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Wed Jun 18 2008 (Updated 06/20/08) Berkeley's Memorial Oak Grove Safe for Now
On Tuesday June 18th, Alameda County Superior Judge Barbara Miller upheld a temporary injunction preventing U.C. Berkeley from developing an athletic center in the Memorial Oak Grove. Celebrations broke out among protesters as the news was announced.
imc_photo.gifPhotos | imc_pdf.gifPDF Of Ruling | Tree Supporters Prevail in Berkeley Oak Grove decision | Berkeley Daily Planet Report

The University says they will continue taking down tree-sits and it is not clear how long the oak grove will be safe. Many tree-sit members have said they will remain in the trees until getting a guarantee from the University that the grove will not be cut down.

UC Berkeley officials say that the campus has prevailed on virtually every challenge raised in the lawsuit. "We are thrilled that the judge concluded that state seismic law will allow the Student-Athlete High Performance Center to be built on the site," said Vice Chancellor for Administration Nathan Brostrom at a campus press conference. "The university has prevailed on every single issue in this suit except for two simple, very technical issues," said the university's attorney, Charles Olson.

The issues preventing UC development are related to earthquake risks and additional noise and traffic impacts of their proposed development. While Judge Barbara Miller ruled that the proposed training center itself wouldn't be on the Hayward Fault, she did rule that its construction will involve alterations to the stadium which is on the fault. Therefore, the University must prove that such construction wouldn't violate the Alquist-Priolo Act which regulates new development on active faults. The law only prevents renovating structures on faults if the work amounts to more than half the value of the original building, so it is possible the University merely needs to provide proof that their alterations will amount to less than half the value of the stadium (which the university estimates to be worth $600 million). The proposed athletic center itself is estimated to cost $123 million, so a lifting of the temporary injunction could come as quickly as the University can provide the court with a proof of its cost estimates.

imc_audio.gifAudio from UC Berkeley's Press Conference following court ruling | Other coverage: Campus officials declare 'a major victory' | Both Sides Claim Victory as Judge Issues Stadium Ruling | Judge rules in UC Berkeley's favor | Judge rules in Cal stadium case

Previous Indybay Coverage Of The Oak Grove Tree-Sits

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