2022 Year-End Summary
Many thanks to our donors and Sponsors. We couldn’t do it all without you.
Season’s Greetings! The North Hills Community Association (NHCA) has logged another impressive year of accomplishments consistent with our three-part mission of improving public safety, maintaining and beautifying community gardens and open spaces, and advocating on behalf of area owners and residents with local city and county governments and agencies. Following are some highlights of our activities in 2022.
Gardens and Community
In 2015, the NHCA accepted responsibility for maintaining the lovely Firestorm Memorial Garden located near the intersection of Hiller Drive, Tunnel Road and Highway 13, and the Gateway Garden and Pavilion, located near the intersection of Tunnel Road, Hiller Drive and Caldecott Lane.
These two gardens require constant attention – i.e., weeding, irrigation, mulching and debris removal. Thanks to the careful planning and superb leadership of Committee Co-Chairs Dan Conolly and Vicki Oliveira, along with spot-on execution from our incredible Garden Committee volunteers and others, the gardens grew and thrived in 2022 and never looked better.
Our volunteers this year included local residents; students from Oakland Technical High School, the Bentley School,the UC Berkeley Project; employees from the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation, Chevron Corporation, Schnitzer Steel; and members of theSequoyah Community Church. We extend to each andevery one of them our heartfelt thanks for their efforts. (See photo, left.)
We also want to thank BrightView Landscape and Big Chief Tree Services for their contracted services and/or in-kind donations of labor and materials. This year’s garden efforts included some 1,000+ volunteer hours, 20 truckloads of green waste removed and 10 truckloads of mulch added.In August, the Garden Committee hosted its first-ever “Ice Cream Social,” as a way of thanking the community and showing off the impressive work being done. Well over100 people stopped by, including leaders from Oakland’s police and fire departments, members of the Oakland City Council and key City staff. A fun time was had by all! You can review this and all other garden activity recaps and photos on our website, at www.northhillscommunity.org. (See photo, right.)
NHCA’s Public Safety Committee, chaired by Carolyn Burgess, worked behind the scenes on behalf of North Hills residents on a broad range of issues, including safe streets, evacuation routes, parking enforcement, police funding and staffing, vegetation management, vegetation inspections, wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness. Carolyn also hosted several public safety meetings this year using the NHCA’s Zoom platform. Meetings covered a range of topics, including street paving and maintenance, crime prevention, wildfire awareness, city vegetation, inspections, and emergency preparedness. She and fellow board member Shivani Grover were invited to attend an Oakland Fire Department strategic planning meeting in September, to provide a North Hills community perspective.
Advocacy and Community
NHCA’s advocacy program, chaired by Elizabeth Stage, focused this year on increasing influence with city leaders and elected officials, and building alliances and synergy with other local, public safety-related groups – for example, the Claremont Canyon Conservancy and the Oakland Firesafe Council.
The NHCA organized and hosted on July 27, 2022 the dedication of a marble bench in the Firestorm Memorial Garden in honor of fallen Oakland Police Officer John William Grubensky, who perished while saving other people during the 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm. Over a dozen officials from the City of Oakland were on hand, including senior OPD leadership, Council members Dan Kalb and Sheng Thao. (See photo, right.)
Also this year, as in most years, the NHCA sponsored or participated in National Night Out (NNO) events throughout the community. This year, the NHCA hosted a successful NNO event at the Gateway Garden. (See photo, left.)
NHCA leaders monitored Oakland’s mid-cycle budget and testified at City Council to ensure that the wildfire prevention allocation was sufficient for 2022-23. Several board members testified at the Redistricting Commission public hearings and/or submitted written comments expressing opposition to the proposed “hills only” council district.
The NHCA studied the new General Plan drafts to identify issues that might be challenging for our community. We represented North Hills residents on a community steering committee for the regional wildfire prevention coordination initiative. We supported the Caldecott Lane residents in their ongoing efforts to get a sidewalk and helped numerous other individuals navigate City government.
The NHCA is also committed to keeping neighbors informed about local issues as well as creating forums so that resident concerns can be heeded. This year, Shivani Grover and Carolyn Burgess created events based directly on resident feedback. We co-hosted a city council and school board candidate forum in conjunction with the Oakland League of Women Voters. After observing the keen interest in the Howard Terminal Project, we also organized a Zoom forum with Mayor Libby Schaaf and the East Oakland Stadium Alliance, so that neighbors could learn about varying viewpoints regarding the proposed development.
Change is a constant in the world of non-profit leadership, and that certainly holds true for the NHCA. In early 2022, we bade farewell to longtime board members / community organizers Susan and Gordon Piper, who moved to the verdant hills of West Linn, Oregon. During their many years in Oakland, the Pipers established an impressive legacy of leadership, public service and community support around wildfire prevention, insurance advocacy, open space preservation, and care for community gardens. Also in 2022, board member Celine Gyger stepped down to focus on her work and family priorities.
The NHCA board was exceptionally fortunate in 2022 to welcome four new members: Daniel (Dan) Conolly, Vicki Oliveira, Shivani Grover and Donna Karch. You’ll continue to hear about their contributions in the months ahead, but for now, we are very glad they are here.
Your Support Is Vital
As a 100% volunteer-driven, non-profit organization, the NHCA depends on generous donations from community residents like you to sustain its activities. We have no paid staff and use contractors only sparingly for specialty services like website hosting and maintenance, planting and irrigation, printing, mailing and outreach, and general administration. We hope, as you learn more about our work, you will decide the NHCA is deserving of your financial or volunteer support. To learn more about the NHCA, its programs and volunteer opportunities, visit our website at www.northhillscommunity.org Click the “Donate” button if you would like to support our efforts. Every little bit helps!
The North Hills Community Association (NHCA) serves approximately 10,000 residents of Oakland’s North Hills communities, in an area roughly contiguous with the Oakland Police Department’s beat 13Y. (See map, right.)
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