[fosc] NEWS ITEM: Landslide brings former neighbors back together

Edward Goehring ebgb at sbcglobal.net
Wed Jul 19 21:03:36 PDT 2006

NEWS ITEM: Landslide brings former neighbors back together

 Posted on Sat, Jul. 01, 2006


OAKLAND: Residents want to know if the 164 million gallon Central Reservoir
is a threat to homes

By Steve Heisler

Landslides that took out three homes and a church have drawn together
neighborhood groups long divided by a highway.

What caused the structures and two vacant lots to slide down a canyon June 1
is still being debated.

The discussion has involved neighborhood groups on Sheffield and Kittredge
avenues that do not usually coordinate, said Edward Goehring of the Dimond
Neighborhood Public Safety Council.

Many did not know that the groups originally were one.

"They started e-mailing each other, like they used to talk at the post
office or grocery," Goehring said. "Suddenly people are aware of their
neighbor's plight."

To Goehring, the greatest irony is that the improvement association was
formed 53 years ago to address similar slides, the results of which are
still visible off McKillop Road. Now, he said, the same issue is helping
block groups reconnect.

"That was the birth of the neighborhood association and then (Interstate)
580 was built through the Dimond neighborhood and essentially the two halves
of the neighborhood grew apart," he said. "As these groups grew apart, the
block groups became ignorant of each other's existence."

They reconnected at a meeting of the Dimond Improvement Association four
days after the landslide. The meeting, which usually draws representatives
from block associations, was packed.

Claudia Albano, Oakland's neighborhood services manager encouraged the

The neighbors are assessing whether the nearby 164 million gallon Central
Reservoir has anything to do with the slide. The East Bay Municipal Utility
District has sent representatives to block meetings and to quash that

Daniel Swafford, a Dimond Improvement Association board member, supports
this new effort.

"Groups have been complacent in past years and looked within themselves,"
Swafford said. "Now with the community activity and people losing their
homes from the slide, they're looking at the bigger picture."

Reach Steve Heisler at sheisler at ebdailynews.com or 510-705-8604.



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