May 11

Dale Dougherty

Dale Dougherty

Save The Shipyard

The Shipyard in Berkeley, a collection of shipping containers and a collective for artists and tinkerers, was given three days by the city of Berkeley to "vacate and abate" or face fines of $2500/day. The Shipyard has a history of conflicts with the city of Berkeley, such that the city denied them access to the electrical grid. In response, The Shipyard's Jim Mason designed a solar power system so that The Shipyard produced all the energy it consumed. Now, it appears the conflict has come to a sad end with the city of Berkeley forcing the Shipyard to move out now. This is a blow to the unique maker culture of the Bay Area as well as the Burning Man community.

Photo Credit: Scott Beale,

Jim Mason writes in email to the Shipyard mailing list:

We therefore have decided to end our art and alternative energy endeavers here in the City of Berkeley and move to a new location.

We come to this conclusion with tremendous sadness and loss, as the open collaborative space we have built here has become a deeply vibrant art/tech skunkworks, continually churning out heroic creativity in the arts as well as very needed innovation in DIY, open source, alternative energy endeavors. We have undertaken these activities as a community collaboration, and used our creative and innovative work as an civic engine for generating meaningful community for many. The results have been tremendous, vastly exceeding any expectations we had when we started this 6 years ago.

Jim adds that "the core issue in this has been what the city wants to justify the
containers as structurally sound buildings." This unique makeshift feature of the Shipyard is its stacking of old shipping containers to house supplies and studios and large batteries that are re-charged each day.

Jim has written the city asking for a month to vacate the premises and he's in the process of securing a new location in Oakland if possible -- mirroring The Crucible's move from Berkeley to Oakland years ago. Hmmn. There's a lot of work to be done to uproot the Shipyard and replace it somewhere else.

The Shipyard is homebase for lots of projects including The Neverwas Haul, the three-story steam-powered Victorian House, in the picture below, with Shannon O'Hare.

The Neverwas Haul and other projects from the Shipyard will be coming to Maker Faire this year. But these folks are now in a state of shock. Babalou who is involved with the Shipyard and is helping organize volunteers for Maker Faire writes:

All of this coming down on the Shipyard is a death in the family. This is very serious and very sad for the overall community and what Jim Mason worked so hard to create. Shock has finally set into my brain about all of this. I was at the Shipyard yesterday night for a bit and saddened to come face to face with the reality that Berkley is intent on putting an end to an amazing artists collective.

It doesn't make sense for the city of Berkeley to kick out a group of creative, resourceful people that they should be welcoming as such a great asset to the community. All of us at Make will be following this situation closely and doing whatever we can to support Jim and The Shipyard.

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Comments: 48

  Joseph Francis [05.11.07 11:41 AM]

No one ever gave the Ashes and Snow photography exhibit any trouble for having a nomadic museum built from shipping containers.

  Daemon [05.11.07 11:48 AM]

Shipping containers not structurally sound? Do these people have any idea how strong those things really are? Think about how much stuff goes into them, and how high they get stacked when used as intended by the manufacturer. The bloody things are probably a dozen times sturdier than the homes of the people ordering the eviction.

  Gunter [05.11.07 11:52 AM]

There are buildings in Portland made out of shipping containers, and not in the fringe areas, right in higher $ areas like "the pearl". I see them in design/living magazines like "Dwell" etc all the time?!?

seems like they wanted them out, for whatever reason, and just kept making them up until one stuck to the wall.

Creativity is quite often a threat to those who are less than creative. Always has been, and likely always will. Quite sad.

  ripley [05.11.07 11:58 AM]

Berkeley should give them a grant, for being energy-efficient plus making so much great art.

  jericho [05.11.07 12:28 PM]

I agree that shipping containers are very solid (If there aren't too many holes punched through for windows etc.), but are they really structurally sound if they're stacked like that? Remember this is earthquake territory here. Maybe a little retrofit/ giving them some kind of a secure foundation would appease the city...

  aixwiz [05.11.07 12:39 PM]

I agree! Let's drop a house on a shipping container and see which survives!

  gunter [05.11.07 12:44 PM]

and a quick look on the internets (it's made of tubes you know)

"Dan Rosenthal says the shipping blocks are stronger than conventional house framing because steel is welded to steel."

This company is using them for housing.

From what I understand they are designed for shipping overseas, and are made such that if they dump overboard, they are water tight and can be retrieved and contents saved. Seems safe enough for a bit of ground shaking. Would need to be anchored down so one of these 9klb things don't come walking over during and earthquake though.

  Anonymous [05.11.07 12:48 PM]

C'mon. The first photo says it all - there's a big collection of 'raw materials' laying around. Sorry for the NIMBY 'tude, but I certainly wouldn't want to see that kind of eyesore in my neighborhood every day.

If the inhabitants of this artists' haven had tidied up a bit from time to time, perhaps the city wouldn't be kicking them out.

  Wolf B. [05.11.07 12:51 PM]

There is no doubt that shipping containers are considerably stronger than any normal occupied structure. This is just a BS ploy by Berkeley- probably because they've got a deal brewing with some developer that they can make more tax money on. It's really sad that a group like this is being railroaded out of the city. Berkeley is obviously becoming a sad shade of what it once was.

  CTD [05.11.07 12:52 PM]

12:48 - you obviously haven't seen the nearby neighborhood. Mostly industrial stuff, and not all the roads are paved.

  mad [05.11.07 01:05 PM]

It's time to go burn the city hall of Berkeley. These bureaucrats have nothing to do, except do what business owners & lanlords told them to do. At the pace of the housing/condo development is going in that area, this is no surprise. It's all too obvious. You should go check out what's going on at hunter's point in San Francisco, where they're bulldozing the toxic land with no protection to build high price condos. The Boxshop is also near its end. The PGE is plant is being taken down, once that's done, they'll just have to remove the black residents, and there will be counting their dollars. Liberal politics... that's great.

  Mrs. B. Hedin [05.11.07 01:23 PM]

What specifically can people do? Would hate to see the Shipyard go.

  citoxiuq [05.11.07 01:35 PM]

It's not surprising, really, when you look at what Berkeley (and the whole Bay Area) has become. There's a reason that many artists are giving up on the whole area in general. My suggestion? Move to Atlanta. There's a vibrant art and music scene there, and plenty of cheap space available. The Bay Area is no longer viable for artists.

  Anonymous [05.11.07 01:46 PM]

Maybe if we just built a great big condo/liveworkloft facade around the Shipyard it would camouflage it and berekeley would leave it alone.

Seriously though folks, I haven't gone in much for protests in my life, but I feel like this is worth it. They pushed out the Crucible. They've pushed out others, all for development and money, and this shouldn't be okay.

Who would join a protest about this?

  Alemedan [05.11.07 01:48 PM]

Investigate Alameda!!!! We'd love to have you.

Effin Berkeley. Condos popping up everywhere and artists being booted.


  Arrrrgghh!!! [05.11.07 02:03 PM]

Considering the mentality of contemporary Berkeley, this isn't terribly suprising. For a city that used to champion the counter-culture and the free expression of individuals Berkeley as fallen a long way. Now it is composed of a great number of uptight individuals who feel they are 'progressive' and open minded, except when they encounter someone/something they disagree with. Berkeley has a similar mentality to numerous gated communites of the east bay such as Blackhawk, where they don't want the rest of the world/life impinging on their 'idyllic' existence. Berkeley doesn't quite have a wall around itself yet, physically. But mentally they've cut themselves off to their own little world

  Lisa [05.11.07 02:20 PM]

The Shipyard aesthetic may not run to my taste, but I think it is a shame what Berkeley is doing. This is in an industrial area perfectly suited to the endeavor, but Berkeley is trying to shove in as many five story condos/apartments as possible. I hope the shipyard folks weren't among those who adamantly supported the new Berkeley Bowl location on 9th and's all part of the same effort. Funny though, for all its rolling over for development sake, Berkeley still manages to do things like lose Clif Bar.

I live in West Berkeley and never even knew about the Shipyard. Almost everyone driving in and out of Berkeley would have passed within a block of this. My not knowing it was there speaks to the impact on the neighborhood (none). Too bad I didn’t know about it. The neighborhood public elementary school is a science magnet and is just wrapping up a year long solar energy focus. Would have been cool to hook them up for a project.

  a little further south [05.11.07 02:30 PM]

Alameda? You know that means a bum hand in dice right? Puh-lease. Join your shipping container comrades in Oakland instead! (Just giving the island on the other side of the Webster st. tube a little guff. Don't take it too hard;-)

I'm sorry to hear they're making you go. I'd be curious to hear someone address the seismic concerns. I for example live on the fourth floor of a retrofitted brick/woodframe building on bay fill. Which would be safer? My 100 year old building or a shipping crate stacked 2 or 3 high?

Is the argument that these things are as safe in an earthquake as a retrofitted multistory structure? Or that it shouldn't matter and folks should be able to make art and live outside of the constraints of city housing codes & the city's fear of lawsuits? Good luck!

  I hate hippies [05.11.07 03:19 PM]

This comment has been removed.

  Jill Coffin [05.11.07 03:34 PM]

Are there any organized protests? Petitions to the city?

  Rich Gibson [05.11.07 03:42 PM]

'I hate hippies'

If you consider anyone without a commitment to conformity to be a hippie than you may have a point, but if you are in the area go check out the shipyard. Jim Mason, et al, are pretty far from 'hippies.'

I don't want to get too excessively fan-boyish, but Jim, and company, are doing so many things which are so cool as to blow my mind.

Here are a few things:

  Les Young [05.11.07 03:54 PM]

This all began shortly after the Shipyard opened. The city was upset that shipping containers were being used as occupied spaces, thus subjecting them to the same criteria as a building. The problem is containers are built for efficiencies that are not easily converted to standard structural equations within the building code. Because the containers did not (and still don't) meet certain structural codes and handicap accessibility codes, they shut off his power until he complied. The Shipyard's response was to go off the grid; it did not go over well.

Eventually, agreements were made and the City gave them time to comply and go through a conditional use permit process. Those early meetings went very well and both sides were excited to start working together. Promises were made by the Shipyard and never lived up to within a reasonable time period. In Jim's defense, I now realize that he did not fully understand the process that he was being asked to go through. In defense of the City, Jim can be pretty hard to deal with sometimes.

When Jim took over the space next door, one of the first things they did was move some containers onto the new lot. The next thing they did was remove a section of fire wall between the buildings. To the Fire Department, it is a MAJOR
NO-NO. When I spoke with the Deputy Fire Chief about it he said Jim's attitude was one of "yes, I know it was illegal, but I did it anyway". The City had finally had enough and drafted the May 8th letter.

We hit it hard and made every effort to produce a permit set. The structural engineer was critical to this effort, without one I could not submit for permit. The structural engineer spoke with Berkeley's structural inspector about what she would be requiring of him. She said he would have to prove to her, with full calculations, that a shipping container meets or exceeds current building standards. She would not accept "alternative means and methods", nor other code standards such as ISO container design standards. She was very inflexible about this so our structural engineer gracefully backed out.

Given the long list of violations, and the time frames established to comply, there is no conceivable way that we will be able to find a structural engineer in ten days that can do the amount of calculations required within that time frame. The City is basically holding a gun to Jim's head to make sure he follows through on his word this time and will only back off if they see significant progress. At first, we were willing to give it a go.

The real problem now is that one of the demands is to vacate the property until all of the work has been completed. Jim can be fined and possibly arrested if they don't. Given that the main priority is the community and not the facility, Jim has decided to scatter the containers throughout the Bay Area. The work MUST continue, especially this year.

It is a shame that it had to come to this, especially in an area that is supposed to be liberal and tolerant. Its a shame that BOTH sides were not able to work together on this. Yes, at some point someone needs to analyze shipping containers. Maybe we can get a grant from FEMA, maybe we could get the engineering department at Berkeley to run the calculations on a super computer so no one ever has to go through this again. We have many other possible solutions, none of which can happen in ten days.

  Jeff [05.11.07 04:14 PM]

I'm all about art, and I guess I can see the cities concerns... Too bad. Why not move to Hunter's point? Tons of unused space, hell the bomb squad for SF lives out there and occupies barely a fraction of the space. There's always Alameda NAS. Sometimes the mythbusters do stuff out there (filmed part of the matrix there as well).

  matt [05.11.07 04:38 PM]

if Les' story is true, then the shipyard deserves to be shutdown if only temporarily to clear the regulations for a facility such as this. being a city manager of any sort is tough but when people attack a decision like this without looking into what built up toward it, it's ridiculous. there were obvious more facts than just a random eviction notice.

the place looks like an absolute mess. that flammable materials stuff in the first picture -- yeah you can't keep that outside. this jim guy seems hellbent on being the neighbor from hell with a mess like that.

just because you're an artist doesn't mean you have free reign to ignore city regulations.


  pucketp [05.11.07 07:38 PM]

First off, it pisses me off that a city known (in the past) for its tolerance is going out of its way to screw with this awesome thing Jim is doing. It also pisses me of that Jim has and still seems to be going out of his way to piss off the city that harbor's him and his incredibly cool project. Maybe, if either party could pull their heads out of their rear's for long enough and get together on it, this could still work. Maybe the residents could find alternative residences while working on getting the building structures either up to code, or into the code. There has got to be a structural engineer in the area that has the interest and the wherewithal to handle this. Not only would this person be helping this particular project, but would also be helping to set a precedent for all future alternative residences in the area. What a great addition to a thesis on structural analysis this would make for some UC grad student.
No project like this deserves to be shut down. Jim and the shipyard folks should keep in mind, though, that cooler heads and a little compromise will go a long way.

  Michael Spurlock [05.11.07 08:13 PM]

Berkeley's liberal "tolerance" has always extended outside their own back yard, but NOT within. The politicians and "academics" there are great armchair liberals until it starts to affect THEIR property values.
What can you do in three days? Nothing.
Now, get me 30 days and fill the yard with squatters...then I've got a solution for you. It worked once before.

  Ross Stapleton-Gray [05.11.07 08:35 PM]

Meanwhile, we've also got Milo (the pet store/kennel, depending on which side you take) on Solano being run out of town (to San Rafael, for now), and Iceland going dark due to issues over its coolant plant. In all three cases it's not cut and dried; OTOH, I've long heard that Berkeley isn't particularly attractive to growing tech businesses who seem to bug out to Emeryville or San Francisco.



  Oren Beck [05.11.07 10:32 PM]

While I do not currently live in the Berkeley area, my parents do. There are several other "cargo box" users in the Berkeley area which have only generated respect or even envy. The issue as others have commented is political. That concept of a law forbidding with equal zeal both the rich and the poor from sleeping under bridges comes to mind.

Perhaps a concerted screaming of "FOR SHAME!!" at the powers that be may prevent this tragedy.
And even if we fail- at least history will count some of us as the voices against mundanity's grey doom.

If Berkeley continues it's effort to destroy places of alternative architecture, the whole city may as well be renamed "Starbucks"

I am going to share my comments above with as many of the city politicians as I can find ways to contact. May I suggest we all consider a phone campaign as well?

  gunter [05.11.07 11:12 PM]

Les Young - you all should look at my previous post. There is a company that is specifically using shipping containers for home building. They must have had a structural engineer take a look. Somebody has done this, like I said there are buildings in Portland that are build around shipping containers as the main structure (a florist on 20 something in northwest, look and you will find).

Or it could be a battle of wills, and in that case, have fun.

  dynamo [05.12.07 01:21 AM]

Obviously the containers themselves are not the problem.

Companies would not ship $300M per ship (12,000 TEU) in merchandise if they didn't think the containers were strong.

Containers can handle around 67 THOUSAND lbs inside (ie, 300-400 people in a small box), and are designed to be stacked at least SEVEN high with this load, and then survive ocean crossings getting pounded day after day, and do this for years exposed to the elements.

Sitting still on a vacant lot? Please, that doesn't even compare.

That said, the place looked like a trash heap, there is probably much more to this story...

  Thomas Lord [05.12.07 08:43 AM]

Here in Berkeley we wrestle with City finances, a bit. For example, we have (and are hopefully soon to end) periods of rotating outages of public safety facilities (e.g., fire stations).

We also have a very finite amount of land and a lot of tradition and stability in how neighborhoods are maintained. Though it has its imperfections, we have a vibrant and energetic, highly contentious land-use / zoning process.

Now, what excludes "artists" from these things? Were they, somehow, unable to research and follow the established procedures for permitting and inspection? Are they, by proclaiming themselves "artists", somehow entitled to construct unusual and extra-legal liabilities for our public safety infrastructure? Are these guys really more socially responsible engineers than, say, every engineer working for City government?

You want to start stacking containers? As habitable space? Maybe. The right way to do it is start working on changes to the city construction codes: prove your case.

Meanwhile, anarchy at this level brings its own just reward.


  nah [05.12.07 09:09 AM]

Remember that there's more to making something suitable for human habitation than just structural strength. I see a lot of talk on this point, and the follow up comment did mention that they actually do not meet structural and handicap accessibility codes.

  Thomas Lord [05.12.07 09:32 AM]

Remember that there's more to making something suitable for human habitation than just structural strength. I see a lot of talk on this point, and the follow up comment did mention that they actually do not meet structural and handicap accessibility codes.

Right. That's the whole point of zoning and construction codes -- that there's a convergence of public interests from lots of perspectives.

I can't find much sympathy in my heart for this "Jim" guy on the grounds that the Berkeley codes are short, easy to comprehend, available on-line, well advertised, and administered by organizations that have a pretty good reputation, customer-service wise. It takes a lot of willful neglegance to get in this much trouble. It's just plain rude to the rest of the City's population.


  Les Young [05.12.07 10:38 AM]

First, let me assure everyone that I now know more about shipping container architecture than most of you will ever know, or would care to know.

It has gone way beyond that discussion at this point. The shipping containers are a “hairy arm” representing something much deeper. Yes, it has a lot to do with artistic mentality, non-conformity, health & safety, mutual respect, etc. There very well may have been a time when the City would have cooperated and let us bring everything up to code. I wish I had gotten involved years ago, but we are way beyond that point now.

The immediate issue is that the order to vacate & abate, very clearly states, vacate the premises and empty the containers in three days or risk fines & jail. They are not allowed back until the work is complete, which would be at least six months out. Chief Orth was very firm about that.

Jim has decided to move the containers so that people can continue to work this summer. The various officials have crafted the letter in such a way to get Jim’s attention and show him they mean business. It is official, to the point and contains typical building code issues. It’s what they don’t say that has us worried. If you read between the lines, the time frames are impossible and the requirements to analyze the containers at a level that has never been done before kills the current project.

Can art survive? Can art spaces be brought up to code? Of course they can. The Crucible is now thriving. Cellspace was brought back to life. SOMARTS remains a cultural hub and Project Artaud bought the building and is untouchable.

Is there time to save the Shipyard and sit down with the City to work out an agreement? Yes, there is. Can Jim and his associates afford to do it right in that time frame? No, they can’t. The current construction budget is $100,000. The required calculations alone are in the $60,000 range. I personally have donated about $10,000 of my time and need to donate at least another $15,000 worth of time to finish. We still don’t have Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing engineers, that’s at least $30,000. To abate the violations and do this thing right is more in the $300,000 range for construction costs alone.

So, unless our community can pull together funds to the tune of $750,000 there’s really no point in continuing down that path any longer. Even if we could raise the money, the City would want to see a nice new building instead.

  Anonymous [05.12.07 11:21 AM]

So this is a bit off topic, but calculations surely have been done for this structure:

(and they seem like the kind of people who would share for a good cause...course it's all metric...)

There are several container structures around Zurich, some of them are government/education offices. Most of them are two story. I hazard a guess that they all meet or exceed local Zurich building standards. The Swiss don't mess around. And there are earthquakes in Switzerland.

  Les Young [05.12.07 12:13 PM]

It's not off topic at all and you are correct. Again, I am very familiar with this and other projects. I have been using computers since 1979. I was using the internet before Al Gore made it public. I still am (not buddha142). My list of container links is 10 times longer than anyone elses, believe me.

The structural inspector for Berkeley is standing her ground. She will not accept any other standards than those expressly set forth in the California Building Code, period.

I am doing my best here to keep people abreast of the facts as I know them. I am wearing my Les Young architect hat. I am showing restraint. I am trying to prevent a riot.

Les Izzmore, the Burning Man fire safety guy (a close and personal friend of Les Young the architect) would rather see a very different outcome. Les Izzmore would love to tell all of you what's really going on. Les Izzmore would like to send free tickets to the Burn to everyone who signed the letter & put them up in RV's so they can see what's going to happen in the desert this year.

Les Izzmore wants to talk about flame thrower fire safety with the Chief over bacon and beer in the Shipyard while a newly topless structural inpector helps weld shipping containers to the ground with the Flaming Lotus Girls when we get back from Black Rock!

  Thomas Lord [05.12.07 01:44 PM]

Les Young:

Art can and does surive and thrive and how dare you compare this to the Crucible which, by most reports, has taken great pains to get and keep their liability and conformance issues in order.

You don't get to, just by capitalizing the A in Art, claim some special exemption. Good Art is sensitive to its context and here, it seems to me, the "artists" are acting like they were caught by complete surprise when the context presented some Problems. You all may stand for some clever Ideas but I'm not so impressed by the Values you display in an urban context. Don't Act So Surprised and for darn sure, Don't Let the Door Hit You in the Ass on Your Way Out.


  Les Young [05.12.07 01:55 PM]

Thomas Lord

Not sure where you're comming from on this one?
"how dare you compare this to the Crucible "
I was using the Crucible as an exaple of how people have done it correctly.

"Good Art is sensitive to its context" Couldn't agree more on this point either, however, good art is often made in messy shops, guess you wouldn't know much about that.

"You all may stand for some clever Ideas but I'm not so impressed by the Values you display in an urban context." I am not part of the Shipyard, never have been. I am an architect that was brought in to make it right & never got that far. You obviously have never seen any of the high rise buildings I've designed in San Francisco.

  Thomas Lord [05.12.07 02:18 PM]

Fair enough -- I genuinely misinterpreted you on three points:

a) On the Crucible, I took you to be echoing the "threat" of relocating outside of Berkeley. We agree, then, that the Crucible is a (cool!) example of how it isn't that hard in the first instance to avoid these screw-ups.

b) Messy shops are one thing and, yes, I've been around. But, in my experience with those shops, there's a vital distinction between "untidy" and "unrulely." The chaotically, unrulely messy shops are usually on self-destruct path. The ones that are merely untidy but have a deep undercurrent of Order both have better survival characteristics and, generally, produce better art.

c) You say you aren't involved but, meanwhile, you've personalized the opposition at Chief Orth's office and intimated to some greater doin's afoot of a sinister-anti-Artist nature so... you can describe your affiliation how you like but please don't slag our officials like that without really good cause. I may well have seen yr buildings but how would I know? I wasn't aware that urban archticture was properly so ego-bound an affair.


  Les Young [05.12.07 02:36 PM]

a)Michael is an old friend and they used Cellspace as a model (I helped run Cellspace). Yet another example of how ideas can improove with each new iteration.

b)Agreed again. I was brought in to make it right.

c)I spoke with Chief Orth personally. I tried to reason with him about the logistics of emptying the containers in three days. He said it could be done, he expects it to be done, if not there would be consequences. He expressed his frustrations with Jim and said something to effect above. The letter is available, it says vacate. I'm just informing people of the situation. I don't take it personally in the least. They are doing thier best to respect the wishes of the Chief and vacate. They are not staging protests or chaining themselves to containers. The Cheif wants them to leave, they are leaving, THAT'S the whole point!

  Thomas Lord [05.12.07 03:13 PM]

We agree on 2 out of 3 and I accept your account of (c).... lemme explain why you got me all hot and bothered:

"can art survive?" ... "Orth was very firm" ... them's fighten' words in Berkeley. Really, anything less than an apologetic withdrawl by the artists here is fighten' words. There was another zoning/permits/conformance fight of this nature with another art collective. There's the current fight about the filmmakers in the Fantasy building. There are quite a few tales like this, small and large. Your rhetoric pretty much quotes from those fights and, sorry, but I have trouble taking your naming of Orth, in the way you did, in this context, as anything but ad hominem slagging unless you have some argument that you haven't presented here about why his discretion might allow a different outcome and why his discretion should go in that direction.

Berkeley as a city, with its tradition and values, does have a big problem these days in retaining creative artists in the face rising commercial property values (sorta -- commercial property values are rising for long investors when the development potential aligns -- the listings of things currently on the market have a more complicated and less remarkable performance). There really is a lot of soul searching going on about how to preserve room for artists but, really, it's also poisoned and weakened when artists grasp on sentimental appeals to Art an excuse for neglecting some ultimately rather managable aspects of things like zoning laws.

It's creepy, from my resident of Berkeley perspective to see what I think of as the least good position on the complex issues of fitting artists into our local economy show up as a top-post on radar.oreilly and get responses like yours. (I now understand your response to be more intended as neutral and fact reporting but, really, it didn't come across that way at all -- you *are* coming from an advocacy perspective for these guys, as you yourself report.)

  Skunk [05.12.07 03:28 PM]

At least they work out of shipping containers. Should make the move a little easier. I mean, unless the holes cut for windows make them unsound for transporting materials.

  Jeffrey McGrew [05.13.07 12:00 AM]

Thomas: bringing up The Crucible in this context IS fitting, for Berkeley threw them out too several years ago. They were just across the street, and way more organized, than the Shipyard is now. Thank god the did get kicked out by a short-sighted city, for now they are in Oakland and doing much, much better.

I, for one, think this has a heck of a lot more with the rumor that the new Berkeley Bowl (gag) is thinking of moving in across the street than much else.

You talk about neighborhood traditions in an area where the streets aren't even paved and a location behind a plumbing supplier and next to Urban Ore for crying out loud.

Yes, the Shipyard is a mess, and I'm not privvy to the details that (thankfully) Les is posting here. And I'm two tests away from my Architect's license, so I've got some experience there (and with the City of Berkeley's building department). Yes, the Shipyard doesn't deserve a 'get out of jail free pass' because they are Artists.

But I've got to say that your debate and fury seems a little hollow to me. Prove to me this isn't at least a little bit about money and those new lofts going up next to the OSH their across the street, and I'll start believing more in what you've got to say and a resident of Berkeley on this.

Just an Oaklander here, hoping that the Shipyard folks find space soon.

  Joe Sarcastica [05.13.07 05:18 AM]

tell them your making art for the war against terrorism in will get federal funding

  Joe Sarcastica [05.13.07 06:14 AM]

after seeing the shipyard site and seeing how much a "mess" it really is I have to say anyone that thinks its a mess is a friggen OCD candidate. I have been in many manufacturing and fabricating shops and this is really typical of what they look like. Im sure OSHA would have a field day in there but it is no different then anyplace else.

  JoeJoe [05.14.07 11:16 AM]

Agreed with Joe S, especially in light of the sprawl of Urban Ore's outdoor area two blocks away... and the chainsawing and sawdust from that wood carving place across the street... the "mess" shouldn't be the issue; it's probably a mix of Jim and the 'artist' mentality/attitude of the whole place that is pissing off the city.

Hope that they manage to make the best out of it though; they really do add alot of interesting ideas and art to our community.

My personal guess is the shiny new condos across Ashby is where all of this area is headed. Damn shame.

  Maria [05.15.07 11:47 AM]

Wow. That really sucks.

  Carl [05.17.07 11:14 PM]

Yeah, i know there's in sufficient funds. But the city is insisting on "The CBC or the highway" ?!? Haven't these people ever heard of Performance Based Design?

In my world, if you can get a Structural PE to stamp off on something (thereby taking liability) than the City needs to come up with a damn good reason to override it -- i.e. prove they have made a mistake in their calculations or that their approach is fundamentally flawed. Usually though getting stamped calcs does the trick.

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