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Neighbors Create Do-it-yourself Community Park in Solidarity with Occupation Movement

by Neighbors of S. Pacific (aflurryofcats [at]
Volunteer gardeners want more public gardens and less commercial spaces
Independent of and in solidarity with the growing worldwide Occupation Movement, neighbors have occupied a lot, vacant for decades, and built a DIY public park and a resource for the community. The neglected lot at the corner of Spruce and Pacific has lain vacant and unused for decades. Where formerly it held only trash and occasionally broken furniture, now there are raised flower beds and fruit trees.

On Saturday, volunteer gardeners gathered at dawn to build raised concrete flower beds, plant shrubs and fruit trees, and build benches. By early afternoon they hung a sign to welcome people to the new community park. "This is an ongoing process of creation," said one of the gardeners, "We'll be planting through the winter. As these new sprouts take root it will be beautiful!"

This is an effort to reclaim the commons, to reverse the trend toward privatization of space and give it back to communities. The new community park is a place to hang out, spend time and meet friends, a place to find one another. For two decades in Santa Cruz , public space has increasingly been fenced off, restricted, and sold to commercial interests. Capitalism strives to restrict the commons, to keep us separate, isolated, and vulnerable.

The public is invited to check out the community park at Spruce and Pacific one block from Laurel. Here in Santa Cruz's newest public space, the message is that DIY is all about taking responsibility for the community around you.
§Vacant lot at Pacific and Spruce filled with rubble and trash
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§Guerilla gardeners bring tools and wheelbarrows
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§Garden beds marked on ground in flour
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§Guerilla gardeners stack rock walls of recycled concrete
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§Recycled concrete flower beds taking shape
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§First bed completed and planted
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§Park taking shape
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§Urban blight turned into gardens
by Neighbors of S. Pacific
§Occupied Garden Threatened by Bulldozers NOW
by S. Pacific Neighbors
The community garden created this weekend by neighbors of S. Pacific Ave is due to be destroyed today at 2pm.
Call them and tell them what you think:

208-377-3099 (corporate office)
8475 W. Elisa St.
Boise, Idaho, 93709
§Stay of Execution
by S. Pacific Neighbor
Apparently, the few dozen people who showed up, the phone calls, direct communication with the owners of the lot, and some media attention has resulted in a stay of execution for Spruce Street Park.

The owners of the property and the construction company are generally supportive, but perhaps struggling to find a way to be helpful AND do their job within the narrow confines of capitalism. We recognize that the workers who take their orders from their corporate managers have families to feed as well.

People are gathering at 7am tomorrow to ensure that the park is occupied when workers get to work. Come join us for the sunrise.
§UPDATE: Community Park destroyed by Capitalism
by S. Pacific Neighbor
9am: DIY Community park in Santa Cruz being destroyed 9am Tue. People standing in front of bulldozers. Immediately call Datum Construction 208-377-3099 and Walgreens 847-914-2500. Help them understand the hornets nest they've stepped in. Express your support for the garden and insist they stop the bulldozers.

10am: They bulldozed the garden completely. Neither the local cops, nor the workers, nor the construction company officials, nor the owner of the lot showed the slightest twinge of conscience in destroying a community garden to make a vacant lot. Our hearts are broken.

10:30am: Park is now a fenced off lot containing a large pile of broken concrete, topsoil, and dying plants.
§Spruce Park restored to pile of rubble
by neighbor
§Community Park Demolished
by neighbor
New community park at spruce and pacific being demolished!
Add Your Comments

Comments (Hide Comments)
by local
This is totally awesome! I was walking by this today and felt like I noticed this corner for the first time. I can't even remember what it looked like before, but it wasn't somewhere I would ever have stopped.
by Whitney Wilde
Thank you so much for doing that! I saw you, and now I think I should have taken the time to thank you in person. I will drop some cookies off at Subrosa for you on Wednesday.
by H&J
gee, I hope my yard passes inspection by the new goon squad in town...
by (a)
Yeah I cant believe people just cleaned up that empty lot without asking permission!
I can see how you would be worried about your own corporately-owned but long-abandoned property being beautified by community members also.
I hear the volunteers who created this beautiful space also eat babies! Watch out!
by neighbor
Yes, if your yard is full of trash and feces, I hope someone comes by and turns it into a nice garden.
by Brandon
From the Datum Constr. Co website:

Our motto, “Building Relationships,” never changes.
by H&J
funny that the folks that actually own that particular piece of dirt are now apparently interested in doing something with it.
will it pass the DIY gardeners inspection?
it is up to the owner of the property to decide the fate of their property.
by DW
...people! If any of you know someone well-versed in tort law, ask them about the term "legal liability." The property owner, not a bunch DIYers who don't have a pot to pee in between them probably, is legally responsible for anything that happens on their piece of dirt. No sane property owner wants something set up on their land that exposes them to lawsuit if someone gets hurt, unless they've blessed it beforehand and there are signed agreements in hand. You don't want it bulldozed, work with the owner. Otherwise, kiss it goodbye.
by liability
While I think the garden is prettier than what was there before, keep in mind that the owners have to live in the real world of liability. If you had made it just a garden for display that didn't have benches or make it easy for people to hang out in, the owner might not mind it. However, once you make it a "hangout" (on one of the sketchiest blocks in SC, I might add), it becomes an "attractive nuisance". Let's say some methhead grabs one of the planter rocks and smashes somebody in the head with it, guess who could get sued?
by sprout
Dozens of people gathered and socialized in the garden from 1-3pm. No bulldozers came. Communication was made with the property owner. No further details are available at this time.
by Josefa
Sketchballs have been hanging out on that corner, in that place for 15 goddamned years, and the property owners and developers have done absolutely nothing about it. If they cared about whether people hung out there, they would have done something before now. Choosing to do something now, today, when other people with investment in the neighborhood have finally decided that having a crappy vacant piece of land is not great, appears like a childish fit on the part of the developers.

That corner has been a giant "fuck you" to Lower Pacific Avenue for 15 years. The people commenting here who are apologists for the landlord and developers want that "fuck you" to be reiterated loud and clear and repeatedly. That is the opposite of awesome.
by DO
I believe in beautifying an area to turn it around, but understanding that turning it over to all more liability into an area is not in the property owner's best interest. THEY are liable for injuries because YOU decided to make it more welcoming. If a fight, accident, etc occurs because of someone else has created space that was not authorized, it puts the owners into an actionable situation. Also, any unpermitted improvements on the property puts the landowner into a position where the owner has to pay a fine for work that they did not approve.

Don't like it? Raise the money to purchase or lease the land, and do what the hell you want, while passing the permits required to make it happen. Seriously, consider the consequences of your actions above and beyond yourself. You want to truly do something positive? Get the owner involved instead of making press about something that really you have no control over in the end.

Think through your actions, gain consensus, and then implement. Simple as that.
by Josefa
To DO:

You describe the garden as "not in the property owner's best interest."

How, if I may ask, is a garden LESS in the property owner's best interest than a vacant piece of dirt? How is it MORE likely that someone will become injured there than they would have been injured stepping on one of the used needles with which that piece of vacant dirt has tended to be rife. From your comments it seems clear that you are absolutely unaware of how neglected, dirty, and dangerous that corner has been for the last fifteen years.

There has been absolutely nothing preventing there from being a fight, accident, or injury BEFORE NOW in that same space.

If the property owner was at all worried about liability, then the property owner would have done something before now. For the property owner to suddenly decide to do something with it once it has been improved, and for that doing something to consist of "making it once again crappy" is laughable.

The gardeners have INCREASED THE CURB APPEAL and thus UPPED THE PROPERTY VALUE of the property. Perhaps it is the property owner who needs to arrange with the gardeners not vice versa.

Finally, acting as though the gardeners did not think through what they were doing is to assume that everyone thinks exactly like you, or believes the same things you do. That is also a thinking problem, and one you yourself can address.
by .
I remember that during the peak of the housing bubble, someone had a one room 400sqft cabin listed for $375k two blocks from there.

In my opinion, I support people reporting absentee landlords to code enforcement. It feels like informing, on some level, but there are a small number of these owners total, and their actions influence us all. I've seen some real fire traps around this region, or apartments with degraded plumbing, vacant or junked yards like this, or poor arrangements where a main house and a bunch of trailers parked in the backyard are all splitting utilities.
RE: "The owners of the property and the construction company are generally supportive, but perhaps struggling to find a way to be helpful AND do their job within the narrow confines of capitalism. We recognize that the workers who take their orders from their corporate managers have families to feed as well."


The only countries that I know of that don't allow property ownership are China, Cuba and North Korea. I wonder how that's working out for them... I think we'd be safe in saying that the confines of socialism are much narrower.
by Josefa
Almost every other country also has less ridiculous laws in re: occupying abandoned land and property in which the owner shows no interest or interest that is against the ideals of the community (for example, a corner that is an effective trash pit).

Red-baiting--given that the happiest countries in the world as measured by every poll covering every parameter are all highly socialist--is ridiculous. Try again. Or wait. Don't. Because the next "argument" will be similarly illogical and useless, undoubtedly.
by .
yeah - Norway and Sweden are very wealthy and have some of the highest standard of living in the world. Republicans here would go into conniptions over their style of healthcare and state universities, I suppose. Have you ever researched the prison system of Norway?
by (a)
by DO
Josefa. Did anyone engage the property owner? They are liable for any improvements on their property and the permitting that occurs with that. No? Hmmm.

The people doing the improvements have no vested interest here. They are not going to be held accountable for fines for improvements to the property. Great the property value has increased for curb appeal. The property owner is going to be held for any improvements positive and negative to the property.

Providing a place that is going to encourage more people to hang out through the beautification process is going to encourage people to hang out on private property, a property that the owner is liable for - not the beautifiers.

Encouraging people to hang out in a private area by making it inviting, is inviting problems to occur there.

Now, if you wanted to think through this and figure out a way to get the property owner on your side instead of making them the enemy and fighting "The Man" and causing an adversarial situation, you may find that they are reasonable and willing to work with you, though less likely now since you took on a us vs. them. Likely this person is just as negatively impacted by what is going on with Wall Street and could have been an advocate for you. Instead you put them on the other side of the situation and have lost more support.

I must say I was a supporter of the Occupy movement, but all of these actions of "claiming" peoples property in an adversarial means, puts the movement in a "we are no better than those we are against". I can now honestly say I want nothing to do with anything occupy. It is taint.
by OldSong
If a few of the actions done in solidarity with the occupy movement dishearten you, and make you want nothing to do with the movement, then you should take some responsibility for the movement and realize that anytime a movement is all-inclusive, there will be people doing things in the name of that movement that you don't like. If you really believe in the larger principles, and you actually want to do something about it with other people, you're gonna have to get ready for a mountain of disagreements as to HOW to fix it and not be ready to bail at the first sign of divergent tactics.
by (a)
Jason Reisinger, the site construction manager for DATUM CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT, INC (out of Boise Idaho), is bulldozing the park now. He called the cops to protect him as he did it.
Jason's direct work number is 208-860-5111. Please call him and ask him to allow the community park to remain. If you are more of a letter writer, you can email him at jasonreisinger [at]

Corporate office in Boise, ID:
8475 W. Elisa St.
Boise, Idaho, 93709

Let them know what you think of bulldozing our community parks.
by Rick Astley
Someone called to give me shit me after calling Jake. Here is his number 208 377 3099,

I suggest when calling all these numbers to play Rick Astley- Never Gonna Give You Up. It's really pissing them off and it's pretty funny.
by Rick Astley
Sorry that number is actually 208 362 9458
by Lynda Marin
What now? Beautiful, unique gravestones, individually placed during unobserved moments, one at a time over the ruins . . . painted bright colors, like flowers, perhaps.
by S. Pacific Neighbor
My heart is broken. The world is too much for me. Call me when people are willing to take risks to defend beauty and challenge the idea that ownership is more important than community.
by S. Pacific Neighbor
Just received the "plans" from the current owner of the lot where the DIY garden was. These are the plans that were the supposed justification for why they needed to bulldoze the garden. Wanna guess what the plans were? A half dozen ornamentals planted on the edges of an empty vacant lot filled with a layer of woodchips. That's the plan.
by angry gardeners
If you’re upset like we are, that they’ve bulldozed the park; here is a list of people and companies that should hear from you. Each one is a potential ally in this, and if they here from enough of us, often enough, they’ll realize that the community can and should be entrusted to re-establish the park. Feel free to call back several times throughout the course of the day and week.

Remember, even those who seem adversarial may be a potential allies in the future, once community pressure helps them understand that we prefer usable community spaces rather than vacant lots.

Make sure to read the notes about each number before you call.

Datum Construction Management, Inc. is doing the construction on the new Walgreens going in on the property. This morning Datum destroyed the community park on the corner of Spruce and Pacific.

Corporate office in Boise, ID: 208-377-3099 and 208-362-9458
8475 W. Elisa St.
Boise, Idaho, 83709
Fax: 208-939-6508
keithjones [at]

After voicing your concerns with the corporate headquarters, call back and ask for the program manager for Santa Cruz. That person is giving the orders to destroy the park. He is an angry, belligerent person, so be ready for that.

Jason Reisinger - 208-860-5111 - On site Construction Manager - He calls the shots in Santa Cruz. He ordered the fence going up, and was the one who drove the bulldozer. He doesn't want to feel personally responsible for his actions, so he blames the corporation he works for. Please call him and let him know you are upset that he bulldozed the garden. Tell him you don't approve of his actions, and to put pressure on his bosses. Jason can also be reached at jasonreisinger [at]


They are apparently the ones who do not want there to be a park. They are giving the orders to Datum to remove the park. Let them know that if they want to be a part of the Santa Cruz community, they're going to need to show some respect.
The corporation they made up for the Santa Cruz project is called HCO, LLC - Santa Cruz, which may or may not be relevant when you talk to them.
You can find out more about them at


Hawkins Companies — Idaho
Main Office
855 Broad Street, Suite 300
Boise, Idaho 83702-7153
Phone: 208.376.8522
Fax: 208.376.8523

Rob G. Dickinson (polite person, but he is one of the people who made the decision to bulldoze)
General Counsel
Hawkins Companies LLC
Direct: 208.908.5540
rdickinson [at]

Hawkins Companies — California
3031 Stanford Ranch Rd, Suite 2-215 Rocklin CA 95765
Phone: 916.259.1800
Cell: 916.599.3220
Fax: 916.728.1634

WALGREENS is what Datum Construction is building in the empty building on the lot (It's going in where Kinko's used to be). This corporation is why there is construction going on at all. Call them and ask them why they are moving in to our community and destroying our parks. If they want to be a part of our community, they need to respect it.

Walgreens Contact Info:
847-914-2500 - Corporate Phone Number (takes some navigating through the system to get a real person to talk to.
847-914-2962 - Public Relations (Robert)
847-914-4476 - Facilities and Planning
847-914-2500 - Call and say 'DEPARTMENT' then say 'CONSTRUCTION'
by H&J
the level of entitlement shown in this episode is truly astounding.
remember folks, that making claim to something that is not yours is the exact attitude of the 1%.

yeah! that unusable lot that has been abandoned for decades should continue to be an eyesore! private property! let it keep collecting trash like capitalism intended. it's all part of gods plan.
by G
let it keep collecting trash

You buried the lede.

by thx for pics
thats really cool u guys made a garden like that. these things are really important for giving and loving as opposed to the greedy trash heaps of vacant "property" laying around. gardening is a great thing and the more we run out of oil the harder its going to be for corporations (and their pawns) to run them over.
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