Alien/Robot/Kitty Cat blocks

Okay Oaklanders, let’s review.  Please refer to my previous blog posts, Utility Pole Gnomes and Tiny Dog Paintings of Glenview.  Fresh outta the Glenview neighborhood comes the alien/robot/kitty cat wood blocks found on assorted utility poles on Wellington and Everett Streets –

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Then comes a double gnome/alien-robot-kitty-IMG_0540


Then – BOOM! – a trifecta of gnome/tiny dog/alien-robot-kitty cat IMG_0149

Keep Oakland Beautiful




Help keep our fair town beautiful by volunteering for Keep Oakland Beautiful.  This organization sponsors various neighborhood clean ups, awards small grants to beautification projects and distributes daffodil bulbs in October-November to be planted in public spaces.  If you can’t volunteer, then do your part by not littering!


Cat Town Cafe

The Cat Town Cafe at 29th & Broadway is divided into two spaces: the cafe itself and the Cat Zone, where you can make an appointment to hang out with between 6-20 adoptable cats who luxuriate on cleverly designed, Oakland-themed cat furniture. Founded in 2011 by a group of Oakland animal shelter volunteers, this genius nonprofit has helped over 600 at-risk cats and kittens.

The recently-opened cafe allows them to help even more cats and kittens, and provides soothing, often hands-on animal time for those seeking a feline hangout.


Non-profit Pedal to the Metal

Do you find it hard to believe that a smart, functional, responsive and deeply caring non-profit exists? One that nurtures clients, volunteers and staff through actual mission in action? Well, check out West Oakland’s Next Step Learning Center, where basic literacy, one-on-one GED tutoring, college transition support and workforce counseling are provided free to anyone over 17 years of age. The program grew out of community organizing and provides individualized programs.

Tiny dog paintings of Glenview



People, something is afoot in the Glenview neighborhood.  Guerrilla artists are turning utility poles (ssshhhhhh. . . don’t tell the big bad utility company) into a gallery for very small works of art.  First, the iconic gnomes came.  Now there’s a smattering of tiny paintings of dogs.  To be featured in the future on this blog (stay tuned!) – paintings that the locals have dubbed “the hipster animals” and works I can only describe as Alien/Robot/Kitty Cats.  If you want to tour the dog paintings, here are some locations: Glen Park near Excelsior, Woodruff near Excelsior, Glenfield Avenue near Park, La Cresta and Wellington near Glenview Elementary, DImond Street by Dimond Park.

10,000 Steps Project

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Created by the artistic team of Bruce Douglas and Sue Mark, 10,000 Steps is a series of 50 permanent sidewalk markers in downtown Oakland.  The markers offer a self-guided walking tour that tells the story of the early development of downtown and the communities that flourish in and around downtown Oakland’s historic parks.  You can find maps for “Walking The Invisible City” on their website,

Fruitvale Community Garden




Early in 2012, some longtime Fruitvale residents created a community garden space by reclaiming the city-owned lot at Foothill and Mitchell. Inside, they transformed unused dirt into thriving food gardens surrounded by fresh hay and inspiring murals. Food justice is obviously a strong value, as local residents don’t have to be gardeners to enjoy the bounty. While orange staked plots are for individual use, green stakes mean take what you need, and several large fruit trees are flourishing in the garden.