Berkeley’s People’s Park is now almost unrecognizable

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By journalsofus.com


The operation, which began early this morning, marks the university’s most brazen attempt to move forward with its plans to build student accommodation, homeless and low income people in the 2.8 acre park. When the university had previously attempted to secure it with a fence in August, protesters quickly tore it down.

The containers were trucked overnight and stacked two high and two deep around three sides of the park bordering Haste and Bowditch streets and Dwight Way. Police expelled 40 people from the park, University of California, Berkeley spokesperson Kyle Gibson told SFGATE, and although seven people were arrested, they were released shortly after.

Views of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, Thursday, January 4, 2024.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE
Views of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, Thursday, January 4, 2024.Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

By morning, the bins were in place and a grid of about nine blocks around the park was behind barricades manned by large groups of police. Inside the barricades, the streets were largely quiet except for law enforcement and construction crews.

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Shortly before noon on Thursday, a protest gathered on Telegraph Avenue and Haste Street to demonstrate against the closure. But aside from a shouting match between protesters and a supporter of the university’s plans, Thursday’s demonstration was calm.

Although development plans for the park are on hold pending a case currently before the California Supreme Court, Gibson said the university hopes for a positive ruling and wants to be prepared when it arrives. Although the court has not yet heard oral arguments, as SFGATE previously reportedwill issue its resolution 90 days after they occur.

Aerial view of People's Park in Berkeley, California, January 5, 2024.

Aerial view of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, January 5, 2024.

Lance Yamamoto/SFGATE

Once the ruling is issued and becomes official 30 days later, construction can begin. But until then, a coalition of groups opposed to the plans are promising more demonstrations to “take back our park.”

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Dumpsters line Bowditch Street on the east side of People's Park with the UC Berkeley bell tower in the distance.

Dumpsters line Bowditch Street on the east side of People’s Park with the UC Berkeley bell tower in the distance.

Kent German/SFGATE

An excavator flattens the west end of People's Park.

An excavator flattens the west end of People’s Park.

Kent German/SFGATE

Aerial view of People's Park in Berkeley, California, January 5, 2024.

Aerial view of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, January 5, 2024.

Lance Yamamoto/SFGATE

Construction workers level the ground at People's Park in Berkeley, California, on January 4, 2024.

Construction workers level the ground at People’s Park in Berkeley, California, on January 4, 2024.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The items are gathered in a pile in the center of People's Park in Berkeley, California, on January 4, 2024.

The items are gathered in a pile in the center of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, on January 4, 2024.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

A loader tractor works on grading land at People's Park in Berkeley, California, on January 4, 2024.

A loader tractor works on grading land at People’s Park in Berkeley, California, on January 4, 2024.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Aerial view of People's Park in Berkeley, California, January 5, 2024.

Aerial view of People’s Park in Berkeley, California, January 5, 2024.

Lance Yamamoto/SFGATE

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