dump1Cesar Chavez Park began as a mountain of garbage, and is tied up with the whole history of European settlers dumping garbage in the Bay.  (The original inhabitants elected to dump their garbage on land, forming shell mounds.)  Here are some readings I found interesting.

A People’s History of the Albany Waterfront, by Gordon McCarter.  The birth of Albany “grew out of the outrage of local residents at the abuse of our waterfront by a foreign-owned corporate land-owner.”

About Us:  Urban Ore.Com.  Short history of how Berkeley gradually pulled itself out of the dump era into the recycling and reuse era, and of the company that played a role in the transition.

Albany’s Forgotten Garbage War.  The surprising story of the pistol-packing women who kept Berkeley from trashing their neighborhood.

At 50, Save the Bay looks back at history, forward to Cargill project.  S.F. Examiner story on the Save the Bay Movement, without which there would have been no Cesar Chavez Park, or anything else of beauty on the waterfront.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project – Berkeley Meadow.  The Berkeley Meadow, a/k/a McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, is the next door neighbor to Cesar Chavez Park.  The plaque briefly outlines its history.

Berkeley Marina – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  Short, useful historical intro to the area.

Berkeley Marina Master Plan 2003.  City of Berkeley report from a study beginning in 1997.  

Berkeley Waterfront Specific Plan of 1986. Approved by City Council, Gus Newport, mayor.

North Waterfront Park Master Plan 1991

City of Berkeley General Plan (2001) Still in effect.

Berkeley Open Space and Recreation Element (2002)

Berkeley Public Parks and Open Space Preservation Ordinance — “Measure L” (1986)

Habitat Options at North Waterfront Park (1985) by Brian Moore

Soil Analysis of the Berkeley North Waterfront Park (1985) by Rumall Randhawa

Berkeley Climate Action Plan (2009)

Berkeley Recycling- History How  Ecology Action, the Ecology Center (EC) and the Community Conservation Centers (CCC) moved Berkeley out of the dump epoch into the era of recycling.

Burrowing Owl Survey Protocol and Mitigation Guidelines, Prepared by the California Burrowing Owl Consortium (1993)

Golden Gate Audubon Society, Cesar Chavez Park Burrowing Owl Program, Berkeley, California, Annual Reports

Cesar Chavez Commemoration – Ecology Center.  Short items about Chavez and the issue of environmental justice.

Cesar Chavez Park – City of Berkeley, CA   City website dedicated to the park.

César Chávez Park – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  Brief, informative.

CREATING THE EASTSHORE STATE PARK, AN ACTIVIST HISTORY, BY NORMAN LA FORCE.  Extensive, detailed history of the decades-long fight to prevent and reverse environmental degradation of the Bay shore, written by a leading participant in the struggle.  Essential reading for anyone interested in the modern history of the region.

Design Associates Working with Nature (DAWN) documents:

Establishing Native Plant Communities on a Coastal Landfill, by David Amme (1987).  A scholarly paper that details the initial botanical conditions of the park and the efforts in 1981-1984 to establish the native plant communities that today make up the forested grove on the west side.

Restoration of Coastal Ecology and Landfill, by David Kaplow, published in Four Seasons journal Vol. 7 No. 3 (Dec. 1985). A seven-page introduction to the DAWN project published a year after it ended.

DAWN – Design Associates Working with Nature. A 25-page introduction to the organization’s vision and capabilities, undated, but probably 1984-85.

Coastal Landscapes: A Case Study and Guidelines for Design and Maintenance of Native Plant Landscapes in Shoreline Parks, by Design Associates Working with Nature, Dec. 20 1985, An 80-page booklet containing a fairly detailed narrative of the DAWN work followed by lessons learned and recommendations, with extensive references.

Characteristics and Unique Wildlife of Wetland Habitats, North Waterfront Park.  Memo dated 2/18/1988 by Malcolm J. Sproul of LSA Associates containing a retrospective of the DAWN project.  

Berkeley North Waterfront Park, an Interim Report, by Nikki Wright and Jazz Duberman, January 1990.  Memo by City of Berkeley landscape gardeners reviewing DAWN project.

History and Future of the Berkeley Waterfront.  Handout prepared by Susan Schwartz for participants in a waterfront walk.  She says the bumps in the eastbound lane of University Avenue next to McLaughlin Park are from the timbers of the original pier; garbage has settled between them.  A PDF version is here.

North Basin Bird Study.  Conducted between 2004 and 2007, this is the only comprehensive census of the bird population of this body of water.  Rich in insights and cautions.

Ohlone revival of the wetlands crafts.  Slide show focusing on Ohlone civilization, on the importance of the Bay wetlands in it, and on measures to restore wetlands.

Proceedings of the California Burrowing Owl Symposium (2007).  Monograph by Institute for Bird Populations.  Reviewed here

Radical Roots- Finding Environmentalism Amid the Schisms of mid-’60s Berkeley – California Magazine  Memoir of early environmental radicalism by the son of David Brower; it mentions Cesar Chavez Park.

Remembering Schoolhouse Creek, by Rebecca Sutton — Extensively researched detailed history of this creek, a lens through which important features of the history of Berkeley also emerge.

Status Assessment and Conservation Plan for the Western Burrowing Owl in the United States — Biological Technical Publication by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2003. Eight expert authors, 120 pages. Interesting but nothing in it about owls wintering.

The Brief History of OCSC and the Berkeley Marina – OCSC SAILING  Well done historical sketch with rare photos of the dump, a history the famous sailing club shares with its neighbor, the park.

The Country in the City, by Richard Walker.  Encyclopedic and vivid overview of the long struggle for environmental progress in Northern California, by UC Berkeley geography prof Richard Walker.

Trash Dumps and the Hidden History of the Bay Shoreline – Save The Bay Blog  Interactive map and story by Maya Wolf illustrating the Dump Era and contrasting it with the greener present.

Turning the Tide.  Three short videos and companion educational unit for grades 9-12 on the Bay conservation movement.  Link to the videos.  Useful bibliography.

What we can do to help our birds survive.  Op-ed on the importance of preserving bird habitat in this era of climate change.  Cesar Chavez Park is an important bird habitat.

Where No City Has Gone Before- San Francisco Will Be World’s First Zero-Waste Town by 2020.  According to the authors the first city to operate without dumping any of its waste will be not Berkeley, but San Francisco.  Shame!

Women, Guns, and Garbage.  Lurid history of the 1908 Garbage War that led to the founding of the City of Albany.  Theirs was not a nonviolent resistance.

There’s many other sources.  Want to add something here?  Please post a comment.  Thank you.

Oh, and let me add my own little book of photos with a short historical sketch:  From Trash to Treasure, the Splendors of Berkeley’s Cesar Chavez Park.  

4 thoughts on “Readings

  • Pingback: Open Letter to Glenn Phillips

  • Hello There,

    My husband and I built the enclosure art piece for the Burrowing Owls, entitled “Opening Circle”.

    I have only just read the little article on this in your paper.
    I cannot see an author’s name.

    Please remove the paragraph that goes on about a different “Jeffrey Reed”.
    Someone looked on the web and decided that this painter was my husband. It is a different Jeff Reed.
    Here is the paragraph (with multiple links to someone else’s website) that needs to be removed.

    “Artist Jeffrey Reed is known as a master landscape painter with a particular love for the scenery of Ireland. He teaches art at the Community College of Philadelphia. The George Billis gallery in New York and Los Angeles and the Gross McLeaf Gallery in Philadelphia represent him and show his work. His web gallery is here. A YouTube video about his landscape paintings is here. A resume as of 2013, showing his numerous solo and group exhibitions, press coverage, collections, and fellowships, is here. ”

    Our website is

    Thank you for referring this to the appropriate person.

    Jennifer Madden

  • Pingback: Birth of a park: the history – Viva Cesar Chavez Park

  • Pingback: Birth of a park: the history | Viva Cesar Chavez Park!

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