On the houseboat in Mission Creek, we have been residing in one of the denser parts of San Francisco: SOMA, or “South of Market”. It is where most of the new housing has been built, where most of the new technology businesses have been established, and where most of the City’s bicycle and pedestrian deaths by car collision occurred last year.

IMG_5542In addition, the University of California and the Mission Bay Development Co. have built, in only a few years, a huge bio-medical campus, hundreds of condos and student dorms, labs, and new medical hospitals for Kaiser Permanente and Children’s. The building noise and dust never stops….and the current construction focal point has been only a football field away behind the houseboat community. Two pile drivers pound away from 8 AM to 5 PM Monday-Friday, creating 4 blasts, that echoes back X 4 from the wall of concrete condominiums across the Creek. That’s about eight loud syncopated chaotic beats every two seconds. Intense. Nerve wracking. For the last months, the view from our parking area looked like this.

IMG_3479We left the boat for a week, and upon our return, the building had been leveled, and large equipment and rubble filled the space, readying the pile drivers for the next assault, now only 500 feet away! Although the spacious houseboat provides a huge space for Sally to paint very large canvases, we live in Albany during the week, returning on weekends for QUIET ENJOYMENT OF OUR HOME. We miss the graffiti too.

IMG_3641With a good long lease, and significant community support, our charming houseboat community is protected from eviction, even as the real estate values around us skyrocket.

IMG_3625This area used to be a haven for the homeless. Encampments of 20-30 people grow overnight next to our community garden, until they get rousted by the SFPD, after a lot of complaining by their neighbors, many weeks later. They have nowhere to go in this expensive city, and I could be more tolerant if they didn’t deposit their feces, garbage and abandoned goods along the public bike and pedestrian trails. They are often hostile and block the trail to keep the neighbors from seeing the piles of stolen bikes barely hidden under tarps. These encampments are traveling “chop shops” for bike parts. How do we know? Mostly children’s bikes are in evidence, yet nary a child is seen at the encampments. The chop shops exist because the SFPD has never developed a system for matching recovered bikes with the owners who filed bike theft police reports. Only recently has the SF Bicycle Coalition and the SFPD begun working together to make bike recovery/return a real possibility.  Perhaps with no stolen items to protect, the homeless here can become less hostile to the neighbors. We’re CHARMING, remember? For a newspaper article printed today and photos of our Mission Creek community, please go to this link:


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About Sally

A Studio Artist and painter trained at Stanford university, Sally has since then graduated from a long career as an Attorney with the Public Defender, and returned to painting. Living in Mexico with her son for a year, they adopted a feral dog, Lety. Sally's son left for college and their dog adopted her new best friend, Steven.

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