Vantage Point Park

This tiny park is at East 12th Street and 13th Avenue, on a low rise next to a lot of activity. Between here and the water—Brooklyn Basin, the innermost part of Oakland Inner Harbor—run East 8th Street, I-880, Embarcadero Street, BART and the Southern Pacific rail line, plus I’m sure a number of underground power and water lines and what not. It’s a highly concentrated lifeline corridor. Across the way is the Coast Guard base on Government Island. In the distant left corner you can just see Alameda Island. Except for the hummock in the foreground, everything visible is made land, artificial fill, with a high water table. It was created more or less haphazardly starting a century ago, and under strong shaking an unknown proportion of this type of old fill is prone to liquefaction.

Past the left edge of this photo, a little buried creek valley running down 14th Avenue reaches the bay. It’s all filled in, too. All the crowded life lines I mentioned cross that creek bed. In the next big Hayward fault earthquake, this is a vulnerable spot.

I took this shot on 19 November 2008 during a walk I took the length of Oakland, from the San Leandro to the Ashby BART stations. Below is a view on a less moody day looking up from the point of the Point.

The topography in this part of town is subtle. The point is one edge of a gap in the Clinton terrace, where Brooklyn Creek has eroded a channel through it.

One Response to “Vantage Point Park”

  1. Darby Rust Brandli Says:

    Carolyn Douthat and I worked to get this little parcel of land designed and funded with Community Block Grant money around 1979. The waterfront area is historically significant to the development of Oakland. One has a perfect Vantage Point while standing on this parcel.

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