Splash Pad Newsletter – June 2015


Last month, I phoned the Alley to order a couple of steak dinners to go and was disappointed to hear that their kitchen had mechanical problems and was closed.  Weeks later, I learned the circumstances via this blog posted by Zennie Abraham.

Apparently,  an Alameda County Health Inspector ordered them to replace their range vent – a $75,000 project.  Unfortunately, the Alley’s owners don’t have the funds for this repair and there’s some question as to whether or not a bar that’s been in continuous operation since 1933 can survive.

There’s an informal movement underway encouraging folks to support what has become an Oakland institution through their patronage.  Drinks are as good as always and the kitchen is now serving grilled sandwiches and salads that are getting great reviews on Yelp.

Silver Screen VideoThe presentation provided by the  One Medical Group at the May Grand Lake Neighbors meetings was very well received.  Andy Grover, One Medical’s property manager, addressed some concerns that had been raised regarding their plans for the vacant Silver Screen Video space.  Typically, they’ll only have five staff members present at any given time and the parking lot which accommodates up to 12 vehicles should be more than adequate – especially since some of the staff will be riding bikes.

The large billboard on the roof will remain but One Medical has exclusive rights and will be using it for low key messages promoting better health.  In terms of landscaping, the City of Oakland is requiring that they provide a visual buffer between the parking lot and the street.  Most likely, the buffer will consist of drought-tolerant shrubs.

Last  month I reported (somewhat skeptically) that Grand Fare Market planned on opening by the end of June.  I peeked through the side window yesterday and the interior is still very much unfinished.  As for the exterior, the photo also taken yesterday indicates much the same.

After years of repeatedly revising proposed opening dates, I’m expecting that the June opening will be delayed – but am hoping to be surprised. Whenever it does open, I’m confident Grand Fare will be a big hit – particularly given all the outdoor patio seating that’s being planned.

Grand Avenue is about to get a new merchant and (drum roll, please), it’s me!  Starting mid-month, I’ll be temporarily occupying a side room in Arvi Dorsey’s Red Wagon antiques shop at 3654 Grand.  After far too many years of neglecting my antiques business, I’m determined to empty my basement expeditiously so I can belatedly retire.

Initially, I’ll be focusing on antique table and floor lamps and vintage lighting fixtures with period artwork added as space permits.  Arvi is open Thursdays through Saturdays and occasionally, on Sundays.

If you missed last month’s newsletter and are curious as to why the re-striping of the roadway on Grand above Mandana hasn’t been completed, it’s because Oakland’s Traffic Engineering Department is considering elimination of  a lane in each direction between Mandana and the Piedmont line.  This would allow installation of bike lanes and significantly narrow cross walks.

A community meeting to discuss the proposal will be hosted by Councilmember Abel Guillen on Monday, June 22 from 6:30 – 8:30 in Barnett Hall which is up the driveway behind Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church.

Studio Grand’s monthly calendar features half a dozen concerts including one by accordion virtuoso, Guy Klucevsek on June 26.  They also have a full schedule of classes including Group Voice and five different dance workshops ranging from Salsa to Son Jarocho.

Alyce on Grand is planning an organic gardening workshop on Sunday, June 28 from 2:30 – 4:00 p.m. The event, called “Summer Scents, Sips and Shopping” will focus on how to build small container gardens.  Participants will also be sampling herb and fruit infused waters.  For more information, contact Alyce.

The community effort led by Russell Hill and Eric Hughes to replace around 15 street trees on Grand Avenue is one step closer to fruition thanks to the City’s Tree Division which just ground and removed tree stumps.  Next step is fundraising.  If you’d like to contribute financially;  help with installation of the new trees or help trim the existing ones, please contact Eric at:  hughesearthur@gmail.com.

For an always up-to-date business directory, click and save the…



Case of Mistaken IdentityIf you’ve visited Lakeshore anytime in the past couple of weeks, you likely noticed that the building facade at Center Stage West Salon and Chi Wind and Water is looking extremely barren.  This is due to a monumental screw up by an awning contractor which removed their awnings instead of those at T-Mobile just a couple of doors further down the street.

For details and an accompanying video, check out this report broadcast by KRON News. Incidentally, the contractors responsible were tracked down thanks to a security video inside Chi Wind and Water which underscores their effectiveness.Maribel'sWarriorGroundWindow

Now that the Warriors are headed for the NBA Finals, a lot of folks are jumping on the bandwagon.  Not Maribel, their tribute to the home team went up well over a month ago.

Eighteen/Eight, the men’s hair salon that will be occupying the Silver Linings space has a “Now Hiring” sign in the window – so they are likely getting close to opening – but I’ve yet to get a peek inside.

As I reported last month, Lakeshore Produce will be moving up the street to 3312 Lakeshore – next door to Colonial Doughnuts at what is currently a PCS Metro outlet.  However, I erred in saying that this would represent a “75% reduction” in the number of cellular phone stores on Lakeshore which was merely a case of wishful thinking – not another indication of encroaching senility. The actual figure is a 20% reduction.


This month, LZ  writes about  Perch Coffeehouse.  Here’s THAT LINK.
Previous blogs are posted on LZ’s  West of 580 Archives.


This month’s First Thursdays Art Walk takes place June 4 which coincides with Game One of the NBA Finals. With the Warriors reaching the Finals for the first time in forty years, the expectation is that attendance will be down and  several of the galleries have opted not to participate.

We’re hoping you join the festivities at those galleries that are open but, if you’re glued to the TV Thursday instead, consider, as an alternative, making the Grand Avenue galleries part of the Open Studio tours this weekend and next.

Hours are 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.

Panorama Framing continues showing “Pic Oakland” – a photo contest curated by Shift Local along with “Disconnected: New Works by Eric S. Goodfield”.  The latter consists of photos taken on Goodfield’s  iPhone of payphones that are increasingly obsolete due to the multipurpose gadget with which he takes photos.   Refreshments will be served and music provided by Joshua McClain.

Studio Grand’s exhibit of photos entitled “Eyes of the Movement” ends with a closing reception on June 11.  Doors will be open for First Thursday but access to the show will be restricted once the Salsa Dance Class begins.

Urban Furniture  will be closed.

Alchemy Bottle Shop’s exhibit of “SHARKS by guest artist, Lorien Stern continues for another month but they too will be closed this Thursday.

Jau Jou Studio features Shane Donahue‘s prints of iconic Oakland landmarks.
Open to 8:00 p.m. only. 15% discount on all salon merchandise.

Baraka Gallery at 432 Santa Clara continues its exhibit of  “A Grain of Truth” – works in wood by Giovanni Nixon.

Alyce on Grand  continues its exhibit of recent works by artist,  Gale Madyun. Light refreshments served 15% discount on all regularly priced merchandise.

San Francisco Fiber  at 3711 Grand extends an open invitation to try your hand at weaving and spinning + 50-70% off striped and variegated super sock yarn.


It’s that time of year again.  Drought or no drought, the market has the first corn of the season from G & S Farms in Brentwood plus berries,  peaches, cherries and apricots.

The market also has two new and one returning vendor.  The latter is Ortiz Farms which specializes in Blackberries and Boysenberries.   Georgeanne Walker, who is a newsletter subscriber and (along with her husband) an Earth Day volunteer, is pictured at the Ortiz booth.

One of the new vendors is Tea Smith’s which is owned by Chad Smith and Grace Landsdale.  The other new vendor is Nature’s Spirit which carries a variety of plant starts.  They’ll be filling in for Peggy and Helen from Kassenhoff Growers until they return to the market.

Craig Telles is a very talented potter whose prior experience was as a boatbuilder.  Photo was taken two weeks ago – the second time Craig sold at the Grand Lake Market.


We were pleasantly surprised by a good turnout for our work day on the Memorial Day weekend and, as is usually the case, got lots of work done.  More often than not, lunch consists of pizza from Arizmendi or Lanesplitter. For a change of pace, lunch was supplied by Chao Thai directly across the street.

Photos on the right was taken during the work day by Eric Hughes.  More of Eric’s photos are posted on the Splash Pad Facebook page.

Next work day is Sunday, June 28 from 9:00 until Noon.  By the way, we’re also looking for one or two individuals who can help during the week with special projects.  If you’re interested, email us at info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com.

This past week, Splash Pad was part of emergency preparedness outreach event that was scheduled in conjunction with the opening of “San Andreas” at the Grand Lake Theatre.  The Oakland Fire Department’s Emergency Rescue truck was parked onsite along with communication vehicles from the fire department and from FEMA.  The CORE program, California Office of Emergency Services and, on Sunday, the Parks and Recreation Department were represented.

If you missed the event and are interested in preparedness literature, there’s quantities available for free in the FEMA catalogue including posters and coloring books specifically designed for classrooms.


The Megapolis Music Festival runs June 5 through June 7.  Highlight is a free Block Party at the Blackball Universe Studios from 6-8:00 p.m. featuring Fantastic Negrito (winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert competition) along with the Kitchen Sisters and Glynn Washington from Snap Judgement.

The Bay Area Book Festival is this coming weekend, June 6 – 7.  It’s a free event held indoors and outdoors in downtown Berkeley.

The Open Studio Tours commence this weekend and return the following weekend .  Look for a host of talented artists right here in the neighborhood plus the aforementioned galleries on Grand Avenue.  Print copies of the Artists Directory are available from Galleria Scola at 3646 Grand.

My older son, Adam, organized the First Annual Amphibious Bike Race that was held at Jack London Square on Saturday.  That’s him riding my beater bike that he had hastily converted into an amphibious vehicle. The event was sponsored by Breakwater Makerspace – a cooperative workshop here in Oakland for boat owners and artists working on projects with a nautical theme.  More of my photos are on this Flickr page – but I arrived late after all the bikes had completed the water leg of the race.

Pacific Worlds– the big show at the Oakland Museum has just opened with much fanfare accompanied by dancing, crafts and undoubtedly, ukuleles as well.

The Second Annual Town’s Half Marathon is August 15th.  This year, the Oakland-based organizers are also introducing a Better Health East Bay 5k.

If you’d love to visit Fairyland but lack the mandatory underage “chaperone”,  your golden opportunity is Thursday, June 4 when the gates open for adults only for their 20th Annual Gala Dinner and Costume Party.  This year’s theme is “A Cinderella Story”.  Tickets and more information are available HERE.

On the other hand, if you do have kids and are looking for an outdoor, overnight adventure, the first of four Summer Sleepovers at Fairyland begins July 11.  Admission includes rides, special performances, dinner and a continental breakfast.  More information and tickets are at THIS LINK.

The Great American Backyard Campout, which is sponsored by the City of Oakland’s Parks & Recreation Department, is yet another opportunity to sleep under the stars but, in this case, it’s on the fringes of a genuine Redwood forest.  The campout is  at Joaquin Miller Park from Saturday, June 27th at 2:00 p.m. until Sunday at 10:00 a.m.  Price including dinner and a continental breakfast is $15 for adults and $10 for children over three.


Walter Hood, the Oakland-based Landscape Architect who designed Splash Pad Park, is back in the news because he’s literally putting the Oaks back in Oakland.  The background story was reported last week in this article in the New York Times.

This was news to me – as was the disclosure that Walter is re-landscaping the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum in New York.  The Cooper Hewitt is the institution that selected him as the Landscape Architect of the Year not too long after he’d completed work on Splash Pad and the gardens at the De Young Museum.

As a California Native Plant aficionado, Mary Jo Sutton has become absolutely essential element in our efforts to renew and expand the California Native Plant garden at Splash Pad.  What I didn’t know until recently is that she and her husband, Terry, are long-time water misers.

When EBMUD ordered a 25% reduction in usage, Mary Jo called and complained – noting that they’ve been limiting water consumption to twenty-five gallons for the past five years and couldn’t reduce any further.

When KRON News subsequently called EBMUD with questions about rationing, they suggested that KRON talk to Mary Jo – which they did.  And the result is this three-minute video.

Mayor Libby Schaaf and Police Chief, Sean Whent are leading an Oakland Community Policing Summit this Saturday, June 6 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon at Laney College.  Reservations in advance are required by email: nsdadmin@oaklandnet.com.

Next meeting of the Grand Lake Neighbors group will be Wednesday, June 17 in the Lakeshore Baptist Church Library beginning at 7 p.m. OPD will be there to discuss recent crime statistics and answer questions.


To join our email list, email: info@splashpad.sitedistrict.com with “Subscribe” on the subject line.

All newsletters from 2007 to the present are archived HERE.




4 responses to “Splash Pad Newsletter – June 2015”

  1. Dear Neighbors,

    There has been significant improvement on the retail block of Lakeshore Avenue recently. A growing cancer of waste containers has been defeated!! The many many cans (10 to 20 to 25) left out daily on the public street. . . blocking pedestrians, bikers and children . . . are now being properly kept inside each store! In addition, our local Lakeshore business owners have agreed that, on pickup days, they will only put their cans out AFTER they close and will immediately bring them in first thing in the morning when the store opens the following day. Everyone agrees that unruly waste containers should go out after dark . . . . and never be mingling with customers during the day!

    What a success! On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday* (since July 15th) we essentially have had no waste containers on the street. Lakeshore looked great! without all those cans! Those businesses recently making a special effort to keep our neighborhood beautiful include the Gap, Starbucks, Noah’s Bagel and Chipotle. We wish to also thank the many other businesses which have been keeping their cans out of public view as required by city ordinance.

    Interestingly, as a result of our conversations with these and other Lakeshore businesses and cafes, we discovered there are 8 (yes . . . 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8!) “lost” grey recycle containers out on our street that do not belong to any Lakeshore business. Apparently, for many months no one has realized these cans were abandoned. This helped create our waste container problem, as the impolite behavior of leaving waste cans out on our public street spread up and down the block!! California Waste and Waste Management and the City of Oakland have now been advised of the abandoned cans. California Waste has promised to pick them up immediately.

    Your Lakeshore Neighbor #1

  2. Is the restriping going to involve any change to the bike lane going northbound on Grand just before crossing El Embarcadero? It badly needs some kind of dotted green zone like it seems to be getting 100 feet north at the MacArthur turn lane. Currently, neither bikers nor right-turning drivers can figure out what they are supposed to be doing at that intersection.

    1. Ken Katz Avatar
      Ken Katz


      The meeting on the 22nd is specifically about proposals for Grand Avenue from Elwood up to the Piedmont city line. However, there should be plenty of opportunity to talk to the city traffic engineers before or after the meeting. In addition, I’m pretty sure representatives from WOBO and Bike East Bay will be there.

  3. Debra Gooch Avatar
    Debra Gooch

    Hi Ken!

    The upcoming Bay Area book fair is not really free. In order to secure yourself a seat at any given event the organizers do strongly advise attendees to “get” a ticket. The tickets are available through Eventbrite for a service fee of $2.99. You could be out close to ten bucks by the end of the day if you are an ambitious event attendee. Check it out. The Oakland Book Festival was a screaming success and totally free! One just had to get in line a bit early to get in to one’s panel of choice and bingo! A truly free event! My dictionary says that the word free means free of cost! Thanks for your lively newsletter! I always look forward to it.

    Gratefully yours,