August 23 has two opportunities for concerned citizens and Oakland Estuary fans to speak up. We recently received notices offering Oakland Estuary sailors the chance to give public comment on the proposed Alameda/Oakland pedestrian bridge and the anchor-out/homeless encampments on the Oakland waterfront. Both concern all boaters, yacht clubs, marinas, and East Bay citizens who want to access and enjoy the Estuary shoreline and waters.
The first is from tireless Estuary advocate Brock de Lappe, who sent us a recent notice from the BCDC announcing its next public meeting to address anchor-outs, homeless encampments and derelict boats along the Oakland Estuary. Like any waterfront city, the Estuary shoreline should be one of the cherished crown jewels of Oakland. Currently, it’s stained by urban blight.
We’ve also heard many reports from yacht clubs and marinas along the Estuary about a rash of stolen dinghies and outboards. Several have been found among the anchor-outs and along the Oakland shoreline, with outboards missing and the inflatable boats slashed. Clubs and owners have had to personally attempt retrieval of the stolen vessels, and though the crimes have been reported, the Oakland police have yet to respond. Just this past weekend, Chris Anderson of Grand Marina had to retrieve another stolen dinghy from theives who were anchored just north of the Cemex plant and still in the process of removing the outboard.
Someday, its long shoreline will be inviting to all citizens of Oakland to enjoy access to the water for paddling, sailing, rowing, swimming, and fishing as well as a walk, bike ride, roller skating, skateboarding or watching the western sunset from along the waterfront. The premier location along the waterfront is Jack London Square, which pays tribute to Oakland’s sailing heritage, including the sailor and author who sailed its shores over a century ago. The Jack London Aquatic Center provides a place for rowing and dragon boating on the Estuary, though it was severely impacted by wrecks from the Estuary during winter storms.
Despite the Oakland waterfront’s potential as a stunning city attraction, it remains telling that the beautiful slide show presented on Oakland’s VisitOakland website, for obvious reasons, contains no images of its derelict waterfront, which would only make the job of the visitors’ bureau more difficult. The entire focus of the Visitors’ Bureau website is inland or east of Interstate 880. Maybe it’s a bureaucratic tussle between the Port of Oakland and the City of Oakland?
We share the full invitation to the public below:
Dear Enforcement Committee Members, Members of the Public and Staff:
The next hybrid Enforcement Committee meeting is scheduled for:
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Teleconference numbers: (816) 423-4282
Conference code: 374334
ITEM 6. Staff Briefing on Actions to Address Shoreline Encampments, Abandoned and Derelict Vessels and Anchor-outs in the Oakland-Alameda Estuary, Alameda County
BCDC staff will brief the Enforcement Committee on the actions taken between this past February and the present to address shoreline encampments, abandoned and derelict vessels and anchor-outs in the Oakland-Alameda Estuary.
Guidance for presenters is available here.
If you would like to comment on an item scheduled for a public hearing, then you may do so by emailing comments one day in advance to [email protected].
Comments provided during the public comment portion of the meeting will be by telephone or via the web. Public speakers participating via web will be asked to raise their hands and speak when called upon.
For technical difficulties contact [email protected].
Oakland Estuary Pedestiran Bridge
In the afternoon of the same day, the Oakland/Alameda pedestrian bridge group is hosting a Zoom meeting for all Estuary stakeholders to comment on the proposed project.
The Oakland-Alameda Estuary Bridge project team is meeting for the fourth Stakeholder and Equity Advisory Committee (SAC/EAC) meeting on Wednesday, August 23, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Zoom.
Here’s the official page for the proposed bridge, where you can sign up for updates: www.alamedaca.gov/bridge.
We have to think part of Oakland’s misunderstanding of the value of its potentially beautiful public waterfront is that it was tragically cut off from the city when Interstate 880 was built. This was fortunately avoided in San Francisco when they halted the Embarcadero Freeway, which was planned to go around the entire city right up the marina waterfront to the Golden Gate Bridge. Can you imagine Marina Green and Crissy Field with an elevated freeway 100 yards inland?
Elevated waterfront freeways are great for drivers who want to whiz right through the city, but they’re terrible for communities that want to connect to their shoreline. San Francisco’s new Tunnel Top Park by Crissy Field is a way to keep city residents connected to the beauty of their coastline. People with access to the shoreline will work to protect it. It is likely more difficult for Oakland to heal the scar of 880 that separates the city from its shoreline; however, we are sure that someday creative people will rediscover the lost wonder of the shoreline loved by sailors before and long after Jack London.
We know Brock de Lappe has put in endless hours to support the cause of boating restoration of the Oakland waterfront, but he can’t do it alone. He invites all of you to speak up in public comment online or via email to help restore the Estuary for the benefit of the entire public.