Video Captures Bad Bike Accident on Steeps of Cortland

Neighbors who live along the eastern end of Cortland Avenue are puzzling over a security camera video that captured a frightening bicycle accident at the southeast corner of Cortland and Bronte.

The accident, which occurred last Thursday morning, August 3, may have also involved a Cadillac SUV. While the exact sequence of events is unclear, the cyclist may have lost control after the Cadillac turned left onto Bronte while traveling west on  Cortland.

The cyclist has not been identified, and there is no further information about the cyclist’s condition. Neighbors say the Cadillac left the scene after the accident, and the driver has also not been identified.

Thursday: Dispensary to Host Fundraiser for Rocket Dog Rescue

This Thursday, July 20, the Harvest Dispensary on 29th Street in La Lengua will host a fundraiser for Rocket Dog Rescue.

As you may recall, Rocket Dog suffered a financial blow last month when the canine-rescue group’s founder was mugged near her Bernal Heights home. Harvest founder Marty Higgins tells Bernalwood:

Cannabis dispensary Harvest off Mission teamed up with The Front Porch to host a special fundraiser this Thursday July 20th from 6-10pm to raise money for Rocket Dog Rescue.

As reported on Bernalwood, the owner of Rocket Dog was forcibly robbed of their funded dollars last month. 100% of ticket sales and all proceeds will go to Rocket Dog Rescue.

The $50 ticket includes an eighth of Alegria Organic cannabis, a dab bar by Brite labs, home style fried chicken from SF’s Front Porch, exotic infused cannabis cocktails from award winning mixologist Alex Riddle, DJ Duserock, along with raffle prizes and a silent auction.

Harvest off Mission felt it imperative to support Rocket Dog Rescue after the appalling crime. One of the best ways to improve our community is to stand by our community organizations, especially in times like this. The robbery of Pali [Rocket Dog Rescue cofounder] was not only horrific but extremely untimely as the money stolen came from a fundraiser.

Tickets for the event can be purchased here.

Only individuals with legally recognized Medical Cannabis Identification Cards or a verifiable, written recommendation from a physician for medical cannabis may attend this event.

Thu, July 20, 2017
6:00 PM – 10:00 PM PDT

Harvest Off Mission
33 29th Street

Chainlink Fence Art Installation Unites Neighbors Working to Rebuild

Completed installation on Mission Street last week. Photo: The artist via CurbedSF

Last week, a new art installation appeared on the chain-link fence that spans the vacant Mission Street lot near 29th Street where Cole Hardware stood before the 2016 fire.

Brock Keeling at CurbedSF got the scoop:

Almost one year after his “Home Street Home” piece appeared along beleaguered Division Street, a local artist, who has requested anonymity, has completed another work. Once again he uses a chainlink fence for a canvas, but this time the message is different. In fact, it’s incomplete, which is exactly how he wants it.

“Given the history of the neighborhood, the fire, loss, and the displacement of so many residents, it felt appropriate to use the quote, but to not finish it,” says the artist. “This leaves the meaning open to interpretation. Each person will fill in the blank on their own.”

Members from Galería de la Raza and Secession Art and Design helped tie the final product together.

Neighbor Eden Stein from Secession Art and Design was part of the team that helped install the piece, and when Bernalwood spoke to her last week, her face was still sunburned from a day spent attaching little flags to the fence.

Neighbor Eden said working on the project had been a powerful and uplifting experience, so we asked her to tell us about it. Here’s Neighbor Eden’s story about the making of the chain-link art installation:

My passion is running Secession Art & Design and also being President of the Mission Bernal Merchants Association. This is my home and community.

One year ago, I did not know all of the merchants of the 3300 Block where the fire occurred, and now we are family. Something happens when you go through a hardship together, like a fire, and all you want to do is help. For this past year I have fundraised, listened, supported, done advocacy to connect merchants with city agencies, and been someone that the merchants can depend on when they can’t get an answer.

This past year I have gotten to know the owners of Playa Azul, Cole Hardware, El Grand Taco Loco, and the 3300 Club. My co-corridor coordinator, Ani Rivera, joined the MBMA team this year and we were so excited to get a small grant to do a temporary beautification project on the Playa Azul and Cole Hardware fence. Ani is the director of Galleria De la Raza and lives in Mission Bernal.

Playa Azul is going through the planning process to rebuild, and they wanted a facade to let people know they are coming back. Urban quilt artist, Amy Ahlstrom met with the Sanchez family to create a coming soon sign. She photographed the mother and daughter, and the family gave us a photo of their grandmother; three strong women that are determined to rebuild the restaurant. The sign is based on their exterior sign that was one of the only things left after the fire.

Unfortunately, not even 24 hours after installing the Playa Azul sign, somebody painted over it with house paint, along with graffiti on the 3300 building.

But this artwork is not graffiti. This is an approved project by the city and property owners of Playa Azul. This is public art. A new panel has been ordered and will replace the damaged panel.

A local artist came up with the design for The Cole Hardware fence: 2000 plastic pieces make up the lettering that reads from across the street, or passing by on the bus, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE…. You get to fill in the blank. Home? Cole Hardware? Whatever is special to you?

So many merchants and residents lost their businesses and homes. Where did they go? This really changed our community, and we hope they can come back. During the install, everyone who walked by had a story to tell about what they needed from Cole.

I could barely sleep on Tuesday night in anticipation of these art installations going up on Wednesday. I woke up early to help install. A beautiful crew from Galleria De Raza Gallery on 24th Street volunteered and we had a great time talking and installing. We even had a few people passing by that took time from their day to stop and help.

All day long the community came out and talked about how much they missed this block and all the merchants. Three people were brought to tears knowing that Playa Azul was actually coming back. A women slammed on her breaks, double parked, and gave me a hug. This project is about bringing people together, and a message that the people and merchants that make this neighborhood are on our mind and we are right by their side as they rebuild.

El Paisa is the first business closed by the fire to reopen on the block. At one point in the day the owner, Jose told all of us installing it was time to take a break and eat. We sat in his restaurant that is filled with so much love and persistence and had an incredible lunch that meant much more than food.

Thank you to everyone who made this day happen!

XO Eden

PHOTOS: Top, courtesy of the artist. Below, process photos courtesy of Eden Stein.

Wayward Truck Gets Really Stuck on Northeast Bernal Streets

Stuck trucks are a Bernal Heights tradition.

This is because to look at Bernal Heights on a map is to see a tempting variety of shortcuts which give no indication that our hilly topography and narrow, winding streets are way too tight for many big vehicles to traverse.  Indeed,  the advent of digital navigation tools like Google Maps and Waze may have actually helped reduce the frequency of the problem, by actively routing drivers away from Bernal streets where calamity and shame are likely to ensue.


Last night a FedEx tractor-trailer driver learned the hard way that the streets of northeast Bernal Heights are best avoided in a big-rig. Neighbor Ryan  was on the scene:

Fedex truck jammed into the sharp corner at Peralta and Florida, been stuck for well over an hour, blocking the street.

… where the truck remained for a few more hours into the night, when a recovery crew arrived to extract the hapless truck and its humiliated driver from the unfortunate intersection.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Neighbor Ryan

Bernal Family Back Home Again After Cole Hardware Fire

In 2016, the Vasquez family was living in an apartment on 29th Street, just around the corner from Mission Street. On June 18, 2016, they were displaced by the massive Cole Hardware fire that devastated several adjacent buildings on the block.

This month, the Vasquez family returned home to their restored apartment. Marty Higgins, the owner of the building at 37 29th Street and CEO of the Harvest dispensary on the ground floor, explains how it happened:

The Vazquez family moved back into a newly renovated apartment on July 1st.

They had to leave after the fire. They were placed in temporary housing that was offered, and then moved into a semi-perm residency until we finished renovations on their apartment.

The family has two kids, and they lost everything. It was heartbreaking to tour their unit, so our ownership group gave them a gift certificate after the fire to help with the little things. Then the Harvest dispensary raised over $2k to help them get settled into their newly renovated apartment.

We’re excited to see the area slowly start to return to normal. We hope the new developments will help this area return to the vibrancy it had before the fire. For now, we’re happy to help the turnaround of the area.

As previously reported, a new building has already been proposed for the former Cole Hardware site at at 3310-3312 Mission Street. As planned, the building would include 8 new homes above a new Cole Hardware store on the ground floor.

PHOTO: The Vasquez family, back home again. Courtesy of Marty Higgins

Crowdfunding Underway for Alex Nieto Memorial on Bernal Hill

Rendering of proposed Alex Nieto memorial on Bernal Hill (Source: gofundme)

A crowdfunding effort is currently underway to finance a memorial for Bernal neighbor Alex Nieto, who was killed during a confrontation with San Francisco police officers in March 2014.

Launched by friends and family of Alex Nieto, the crowdfunding campaign says:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors’ voted 9 to 1 in favor of the “Amor for Alex Nieto Memorial,” which means that this ordinance is veto proof from the Mayor. We will transform history with this powerful monument.

For Alex Nieto, for our community, we fought this fight, and we won the first memorial ever in California dedicated to a victim of a police killing. We held our dignity and proved to the world how we argue better and action more creatively and courageously than anyone ever could imagine.

Once the memorial is established, community members will hike up to that mountain and pray like Alex did and look out over the beautiful view of San Francisco and be inspired by our community resilience. Students will travel up to that hill for field trips and to learn about the history and creativity of our community; they will write thousands of educational essays. Families will pilgrimage hands together and love each other at the place where Alex breathed his last breath. This will be a place of peace, of inspiration and amor.

Bernal neighbors who would like to contribute to the memorial campaign may do so here. At publication time, the campaign has raised $2500 of a $40,000 goal.

Alex Nieto lived on Cortland Avenue with his parents, Elvira and Refugio Nieto. He was killed during a March 21, 2014 confrontation,  during which police alleged Alex Nieto pointed a weapon that looked like a handgun.

A San Francisco District Attorney investigation of the incident concluded that police acted lawfully during the incident, and during a subsequent wrongful death suit initiated by the Nieto family, a jury ruled the SFPD officers involved in the incident had not used excessive force.

Friends and family of Alex Nieto maintain his death was a byproduct of gentrification. In 2016 , then-San Francisco supervisors John Avalos and David Campos passed an ordinance directing the City to install a memorial for Alex Nieto on Bernal Hill.

Seasonal Reminder: Kindly Refrain From Incinerating Bernal Hill on July Fourth

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Bernal Hill on fire, July 4, 2013

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July! Hooray! There will be barbecues, and patriotism, and lamentations that our president is a clown, and at the end of the day there will be fireworks. That last part can pose some problems, so here’s a seasonal request for all Citizens of Bernalwood: Please do not turn Bernal Hill into a blazing inferno.

Bernal Hill is a popular place to watch the official fireworks pink fog show put on by the City, but the dry grass makes it a dangerous place for civilians to stage their own fireworks displays. For example, the photo above shows Bernal Hill on July 4, 2013, after an amateur fireworks show set the hill on fire. Doh!

That was bad. Let’s not do that again. So here’s your annual reminder of some time-tested Fourth of July fire prevention tips for Bernal Hill from Neighbor Sarah:

1. Do not set off fireworks. Definitely don’t set them off on Bernal Hill, which is covered in dry grasses and brush. You may recall that [in 2013], some moron set the Hill on fire. Luckily, no one was hurt, but imagine if this had happened in an area crowded with people watching the downtown fireworks display. If you remember nothing else, remember this: No. Fireworks. On. Bernal. Hill.

2. If you see someone setting off illegal fireworks on Bernal Hill, call the police. Dial 553-0123 if nothing is on fire yet. Dial 911 or 553-8090 if there is an active blaze. Again, call 553-0123 if you see fireworks in progress, and call 911 if it actually sets off a fire.

PHOTO: Fire on Bernal Hill, July 4, 2013, by Neighbor Bernard