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Children's Garden plan..what do you think?

what to do about the ruined garden
Now that I have settled down a bit after being so angry at Officer Pretty, I am thinking that since that garden was planted and tended to by those beautiful children, should we not consult them about what they want to do now that the police have destroyed it? They created the garden, I think we should find a way to help them deal with this situation. They will no doubt have more passion to put into what comes next than we will. What do you think?
Questions... 10.Oct.2003 08:35


Who owns the property in question?

Who are these "children" and where did they get the money to buy plants and other supplies?

Why is it your business if you don't have a property interest or a financial stake in the land involved?

Just a few questions from one of the curious passers-by...

People's Park - Berkeley 10.Oct.2003 08:44


The plot of land up Haste Street from Telegraph Avenue was once covered with community housing inhabited by political activists and members of the counterculture. In the late 1960s, the University of California purchased the land and tore down the houses with the plan of building athletic fields. In the face of protest, the university delayed building the fields and left the land vacant, angering community members even further.

On April 18, 1969, the underground paper The Berkeley Barb ran an announcement calling for everyone interested to bring building materials to the lot on Haste and Telegraph to build a community park. People from all walks of life came to participate in the creation of "the People's Park," a huge group effort creating solidarity and community.

Eventually, the university decided to take their private property back. They bulldozed the garden, the pathways, and even the sandbox and put a fence around the lot, enraging community members who had put so much hard work into creating something positive. Thousands of protesters gathered to express their dismay. The protests got out of hand and turned into riots when some people used the chaos as an excuse to be destructive. Rocks and metal rods were thrown at the police. Eventually, the National Guard, in full battle gear, was ordered in by Governor Ronald Reagan to put down the protests. Many people were injured, one was blinded, and another was shot and killed. The streets of Berkeley were shrouded by a blanket of tear gas for days during the demonstrations. The National Guard occupied the City for weeks.

After the riots, the land was reclaimed by the community, which rebuilt the park. In the 1990s, the university attempted to reclaim the park for other uses, and once again met with community resistance and protests. For a period of time, the university and the City of Berkeley had an agreement for the City to run the park, but the agreement has expired and the park is currently both owned and managed by the university.

look further 10.Oct.2003 08:54


I refer to the article about Officer Meyers and his distruction of the children's garden at 13th and Alder. It is in the center section of this site...written on the 8th, I believe. I am just trying to find a way for the children who built the garden to respond to the police department's destruction of it. How would officer Pretty respond to the children's faces....could he look at them and say he was proud of what he had done? This is an on going situation here in Portland.

read on 10.Oct.2003 09:08

bzerkly bob

Not Berkely, HERE in LITTLE BEIRUT, new century, same ol shit:

Dear Skeptic 10.Oct.2003 09:09

wydo Icare

Why do I care? Are you some -oh, never mind...

To Skeptic 10.Oct.2003 09:22


Who owns the property: We do. It's ODOT property, meaning it's public property, meaning it's ours.

Who are these "children" and where did they get the money for plants: These "children" are the children of the First Presbyterian Church across the street. Got a problem with that? Where did they get the money? They planted them from seed. Remember, that's where people used to get plants from...back before Monsanto.

Why is it our business? Because this is our community. "Property interest or financial stake"??? Oh, I feel so sorry for you.

lets replant it 10.Oct.2003 09:30


hey all lets quit the diatribing and start the digging

Take back the Children's Garden! 10.Oct.2003 09:50


Let's get organized on this.

Set a time and place to meet and agree on a plan for the garden. Trees, shrubs, ground cover, sandbox, benches, outhouse, etc.

This time of year we might even get plant donations from some of the nurseries.

Then we will do it!

Bring garden tools, plants, lumber, whatever. Invite the media. Invite Vera. Invite Foxworth.

People's Park in Berkeley was a huge, huge success in building the community. It was a pivitol point in the 60's revolution. Our Children's Garden could make history. Officer Meyers and his fellow assholes may have given us a big advantage in taking the high road in Portland politics.

to flora 10.Oct.2003 09:59


yes, but first we need to build the foundation required. if we start replanting before we have dealt with the problem of officer meyers, then our efforts will only be torn down. i don't feel right putting plants into that kind of jeopardy.

we need to deal with the problem at hand, and that is a rogue police officer who is taking it upon himself to meddle with areas of our community that are not his jurisdiction. we never gave him permission to dig up our community spaces. he's supposed to be out rescuing kitties and helping little old folks. he's not supposed to be doing this.

to mother 10.Oct.2003 10:01


Perfect! Let's plan a time, we know the place. And let's make it soon! Please post it here so those of us in the outlying areas can come and help. This is our community too.

It won't be easy 10.Oct.2003 10:07


Read the history of the People's Park.

It was a very difficult project. Plants and people were hurt and killed.

What beautiful cause. What a beautiful legacy.

hey historian 10.Oct.2003 11:37


Thanks for that story. I'd never even heard of People's Park before.

Pick your battles 10.Oct.2003 12:49


I just visited this place. It is too bad what happened but it is not worth a big effort to salvage it. It is on a hill that slopes down to the freeway. It is noisy. It is not a focal point of anything.

To Mother 10.Oct.2003 13:11


Thanks for taking the time to visit!

I need to say, though, that it WAS a focal point. Seriously! Did you ever see it when the garden was there? I can't believe they did this. The garden was lovely. Little pathways winding through herbs and flowers and all kinds of vegetation. It was so sweet. We all loved it. Now, it's hard to imagine it could ever have been so lovely. I mean, if you didn't see it before, I can understand why you say that. It just looks like a little muddy slope now. But those who saw it before know what I'm saying.

Anyone have pics of it before they did this?

the children 10.Oct.2003 14:42


Let's call the church and ask if the children can be involved in the next step.

rebuilding the park 10.Oct.2003 16:57

Vengeance: Gardening-Style

Make a post of the date chosen to begin restoration of the park and ask PDX IMC to headline it. Make the date a weekend and I'll bring some strong backs from Seattle (and tools too)!

Repost 10.Oct.2003 17:19


This is what one of the people who planted the garden said elsewhere on this site. It was a comment posted the the original article about Meyers.

From a member of the church 10.Oct.2003 14:36


Eric Schrepel eschrepel_at_earthlink.net

I won't dignify Skeptic's trolling remarks with a direct response, but will explain what a loss this is.

I attended First Presbyterian Church for several years, during which time the idea for the garden and its implementation took root. The concept (lost on Officer Meyers) was that a space filled with flowers and beauty was safer than dirt and trash (as supported in studies of crime rates and community gardens in NY and elsewhere). It made the walk across the 405 bridge feel safer and more welcoming to reach the other side full of flowers. It gave a lift both to the church body and to the greater community. It was in line with the church's general urban mission of making downtown safe for everyone (residents, church members, the disenfranchised).

Another of the garden's effects was in bringing people together, where older experienced gardeners taught us young folk (30s) and children a lot about transforming nothingness into beauty. Every year there were small festivals to celebrate the re-planting of the garden. In the midst of several blocks of concrete, freeways and buildings, there stood this glen of color and peace.

The fact that homeless may have enjoyed it during "off hours" is completely inconsequential. Perhaps they felt safer there than in less hospitable public spaces. If they occasionally used it for a bathroom, they seemed to do so discretely and with respect for the space, as there weren't concerns about it within the church. Certainly, church members never felt that the garden was attracting the wrong crowd--quite the opposite.

So I've left my messages with Officer Meyers and ODOT, I'll call the church to find out why there wasn't a stronger fight to stop the destruction, and maybe a letter to the editor to highlight how our "culture of fear" drives the sense out of decision-making. In the meantime, a thing of beauty is uprooted to discourage a few homeless. As in Iraq, it's easier to destroy than create.

Grand Idea! 11.Oct.2003 13:47


Have a date/time in mind for the replant? Can we by any chance get any of the original children on board, or a child spokesperson to ask this self important sycophant to explain himself? A children's march on city hall is very difficult to hide from the press, although the mafia in blue probably would have few qualms about pepper spraying their little persons.



i spoke with officer meyers and he told me about how odot and the police went to the church and told them
that if they did not agree to removing the garden they would be held liable for anything that happens there.

this is part of a larger effort to make neighborhoods inhospitable to the "criminal element".

while some people are acting in a way that is unhealthy (think needles and human waste)

removing all that makes our nhoods look nice is not the answer.

i'm pissed that they did not even talk to the neighbors or the neighborhood association or other groups.

(other than intimidating the church).

it may be too late to save the garden, but we can have a voice in what happens next to that area,

we can also make sure the city knows we want more pocket parks and gardens, not less.

and that we want safe neighborhoods, but that harrassment of homeless is not how that works!