BrightView Revitalizes Garden Dedicated to Victims of 1991 Oakland Wildfire
Nestled in the mountainous region outside Oakland, Calif., the North Hills neighborhood is a quiet community that features a community garden and a memorial garden that both, in their separate ways, remember a deadly wildfire from more than 30 years ago.
The Firestorm Memorial Garden, created in 1993, honors the memories of the lives lost in the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm with a bronze sculpture surrounding by the names of the victims on low walls. It also includes a drinking fountain, which honors Oakland Fire Department Battalion Chief James Riley, who lost his life trying to save residents from the fire.
Nearby, the Gateway Emergency Preparedness Exhibit Center has a Fire Resistant Demonstration Garden, displaying a model landscape of the city’s requirements for a defensible space that has the plant material and mulches appropriate for the region’s climate and topography.
Following recent historic rainfall which overwhelmed it, the two gardens were in need of some TLC. BrightView eagerly stepped up to assist with the restoration of the community and memorial gardens, which included removing overgrowth, eradicating non-native vegetation, and general beautification and enhancement of the garden beds.
“We were honored to provide our landscaping expertise to help revitalize and rejuvenate these important community memorials,” said Loren Olson, BrightView Account Manager. “The garden is designed to be a place for reflection and remembrance, and we focused our work on creating a safe and attractive site for many years to come.”
The North Hills Community Association (NHCA) is passionate about the gardens and its importance in giving residents an example of how to maintain their landscapes to prevent another disaster, such as the firestorm it memorializes, and BrightView was honored to be called in to help.
“[BrightView’s] dedicated efforts and professional knowledge to cull gardens of inappropriate vegetation and create healthy growth areas has made a marked improvement,” said Daniel Conolly, Chairman of the NHCA. “We particularly want to acknowledge the planning that BrightView undertook to accomplish this task, and for developing a more sustainable long-term program that would work for both gardens.”
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