Saturday, September 21, 2013 is Creek to Bay Day. From 9 am to 12 noon, volunteers coordinate throughout Oakland to help clean up the city’s creeks and other watersheds, from their sources in the Oakland Hills to their outlets in the San Francisco Bay. Creek to Bay Day is held in conjunction with International Coastal Cleanup Day and is sponsored in California by the California Coastal Commission.
Courtland Creek runs along Courtland Avenue through the Maxwell Park, Fairfax and Fremont districts and is one of the sites involved in the clean-up efforts. A revitalized Friends of Courtland Creek is hosting the clean up, and is meeting with volunteers at 9am at the corner of Thompson and Courtland, behind Fremont High School, and working its way up from there.
At 12 noon, Iconoclast Productions volunteers are coming in to repaint the sculpture located at San Carlos and Courtland with materials donated by Friends of Courtland Creek. One of Iconoclast’s board members adopted the corner, and the organization has promised to keep the area clean moving forward. Other volunteers are welcome to join in the repainting.
Award-winning designer Walter J. Hood is the creative talent behind the monument, which honors the old Key System streetcars that once ran down Courtland. The prominent gray structure is approximately the height of a single-story building and features a corrugated metal roof. The center of the structure has a rectangular shape with a gap where a single person can enter and stand, and it loosely resembles an old Key System station. The sides of the sculpture are engraved with a series of lines that depict the old Key System street car line maps. Mr. Hood, who has been actively designing public spaces since the late 1980s, created the sculpture in the early 1990s.
“I believe it is twenty years old now,” said Mr. Hood.
Spots of darker gray can be seen on the sculpture where graffiti was covered, and the repainting will restore it to a uniform light gray color.
Courtland Creek has two official clean-ups per year on Creek to Bay Day, and on Earth Day. Recent efforts by Humberto Bracho and the East Oakland youth in East Bay Academy for Young Scientists (EBAYS), the area around Thompson and Courtland has gotten a lot of extra clean-up help as the students have worked to restore native plant life and test the waters for pollution.