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Latest News in Oildale, CA
Tiney Oaks homeless shelter and navigation center coming to Oildale
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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Kern County Board of Supervisors has approved plans for a new homeless center in the Oildale area. The Tiney Oaks Supportive Services Village is set to start construction at the corner of Hart Street and East Roberts Lane in Bakersfield.
County officials overseeing the project say it will be different from other homeless centers in town, as it will offer individual sleeping quarters for those in need.
“They are 8 by 8 square foot individual sleeping units, there are 50 of them,” said James Zervis, Chief Operations Officer for Kern County. “In our other settings, like M Street for example, it’s communal, meaning it’s more dormitory style. Everyone sleeps in the same building.”
Zervis says the idea came about when they saw a need for helping homeless people who weren’t open to living in a communal setting. He says reasons for desiring solo living quarters vary, but are often linked to past trauma.
“A lot of folks living on the street really aren’t equipped and have been through trauma and issues in the past that just don’t lend them to working well in a congregate setting, and they won’t go,” said Zervis. “What we found is that there is a need for this non-congregate, so that there is more individual space where people are separated, but it’s all in one area and managed very much like you would see at a traditional homeless shelter or services shelter.”
Zervis says the non-communal shelter option will give the city a new tool it doesn’t currently have for helping unhoused people, and that getting them into shelter is the first step towards getting them to accept additional assistance, like drug treatment and job training.
According to Zervis, the funding to construct and operate this facility is coming from the county’s allocation of the American Rescue Plan Act funding. No funding for the project is coming from Kern County’s general fund.
“It’s a one-time federal funding that the county received,” said Zervis. “The Board of Supervisors set aside $15 million dollars to do a number of projects related to addressing homelessness and mental health challenges, and one of those is this project.”
Zervis says Tiney Oaks will offer the same vital resources as the M Street and Brundage Lane Navigation Centers, including survival needs like food, clothing, and hygiene supplies, as well as substance abuse treatment, employment assistance, and more.
“24-hour security, case management, mental health, physical health, all of the services you would see at a traditional shelter. It’ll be managed very similarly,” said Zervis. “Caseworkers to help them find permanent housing and to take down some of the barriers. A lot of these folks need documentation. They’ve lost their license. They don’t have their Social Security number.”
According to Zervis, as of this week there is a building permit for the project on file and the county is currently analyzing contractors to kickstart construction. The county is aiming to have the facility open by late 2023.
Copyright 2022 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
'This is Oildale history': New proprietors intend to make the Rustic Rail Saloon a music lovers' honky-tonk
STEVEN MAYER email@example.com://www.bakersfield.com/news/this-is-oildale-history-new-proprietors-intend-to-make-the-rustic-rail-saloon-a-music/article_0dec2484-2d77-11ee-ad88-2f2655374ce4.html
During the heyday of Fishlips in downtown Bakersfield, Kipp Sullivan, one of its proprietors, became known for rounding up some of the best musicians available, through local talent and acts imported from way beyond Bako's borders."We had the legendary Leon Russell," Sullivan said. "I brought The Band of Heathens out of Austin."Singer-songwriter-guitarist Dave Alvin, a founding member of roots rock band The Blasters, nearly blew the roof off Fishlips with his backup band, the Guilty Women.Texas countr...
During the heyday of Fishlips in downtown Bakersfield, Kipp Sullivan, one of its proprietors, became known for rounding up some of the best musicians available, through local talent and acts imported from way beyond Bako's borders.
"We had the legendary Leon Russell," Sullivan said. "I brought The Band of Heathens out of Austin."
Singer-songwriter-guitarist Dave Alvin, a founding member of roots rock band The Blasters, nearly blew the roof off Fishlips with his backup band, the Guilty Women.
Texas country singer Dale Watson graced the stage, as did Grant Langston, Buck Owens' son Buddy Owens, and many more.
Even Bakersfield Sound legend Merle Haggard performed on Fishlips' stage, although it was a private gathering.
Now Sullivan and his fellow proprietors, Jacob Vaughn and Mark Muleady, are intent on bringing back that Fishlips energy, while at the same time honoring the honky-tonk history of the Rustic Rail Saloon on East Norris Road in Oildale.
"We want it to be a classic bar and honky-tonk, with a little bit of that Fishlips music tradition," Sullivan said.
After packing the place during a "soft opening" in June featuring the Byrom Brothers, the proprietors learned they needed a few more weeks to work on infrastructure and other concerns.
On Thursday afternoon, they officially opened. Local artist Crimson Skye performed onstage solo Friday night, and Bakersfield native (now Joshua Tree-based) Rove was scheduled to take to the stage Saturday, bringing a style Vaughn described as "outlaw country with a Bakersfield Sound-esque" approach.
Vaughn said he loves music, but Sullivan "is going to be handling most of the music, while I'll be here operationally."
In a town where dance floor space can be at a premium, and sometimes is nonexistent, the Rail's extra-roomy, hardwood dance floor may be a welcome addition for music fans who like to get up and move.
As Delbert McClinton drawled in one of his tunes, "I like to listen to rock ’n’ roll / But honey, I like a two-step, too."
It's a recognition that countless artists and fans no longer draw a line in the sand between country music and roots rock. And the new riders of the Rustic Rail want to host Bakersfield's top musicians, as well as artists from Austin, Tulsa and L.A.
"Everyone missed this place. This is Oildale history," said customer Tara Holloway, who dropped in early Thursday evening to enjoy a cold beer with friends Sasha Hayes and Robert Barnes.
Hayes pointed out bar manager Tabatha Showman as someone who can sling a cocktail with the best, but also has a welcoming smile and demeanor.
"She has treated us like family," Hayes said.
Stored in a back room at the Rail is a historic sign. No, not the long-missing Trout's sign, but a sign that once lighted the way to the Kern River Belle on North Chester Avenue, which was just a stone's throw from the river.
Millie and Jim Stead operated the watering hole beginning in about 1998. When the owner of the property sold in 2008, the Steads opened the Rustic Rail.
Sullivan and his fellow proprietors decided to leave Millie and Jim's names on the sign on the roof outside.
It's in tribute, they say, to the Steads and the path they forged in their efforts to operate two honky-tonks in Oildale.
"I'm an ’08er. I went to North High. Kevin Harvick's grandmother was my Cub Scout den mother," Sullivan said of his Oildale bona fides.
Sullivan's own father, Francis Sullivan, founded and operated Sullivan's Dress Shop, a high-end boutique on North Chester Avenue for many years.
"I gotta give credit to anyone who tries to start up a business like this," he said.
"Millie and Jim built this, and we're just carrying on the tradition."
Oildale Wall of Fame celebrates inspiration, hard work, and humble roots
Dominique LaVigne, 23ABChttps://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/oildale-wall-of-fame-celebrates-inspiration-hard-work-and-humble-roots
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The community of Oildale added a new landmark. The Oildale Wall of Fame highlights the lives of 3 of the city's most notable residents: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Kevin Harvick.Oildale resident Fred Enyeart says this new addition to the community helps contribute to the city's growth and improvement."There's a lot of good people in Oildale that care about Oildale deeply and ...
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The community of Oildale added a new landmark. The Oildale Wall of Fame highlights the lives of 3 of the city's most notable residents: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Kevin Harvick.
Oildale resident Fred Enyeart says this new addition to the community helps contribute to the city's growth and improvement.
"There's a lot of good people in Oildale that care about Oildale deeply and want to see it prosper," said Enyeart.
Enyeart and his wife say they're long-time residents of Oildale, and while they say it can be a rough area, they're trying to change the perspective of the city with signs they place around the community, helping to bring positive change to their hometown.
Enyeart says this Wall of Fame adds to their hope to bring positive contributions to their community.
"I want to support anything that is uplifting and helping improve any way we can in Oildale. We need everything we can get here," said Enyeart.
Kern County District 3 Supervisor Jeff Flores continued the construction of the Wall of Fame after his predecessor Mike Maggard retired in December 2022.
Flores says it's important to pay tribute to the cultural heritage of Oildale by highlighting their stories of overcoming challenges with hard work, determination, and talent.
"I hope pride, inspiration, and reflection that if these people can do it, the wider community can do it, and just come out and enjoy some of the heritage Oildale has to offer," said Flores.
California Assemblyman Vince Fong says Friday's Wall of Fame ribbon-cutting ceremony solidifies the vision of so many. As a Bakersfield native, Fong says he's been inspired by these three figures, and he hopes that people coming to the Oildale community will see the wall and be inspired to achieve success in their own lives.
"Whether it's in medicine, whether it's in business, whether it's in sports or entertainment, the sky's the limit," said Fong. "So for the young people that grow up in Bakersfield, it doesn't matter where you come from. You can accomplish anything."
Fong says as someone trying to make a difference in the community, Owens, Haggard, and Harvick are some of the people he looks to for inspiration.
Along with Fong, Enyeart says he looks forward to seeing more people added to the Wall of Fame.
"I hope some other valuable people can maybe be added to the wall at some point in time, but this is a good start," said Enyeart.
The Oildale Wall of Fame is located on North Chester Avenue north of Norris Road near the Wattenbarger Do-It Center.
Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Oildale resident sues Kern County over 'Tiney Oaks' homes
JOHN DONEGAN firstname.lastname@example.org://www.bakersfield.com/news/oildale-resident-sues-kern-county-over-tiney-oaks-homes/article_210cb652-a427-11ed-8ac0-c74a22b8e0a0.html
An Oildale resident is suing Kern County in the latest charge in a communal resistance to the Tiney Oaks Supportive Services Village.The suit contends that the county-run project, a fully-fenced 50-cabin shelter set for a 2.89-acre stretch at 201 E. Roberts Lane in Oildale, violates zoning laws and was approved without any legally-required public notice or hearings.Michelle Louviere, an Oildale resident who in 2018 protested in support of the long-stalled Covey Cottages project, filed the suit and deferred to her lawyer Brandon...
An Oildale resident is suing Kern County in the latest charge in a communal resistance to the Tiney Oaks Supportive Services Village.
The suit contends that the county-run project, a fully-fenced 50-cabin shelter set for a 2.89-acre stretch at 201 E. Roberts Lane in Oildale, violates zoning laws and was approved without any legally-required public notice or hearings.
Michelle Louviere, an Oildale resident who in 2018 protested in support of the long-stalled Covey Cottages project, filed the suit and deferred to her lawyer Brandon Martin for comment.
“Typically when there’s a controversial county project like this, you’d like to see some community outreach of some kind — like community meetings,” Martin said. “We didn’t see that for Tiney Oaks. In fact, the rollout was incredibly secretive, at least in my opinion.”
Martin said the earliest public document he could find was the site plan, which was filed “sometime in October of 2022” and the Notice of Exemption from California Environmental Quality Act filed on Oct. 27. State laws explain that CEQA allows 180 days for the public to challenge a project, unless the corresponding government files and posts a Notice of Exemption, which shortens the period to 30 days.
The suit said a “vague” notice of exemption was posted on Halloween with an “incomplete, defective and misleading description” of its zoning. Martin believes that by the way this exemption notice is phrased, it was never actually filed for a project approval. The posting also read that the first public hearing would be held at a 2 p.m. Nov. 8 meeting.
“When people’s attention is elsewhere,” Martin said. “Nov. 8 is a big news day, but for the general election — not this.”
But by that time, the lawsuit read, the project had already been fully permitted.
As the previous campaign manager for District 3 Board of Supervisors candidate Brian Smith, who lost to Jeff Flores in the November election for supervisor, Martin said he and others “were really surprised” county staff didn’t mention the shelter, despite homelessness being “the hot-button issue during the campaign.”
“Jeff Flores, who worked in Mike Maggard’s office as the District 3 chief of staff, was the person who was supposed to be doing the outreach for Oildale,” Martin said. “(He) neglected to (make) any mention of the project until Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. — when it’s too late and everybody’s been voting for weeks and weeks.”
Flores sees it differently.
“Brandon Martin clearly doesn’t understand my role or the role of the District 3 supervisor,” Flores said in response. “The item did come before me now that I’m the supervisor and we’re moving forward with this much-needed project to alleviate the homeless issue in Oildale proper.”
Flores explained that there was not a public hearing held specifically for Tiney Oaks on Nov. 8, but that it was on the agenda and was presented to the board and before the public that day.
Martin also believes the site doesn’t qualify in the zoning that the county designated it, saying “the homes in Tiney Oaks are too small, don’t have plumbing or various other requirements.”
Each cabin would come equipped with heating, air conditioning, lighting, electricity, storage and a fire extinguisher. They would not have running water or kitchen utilities, which are instead to be inside the communal facilities within the grounds.
“The idea is that the legislature wants to stop developers from being worried about litigation threats,” Martin said. “You don’t get to say something that’s not true on your notice of exemption and in this case they misstated or incorrectly stated the zoning requirements for the property.”
Martin said that his client does not want the project to be abandoned but rather for residents to have “equal treatment” in that they be allowed to attend and comment in a public hearing they said wasn’t properly offered to them.
“That’s our legal claim, that there should be this hearing,” Martin said. “The problem was this was concealed.”
In contrast, he thinks the county’s best defense is that they’re now claiming the site is a low-barrier navigation center, which itself can access exemptions to zoning laws. This distinction is not made on their approved site map or notice of exemption.
“The state basically says we want these low-barrier facilities so much that you can just disregard (zoning) and it would be by right no matter what zone it’s in,” Martin said. “Yet they don’t mention low-barrier anywhere at all.”
“I don’t think it was their original intention to do a low-barrier center,” he added. “I think we sued them and they came up with a post-hoc explanation as to what’s going on.”
Kendra Graham, assistant to the county counsel for the county, declined to comment on the suit, saying it is pending litigation and she had not had an opportunity to review it. She did note that a Kern County Superior Court judge on Friday denied requests by the plaintiffs to halt construction on the site.
At the Kern County Board of Supervisors’ January meeting, Kern County’s Chief Operations Officer James Zervis explained that the board approved in June 2021 roughly $15 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to “combat homelessness” and in October that same year it submitted a strategic action plan to open the Tiney Oaks Supportive Services Village at the intersection of Hart Street and East Roberts Lane.
“This site was selected after evaluating underutilized county-owned properties, the concentration of homeless individuals throughout the community, proximity to public transportation and vital services, zoning and land use regulations, and other factors,” Zervis said at the meeting.
Zervis touted the success of shelters in Kern and similar projects across the state, including two Hope of The Valley-operated shelters he and staff toured in Los Angeles.
“The Oildale facility builds upon the successful track record of the M Street Navigation Center, safe camping facilities, and safe parking sites,” Zervis said. “Statistics show that without projects like this and others throughout our community, the homeless population — and particularly in the Bakersfield metro area — would be much greater than it is today.”
In prior meetings, staff has long limned that the referral-only shelter would corral pre-existing homeless in the community under 24-hour security, a strict curfew and extensive “wrap-around services” for its residents — an antidote to Oildale’s transient problem.
Martin believes the county chose this location as a matter of convenience, in that the county already owned the land. The plot was purchased by the county in 2015, but for a new county fire station, which was included on the purchase agreement.
“They need a new, modern fire station for the Oildale area,” Martin said. “There’s probably a greater need for an upgraded fire service for that area — they should probably stick to it.”
Residents are equally skeptical. The plaintiffs believe a public hearing is the only redeemable way forward.
“The intention of the lawsuit is because nobody pays attention to Oildale and it often gets run over on things,” Martin said. “There are people like my client who live in Oildale who would like to have the same legal protections and due process rights to appear at a hearing and give their input on how they can make the project better.”
Despite opposition, county says new tiny home village will benefit homeless and Oildale
STEVEN MAYER email@example.com://www.bakersfield.com/news/despite-opposition-county-says-new-tiny-home-village-will-benefit-homeless-and-oildale/article_977d0a04-75cd-11ed-9308-938e095a5ddf.html
Opposition may be building against the county’s plan to construct 50 prefabricated sleeping cabins in Oildale, to create a "village" for individuals the county describes as "a specific and more challenging homeless population" … made up of people who are "not capable of living in a community environment."If it is built, the $2.8 million Tiny Oaks Supportive Services Village, at 201 E. Roberts Lane, would be located directly across the street from the Rasmussen Senior Center, and critics say, ...
Opposition may be building against the county’s plan to construct 50 prefabricated sleeping cabins in Oildale, to create a "village" for individuals the county describes as "a specific and more challenging homeless population" … made up of people who are "not capable of living in a community environment."
If it is built, the $2.8 million Tiny Oaks Supportive Services Village, at 201 E. Roberts Lane, would be located directly across the street from the Rasmussen Senior Center, and critics say, too close as well to the Kern River Parkway, which has already been damaged and degraded by illegal encampments along the riverbanks.
But supporters, including county staff, the Board of Supervisors and the president of the nonprofit Oildale Community Action Team, say the county has established a track record of success at its M Street Navigation Center, and argue that this newly proposed center could be just what is needed to solve an ongoing problem: how to develop shelter for a class of homeless individuals who have real difficulty living and sleeping in a communal setting surrounded by other people.
Eddy Laine, who works with a variety of groups to enhance Hart Park, to protect and preserve natural habitat around the park and along the Kern River, said he's concerned that the vulnerable population at the senior center and the vulnerable habitat along the river south of the proposed homeless village could be placed at further risk.
"A tiny village already exists adjoining this site and directly across the Kern River Parkway," Laine said in an email. "It is a Parkway homeless village which has destroyed habitat, fostered illegal drug use and activity, and made the adjoining bike path and use of the Parkway in this stretch of the river unsafe for public use."
Laine said he became alarmed when the county said in its own words that the individuals who would be referred to the village are a "more challenging homeless population … not capable of living in a community environment."
Laine also expressed concern that the public was left out of the planning process.
Richard O’Neil, president and co-founder of the Kern River Parkway Foundation, said the foundation is also opposing the placement of the village in the location proposed by the county.
"Because of the nature of surrounding occupancies, we believe this is a terrible location for a facility of this sort," O'Neil wrote in a Community Voices published Tuesday in The Californian.
Like Laine, O'Neil mourned the loss of recreation and the increase in drug use, loose dogs, fires and other threats to public safety along the bike path and equestrian trails.
But James Zervis, chief operations officer for the county of Kern, said there's no reason to think the presence of the planned village would add to the problems cited by opponents, but rather the homeless village, with 24-hour security and extensive services for the homeless would more likely bring improvement to the area.
The village, Zervis said, is an attempt to "intentionally try to reach those individuals who are homeless, that for a number of reasons won't go into a traditional dormitory-style setting.
"In some cases it could be issues of past trauma, it could be issues where they want to be with a significant other, or they're just uncomfortable being in a communal living environment because of their experience of being homeless.
"Right now we have about 50 people in tents at M Street (Navigation Center) ... we have 24-hour security, we provide meals and different services to them, and we've had a number of them transfer into the shelter or directly into permanent housing."
The Tiny Oaks Supportive Services Village will be an extension of that, he said, but obviously more permanent than a tent.
"It is designed to provide a full array of wraparound services: physical health, mental health, housing navigation, case workers, the kind of things to get people through those barriers and into permanent, supportive housing."
The population being targeted for this future facility are not individuals with untreated mental illness or out-of-control addictions, he said.
It will be managed by referral, they'll be working with service providers, and they'll be making progress toward a pathway to permanent housing, he said.
"Look, I've spent a lot of time over in that part of Oildale," he said of the proposed location. "And they have some real homeless challenges there ... mental health, addiction and all those related issues.
"And right now, there's no services provided over there, there's no homeless shelter over in Oildale to try to reach those people," he said, "and this is an effort to try to do just that."
Donna Clopton, president of the Oildale Community Action Team, a volunteer group that organizes graffiti abatement, litter and trash cleanup and community improvement efforts of all sorts, agreed with Zervis.
The area in question is already challenged by the presence of homeless individuals, encampments, drug use and more, she said.
"I do understand it's going to be near a senior center, and I understand those concerns," Clopton said. "But, once again, these folks are already out there. They're sleeping on their grass in the morning."
She would much rather have them in a clean environment with bathrooms, showers and laundry services, Clopton said, and receiving the kind of case management and professional help that those still living on the street or along the banks of the river don't have access to.
Jeff Flores, supervisor-elect in the Third District, which includes Oildale, said he too is in support of the county's efforts in this regard.
"Of course, it has to be done right," said Flores, who will be sworn in in January, with the retirement of longtime Supervisor Mike Maggard.
Flores noted that the project will front East Roberts Lane and will not be adjacent to the Kern River Parkway, which is at least 850 feet to the south.
"I believe we could see a net benefit," Flores said, "including at the senior center, including along the river."