The Vegan Mob Wing Had Good Bones

by Ken Katz

Last month, when we reported that a wing of the Vegan Mob/Kwik Way building had been heavily damaged to the extent that it needed to be removed, it didn’t seem like a big deal since it would have been torn down along with the rest of the building once construction started on EAH’s affordable housing project. The reality is that, under that scenario, the wing would have been demolished using a bulldozer in a very few hours but temporary repairs that made the building watertight and looking whole took several painstaking days. EAH was fortunate to have a marvelous contractor, Tech Home Inc., working on the repairs under the supervision of Tech Home VP Byron Mejia. What they had to accomplish appeared to be equivalent to assembling a jigsaw puzzle, while blindfolded and walking a tightrope. As you can see from the “after photo,” they did a fine job.

Last month’s blast email included a teaser noting that the missing Vegan Mob wing wasn’t chicken, but it turned out that the structure did have “good bones” in the form of a welded steel inner core that has the potential to be turned into oversized planters for Lakeshore, Grand, and possibly Splash Pad Park.

Tessa Quintanilla, EAH’s Project Manager, arranged for the materials to be donated, and Byron Mejia agreed to have his crew cut them into five pieces of equal length–which turned out to be a major undertaking even using a sophisticated Air Plasma Cutter. Thanks to Martin Tovar, the Construction & Maintenance Supervisor for the Public Works Department, the five pieces were removed and are temporarily stored in the Public Works Corporation Yard.

Two locations are being considered: three planters alongside the Grand Avenue entrance to the Walker Avenue parking lot and one on each side of the pedestrian bulb-out in front of Chipotle. A sixth smaller piece may also be utilized at Splash Pad Park. Initially, we’ve been talking about lining the interiors with wood but would consider other materials as well.  If you have experience along these lines, we’d love to have your input regarding design, construction, and installation. If interested, please email us.

A semi-retired antiques dealer, Ken Katz founded the Splash Pad Neighborhood Forum in late 1999 and, in his role as Chair, coordinated the community efforts to lobby for a new park and subsequently served as a liaison to the City of Oakland and to Walter Hood’s office during the planning process. The first Splash Pad Newsletters were emailed beginning circa 2006. Currently, he acts as an editor, contributor, and publisher of the online Splash Pad News. Keila Diehl proofreads all the copy, filters content as needed, and makes us look our very best.