Our Accomplishments, Your Benefits
After reviewing this snapshot of what we have done in the past and continue to work on, we hope you’ll agree that your membership dues are an unbeatable bargain. If you’re not a current member*, join today.
When Piedmont Pines Club was formed in 1941, it operated with two primary goals: To get neighbors acquainted and to provide an avenue for members to express themselves about community problems. There were business meetings, social events and action committees. Action committees stayed busy with building restrictions, street repairs, transportation and construction of new schools. There was even a Plans Approval Committee that reviewed every new house, concentrating on two questions: Is the builder doing a good job for the buyer? Is the house in keeping with its surroundings? Such authority is no longer legal, but it served to make Piedmont Pines the special place it is today.
In 2004, we changed our name to Piedmont Pines Neighborhood Association from Piedmont Pines Club, Inc., and reincorporated as a nonprofit PUBLIC BENEFIT CORPORATION, 501 (c)4.
Major accomplishments span 5 decades
This has been among our Board's highest priorities primarily because of decreased fire risk and reduced power outages. Once intended to cover all streets in PPNA, utilities and regulators ultimately divided our area into three phases and allowed only our major streets and a handful of offshoots. PPNA meets monthly with the city and utilities to keep the project on track (a daunting task) and get the myriad roadblocks removed. For a recap of our beleaguered history on this project, visit our Undergrounding section.
Montclair Organized Neighborhoods (MONs)
In partnership with Montclair Neighborhood Council, Piedmont Pines set a very aggressive goal in 2004 to organize 100% of its neighborhoods into what are now 27 MONs (Montclair Organized Neighborhoods), each with roughly 40 homes, a block captain, roster, schedule for training on crime prevention, emergency preparedness—and, of course, socializing. Neighbors who know one another (a challenge in these busy times) do more to protect one another than any band of city agencies can ever do. See our MON page to see what MON you're in, and the benefits and resources available to MONs.
Long before the advent of personal Green Bins for yard debris, the association organized chipping services throughout its neighborhoods. This service reduced fire fuel and helped keep yards neat and tidy. Today, to supplement Green Bin disposal at our homes and city-provided free chipping services, the association sponsors a debris dumpster at two to three locations each year during Earth Day (April) and Creek to Bay Day (September).
Between 2019 and 2020, we hosted three fire safety forums to raise awareness of risks and mitigations around our homes and within our boundaries. We work closely with the Oakland Fire Department to better understand the vegetation management expectations and inspection process. We have had Fire Safety forums for residents each year since 2019.
Once PG&E announced its wildfire prevention program, PPNA began working with them to improve communication with affected property owners whose trees were being trimmed away from wires, and to be better prepared for Public Safety Power Shutoffs.
In 2021, Oakland passed a resolution elevating fire safety as a top priority across all departments and established a Wildfire Working Group to put specific plans in place to accomplish the goals of the resolution. PPNA partnered with Oakland Firesafe Council to draft the legislation and garner support for its passage.
Safer Walking Paths
PPNA helped the City raise private funds for the construction of a safer pathway from Joaquin Miller and Montera Schools to Montclair Village. The new path replaced a dirt pathway that was rutty and muddy during the rainy season. The new path opened in 2010.
Reducing Fire Fuel While Preserving and Beautifying our Open Spaces Through Adopt-a-Spot Management
- Marj Saunders Park (Ascot at Chelton): Our Official Welcome Mat
The association prevented development and deterioration of Sulphur Springs at Ascot and Chelton. The array of boulders at the base of the waterfall was once our neighborhood "newspaper,” dubbed the Painted Rocks until ecological concerns about paint runoff made this an illegal activity.
Each year, in conjunction with Earth Day in April and Creek to Bay Day in September, the association sets aside a weeding and fuel reduction day for that area in order to keep a pristine welcome mat into Piedmont Pines. In 2004, the park was dedicated and renamed, Marj Saunders Park. Monthly volunteer clean-up crews now tend this lovely spot.
- Beaconsfield Canyon (1987)
The association convinced the City to buy the property that surrounds the Painted Rocks thus defeating a 16-home development. The land remains as open space, with volunteers working monthly to restore the native habitat and reduce fire risk.
- Castle Canyon (2006)
The land bordered by Castle Drive on the east and Mastlands Drive/Larry Lane on the west was at one time 30 acres threatened by a huge development. Two neighbors each purchased 10 acre portions, leaving the last 10 acres open to development. In 1999, the developer proposed 17 homes. The association went into high gear, gathering environmentalists, slope engineers and attorneys to fight what would have been a very dangerous development. In 2006, we emerged triumphant, with the City agreeing to purchase 8 acres as open space, which is now part of Joaquin Miller Park.
Staying in touch is both our highest priority and our biggest expense. We've grown our communication infrastructure from mimeographed letters and labels into a 21st century operation.
1999: We created the beginning of an e-mail network which has now grown to over 1500 addresses, enabling us to communicate electronically with most of our members about upcoming events, crime waves, association business, Montclair-wide issues. Our budget would not accommodate communication at this frequency using snail mail.
2002: Our website was born.
2005: We seriously upgraded our Annual Meetings and moved them to Chabot Space and Science Center, where we typically enjoy a standing room only crowd of ~250.
2006: We instituted an emergency call system where we can, for example, alert residents at at home, cell or work if there’s an emergency or urgent situation in the neighborhood. We use this sparingly.
2013: We launched Piedmont Pines Nextdoor, a listserve just for us. Subscriptions climbed in just one year from zero to nearly 1,000.
2014: We migrated off a hodgepodge of software and website platforms onto a seamless platform that integrates our finance, communication, website and membership management functions.
Forums and Training
During election years, we host candidate forums so we can make informed choices about issues and our elected representatives.
We also host forums on critical issues such as fire safety, emergency preparedness, vegetation management and more.
2011: By advocating on behalf of 1100+ Piedmont Pines households and urging residents to file individual complaints, we were successful in getting Mountain Blvd near the Hwy 13 ramps moved to the top of the City’s list of paving priorities.
2017: PPNA conducted a survey of roads most in need of repair and traffic calming. As one of the few neighborhoods to have clear data points, PPNA was able to make a more compelling case for inclusion of its worst streets in the city's 3 year paving plan.
2019: We were successful in partnering with nearby associations to Mountain Blvd paved in the Woodminster area.
2021: PPNA streets slated for paving in 2021 include Ascto from Mountain to Chelton; Bagshotte; Castle Park Way; Chelsea from Chelton to Girven; Chelton from Haverhill to Chelsea; Joaquin Miller Ct; La Cuesta and Thackeray.
2022: All PPNA streets deemed in "serious need of repair" by PPNA survey respondents were incorporated into the City's 2022 5-year paving plan.
Redistricting: City Council and School Board
Following the census every 10 years, City Council and OUSD School Board districts are realigned to match updated demographics.
2022: A variety of realignments were proposed, but one that was most alarming started gaining traction. This plan would have split Oakland into districts running north to south instead of the traditional east/west configuration. The biggest issue for PPNA was having all communities in the highest fire risk area were banded as one single district, meaning fire prevention measures would have only one voice on the City Council. There were several other problems with this proposal, and it took a band of tireless volunteers and activists to get the map adjusted. There are now three counclmembers representing the high fire areas.
Mail and Identity Theft
2003: While mail and identity theft were raging throughout the country, Piedmont Pines, in conjunction with Montclair Safety and Improvement Council (MSIC), implemented a wide-reaching public information campaign on theft prevention. We urged residents to replace non-locking mailboxes, and worked closely with USPS and local law enforcement to demonstrate to thieves: we’re on alert and not worth your trouble. Mail theft reports dropped substantially, but new waves continue to occur.
1968: A huge slide on Chelton near Chelsea blocked the road for 2 years. Piedmont Pines association stepped in to add pressure on city agencies to get the slide removed and the road reopened.
2017: A severe storm brought a hillside down onto Ascot near Chelton and destroyed the path from that intersection to Larry Lane. We are STILL working on reconstruction of both areas.
2020: A slide on Mastlands from the 2017 storm was finally repaired
We've worked with CalTrans to preserve and protect our interests on four fronts: 1) defeated a sound wall along Hwy 13 from Joaquin Miller Road to Park Blvd; 2) won the agency's concession to relandscape Hwy 13 after the median barriers were replaced; 3) trim trees along Hwy 13 to prevent fire ladders; and 4) speedy removal of highway trash.
2005: The association lobbied successfully for inclusion of a property owners right to maintain the view at the time they purchased their home. Note: It is very important to take photographs at the time of purchase.
Widening Skyline Blvd
1974: The association defeated a plan to widen Skyline Blvd. into a four lane highway. We continue to plead with the city for on traffic calming measures, particularly on Chelton and Skyline.
Shell Oil Pipeline
1965: The association successfully lobbied against this intrusive and dangerous installation along Skyline Blvd. See a resident's recollection of this issue here.
1962: The association pushed for and won a long-delayed replacement of septic tanks with sewers in all but a few locations, which are still problematic.
1949: The association lobbied to end busing our children into Glenview, and successfully negotiated the purchase of the old Boy Scouts’ Camp Diamond, now the site of both Joaquin Miller Elementary and Montera Middle schools. The property cost $52,000, $25,000 of which was raised from neighbors through subscriptions.
Ongoing: We stay very active with our public schools and maintain a liaison position on our Board to keep ourselves plugged in with their needs and ways our association can help them thrive.