worked with the City of Oakland to make this neighborhood safe, clean, and a unique place to live. Michael passed away from complications from the flu on March 11th of this year. On Earth Day, volunteers planted a tree in his honor along the walkway where he walked his dog, Ingo, twice a day.
Michael was integral to the formation of the Jingletown Arts Community, where he and his partners developed the first legal live-work art studio building in the area, which led the way for many artists to settle in the neighborhood art district. He was also an important community activist, a voice for the Jingletown neighborhood, helping to make it a clean, safe and artistic haven in Oakland. Michael was awarded a tribute by Oakland's City Council for his never ending volunteer work appreciated by all who lived in the Jingletown Art district.
Keep Oakland Beautiful partnered on three earth day events in Oakland this past weekend on April 20. Over 50 volunteers gathered in Jingletown and filled a dumpster with trash and separated out a large pile of green waste. Volunteers in Jingletown also painted over graffiti on the White Elephant Building (see below)
Volunteers also weeded the Jingletown Art Wall. Former long-time board member Cynthia Elliott explained that about 10 years ago, with a small grant from Keep Oakland Beautiful, they installed The Lady of Guadalupe in the center of the wall in an effort to transform what was then a very unkempt dump site. The wall, which spans an entire block, is now covered in art from end to end and has a garden path in front of it and has become a neighborhood attraction.