The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Roseland Review - March 2016 - Duane Dewitt


Roseland Review - March 2016 - Duane Dewitt
Dogs Before Pomo Indians

by Duane De Witt

Pomo Indians inhabited the valleys of Sonoma County and of the Santa Rosa Plain long before any other people and some Roseland residents have been seeking to commemorate this. Pomo Indians have been residents of the Roseland area continuously since the Spanish Conquistadores. Many current residents of Roseland made sure a Pomo Interpretive Village has been included in the plans for the Roseland Nature preserve and Roseland Creek Park in the future. But recently numerous readers contacted Roseland Review to say the city of Santa Rosa is now proposing a “Dog Park” in the northern portion of the site and totally ignoring the Pomo Village. They are angry because as one woman from Hughes Ave. said, “We made our wishes known years ago.”

There were Roseland residents asking about this issue Thursday Feb. 18 at the Roseland Specific Plan Community Workshop held at the new Roseland Community/Neighborhood Center on Sebastopol Rd. Roseland Review witnessed an encounter where a Roseland man asked Santa Rosa employees of the Recreation and Parks Department, as well as one from the Transit Department, “Why the change in plans?” Ms. Jen Santos of Recreation and Parks did not offer any verifiable reasons other than to say, “Some people want a Dog Park.” Apparently for the city this now takes priority over the long planned Pomo Interpretive Village along Roseland Creek.

Such unilateral changes to the Master Plan for the park are bothersome to many residents. One pointed out, “The City has had no contact with the local residents that were instrumental in getting the park established and pledged services that are part of the matching grant from the District.” Another sent these questions to Roseland Review regarding the recently announced Request for Proposals to “develop” the Roseland Creek Park. Because he feels a Master Plan must be adopted by the Santa Rosa City council before any development occurs he asked, “When was the Master Plan adopted by the Council?”

He also asked incredulously, “How can the City plan for property they do not own?” Here he was referring to a two and a half acre parcel still in private hands while the city negotiates for a purchase.  An eleven acre parcel north of Roseland Creek and a six acre parcel south of the creek were purchased close to five years ago. In the past local residents were a vital part of the effort for the obtaining of this land for a park. Now it appears they are an afterthought as the City staff have made their own plans a priority over the Pomo Indians and their local supporters.

The question Roseland Review will now be researching was also given, “Is it legal or responsible to begin construction of a Master Plan when all the properties are not owned?” It would seem the city will be at a disadvantage regarding negotiations for a sale of land if the land owner knows the city is making plans for his land without his permission. One bit of news involving negotiations about local land use is word Efren Carrillo, 5th District Supervisor over Roseland has told the Los Cien Group on Friday 19 Feb the county is ready to pay more for roads and maintenance should Roseland be annexed by the city. This was reported in the local newspaper, The Press Democrat on Saturday Feb. 20 but no one mentioned this to the approximately 25 Roseland residents who had come to the Community meeting in Roseland.

So many questions and so few answers leaves many Roseland residents confused and angry. One way to diffuse some anger would be to come to Southwest Community Park at Hearn Ave. and Burbank Ave. on Saturday Mar 12 at 9 am to help plant Trees for Arbor Day. Please come.