Great event at the 20th & Sanchez steps!

We had a great turnout for the recent Garden Day at the 20th & Sanchez steps event, working on the steps and the surrounding green areas.

After Randy and Jilanna declared the coffee + snacks area officially open, Darby and myself (John) gave some opening remarks, Julia (from SF Parks Alliance) gave some safety tips, and then we all set to work. In a pleasant surprise, SF Parks Alliance even donated a bunch of tools and equipment to help encourage this as a recurring event – watch for announcements about the upcoming April event!

BeforeAs well as cleaning out trash, we also removed weeds (“bad plants”) that were impacting the growth of “good” plants. Personally, I’m not a “green thumb” type of person, but there were plenty of seasoned gardeners on hand who were happy to give clear instructions on what to leave untouched, and what to pull out. And yes, trimming dead branches from palm trees is a personal first for me! From a safety point of view, this clearing out also helped improve safety for people using the steps at night.

We even “found” an overgrown drain and gutters that we cleared back out to a working state again – in case we are lucky enough to get more rain here.

After the work is all done, we finally get to sit down!

Lots of people helped out, some for “just an hour”, some for the entire morning – including setup beforehand and cleanup afterwards. Some pre-planned it, some just stopped by when they saw the work-in-progress, and joined in. Here’s a picture of everyone who stayed from the very beginning to the very very end, with the cleaned up area clearly visible in the background. Big thanks to John Morris, Emmy Clausing, Darby Auerbach-Morris, Liz Clark, Bruce Muncil and Dave Olson for making this happen, and to Julia (from Parks Alliance), and Paul and his crew from DPW for their great help and support.

This work on the steps, and the surrounding green areas was a mix of neighborhood safety and gardening work – and it was lots of fun. A great first joint event by the 20th Street Neighborhood Watch, the Dolores Heights Improvement Club, SF Parks Alliance and SF Department of Public Works. Like all things, this is evolving, so if you have ideas on how to make events like this better, want to help out in any way, or can nominate other areas in Dolores Heights, please contact Bruce, Darby or Liz at

ps: some other photos:

in progress

JohnO learning how to trim a palm tree

JohnM – making sure nothing got missed!

many different ways to help!

after – with a drain!


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