Apr 21

Earth Day Celebration Saturday: Plant Sale, Portola Green Planning & Ice Cream!

This Saturday, April 22nd, is Earth Day and to celebrate there will be a celebration at Burrows Pocket Park tomorrow (San Bruno Ave & Burrows Street). The event is being co-sponsored by community volunteers from the Portola Neighborhood Association Portola Urban Greening and Goettingen Neighbors Group.

Stop by the event to share your ideas for the expansion of Burrows Pocket Park

This will be a great opportunity to learn more and share your thoughts about the greening efforts in the neighborhood.  Some of which include urban agriculture opportunities, F.U.F. tree plantings and the planned expansion of Burrows Pocket Park.  If you haven’t heard, P.U.G. & the P.N.A. have secured the use of the land bordering the highway and adjacent to the existing Burrows Park.  They need the community’s input on what the new park should be and how it should be used.  Ideas discussed have ranged from a scuplture park & dog run to a community horseshoe court.  Check out the space and give your 2 cents at the event tomorrow

Stay for the ice cream, tacos & live music!

In addition to all the Portola green planning there will a plant sale fundraiser to benefit the neighborhood groups.  For fun and refreshments, there will also be an icecream pop-up from Churn Urban Creamery, tacos from La Placita, a live Jazz band, activities for kids and Portola t-shirt sales.  Happy Earth Day Portola!

All The Details:

This Saturday, April 22nd from 10 am2 pm.

Burrows Pocket Park located at 2 Burrows Street, SF, 94134.

An Earth Day block party celebrating the incredible Portola community and its dedicated greening efforts! We are still glowing from the Garden District Unveiling and can’t wait to gather again. This time, on Earth Day, we look forward to hearing and documenting your aspirations while enjoying ice cream, tacos, live music, and fun activities for the whole family.

Share your vision for the Garden District. Join your neighbors to learn more about upcoming opportunities, share feedback about the activities and experiences you want from future greening projects (including the potential revitalization of an urban farm), and grab some plants for your backyard before it is too late in the Spring!

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/earth-day-celebration-saturday-plant-sale-portola-green-planning-ice-cream/

Apr 19

Saddle Up Portola: Horseback Riding Comes to McLaren Park For A Limited Time

If you haven’t heard or seen for yourself already, horseback riding has returned to McLaren Park for a limited time. The San Francisco Rec & Parks. Department is trying out an exciting two month pilot program to gauge public interest and support for the idea. Currently there are 10 horses stabled at the once abandoned San Francisco Police horse stable located at the Woolsey St. entrance to the park. Here are the details:


TRIAL PERIOD – Weather permitting, the rescheduled trial period will begin on Sunday, April 2, 2017 and end on Saturday May 20, 2017.


McLaren Park @ Louis Sutter Police Stables (entrance at University & Woolsey)

  • 10 horses available at the Police Horse Stables for trail rides in McLaren Park (by Louis Sutter playground). All rides are guided by professional wranglers.

Golden Gate Park @ Bercut Equitation Field (Chain of Lakes Drive E, near JFK)

  • 15 horses will be available at the Bercut Equitation Field for trail rides in Golden Gate Park (see map below). All rides are guided by professional wranglers.


7 Days a week and hours of operations 8 am to 7 pm, weather permitting. Please call the toll free number 1-(844) 967-4653 for current availability


Golden Gate Park

·         30 minutes:$40

·         60 minutes $60

·         90 minutes $80

McLaren Park

·         30 minutes: $35

·         60 minutes $55

·         90 minutes $75

(25% discount for SF Residents- Must show valid I.D.)

After years of neglect, the old San Francisco Police stables are finally being put back to good use.

Early reviews of the experience appear to be positive with the exception of a hot horse poop debate on Nextdoor.  According to some neighbors, a cleanup plan may require attention from the program’s creators if they haven’t already developed one. That said, we have been hearing from the vendor supplying the horses, that rides have been selling out with a steady stream of interest.  At the Planet we have also been hearing anecdotally from neighbors that the rides are well run, safe and “a really fun time.”  The interest in the program appears to be coming from all over the city with folks from as far away as the other side of 280, sending notes to the people at Help McLaren Park, voicing their support for the program:


I’m a Bernal Heights homeowner, and mom of 2 kids. & a dog.  I wanted to weigh in on the horse rides pilot at McLaren. My 12y daughter adores horses, and was thrilled to ride today. While she rode, I hiked with the dog over to the reservoir and back, seeing parts of the park I’d never noticed before. This is a great addition to our side of town. Please continue it!         -Amanda K.


Riders enjoying the scenery of San Francisco’s 2nd largest park.


Since this is only a pilot program, if it is to continue, the parks department needs to hear from those who want it to remain for it to continue.  You can voice your love, opinions and suggestions for the program by taking a survey below.

Survey:  On the official page for the project, scroll down to the section marked “feedback” and leave your thoughts:  CLICK HERE


Kids of all ages enjoying a ride in the park.


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/saddle-portola-horseback-riding-comes-mclaren-park-limited-time/

Apr 18

What’s Happening At The Abandoned Avenue Theater?

If you follow the Portona Neighborhood Association on Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen a very cryptic but tantalizing post this morning.  Apparently something very interesting is happening with the long abandoned but much-loved Avenue Theater.  See the screenshot below for exhibit A:

Screenshot of the P.N.A’s post this morning showing a building permit sign in the window of the Avenue Theater. Notice that the neighborhood association is listed as the contractor.

Just as curious, if you happen to pass by the theater itself today, there is some more unusual activity happening around the building.  As I write, there are reportedly construction crews on boom lifts inspecting the facade of the abandoned theater.  I placed a call to Luke Spray, the P.N.A. corridor manager, to find out more about what’s going on.   He was tight-lipped pending some final details, but said that the project has been several years in the making and that they finally received all the signed contracts yesterday needed to start the work.  He added that there will be an official announcement in tomorrow’s P.N.A. newsletter about the project and he is confident that the neighborhood will be very pleased by the news.  So until then, we wait.  In the meantime, you can sign up for that newsletter here to be one of the first to know.   And of course, we will keep posting here on the Planet.

What’s happening here?

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/whats-happening-abandoned-avenue-theater/

Apr 17

The Wild Parrots Of The Portola

Wild Parrots of the Portola resting on a light pole along Woolsey St.

San Francisco’s famous Parrots (specifically Telegraph Hill’s) have been expanding their flocks and territory further into the city’s other neighborhoods for years now. One of those flocks – perhaps more – have made their home in the trees on the hill between Woolsey Street and the north end of Burton High School. The Parrots have been spotted daily “commuting” towards downtown in the morning and back to the neighborhood in the late afternoon according to some reports from neighbors. Last Sunday, they were spotted by a reader, socializing on the power lines along the 500 block of Woolsey around 5 p.m.  There are several species of Parrots know to be living in S.F. but the most common are the Cherry-headed Conure, which is the same variety that appears to be living in the Portola.

For those of us who are not trained bird waters, there is an easy way to spot a wild Parrot aside from its colorful feathers.  They have a very distinct and fairly loud squawk that is unmistakable. See the video link below to hear what a San Francisco wild Parrot sounds like, we are sure you will spot them if you haven’t already.


On a related note, just down the block from the Parrot’s reported home, is the nest of a giant hawk.  We have a grainy shot from the same day of the tree top near the intersection of Goettingen & Dwight Street.  We also have confirmation from a neighbor on Dwight St. that there is a nest in the tree that just so happens to be a block from the believed nesting area of the (tasty) Parrots.  The circle of life, here in the Portola.   – Thanks for the photos Mike U.!

If you know more about these parrots or other flocks in the neighborhood, please share with us in the comments.

Blurry iphone shot of the Dwight Street Hawk.



Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/wild-parrots-portola/

Apr 13

April Music Lineup: F.D.R.’s Live Music Thursdays

Killer Caribou playing last month at F.D.R.

Here is your April music lineup at F.D.R. on San Bruno Ave. Every Thursday they will be featuring a local band with no cover (but tips encouraged)!

Parts & Labor

  • Ferment.Drink.Repeat – FDR Brewery 2636 San Bruno Ave. S.F.

Parts & Labor puts out a rockin’ mix of New Orleans R&B, Soul, Boogie Woogie, and Oldies. This band will be sure to get you in good spirits


Vinnie Guidera & The Dead Birds

  • Ferment Drink Repeat – FDR Brewery – FDR Brewery 2636 San Bruno Ave. S.F.

An Indie, Acoustic Rock Band out of Sacramento! Let’s show them some San Francisco Love! Opening for them will be our friends Megan & JK … who have been working on some material for their live, public debut.  Facebook Page


Curt Yagi

  • Ferment.Drink.Repeat – FDR Brewery 2636 San Bruno Ave. S.F.

San Francisco based singer songwriter Curt Yagi has been on a tear through the Bay Area music scene. The 2008 Best of the Bay Singer Songwriter (SF Bay Guardian) and RAW San Francisco Musician of the Year had his song “Sweep Me” included on the very popular KFOG Local Scene 8 CD in the Bay Area. Curt and his full band, The People Standing Behind Me, are always-engaging to the crowd and bring a blend of upbeat acoustic rock with hints of reggae and ska for an island-inspired sound.  www.curtyagi.com

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/april-music-lineup-f-d-r-s-live-music-thursdays/

Apr 12

Take A Tax Break: Canoeing & Community Hike This Saturday in McLaren

April 15th maybe one of the most dreaded days of the year.  But thankfully, with the tax deadline extended to the 18th this year, all of us procrastinators are getting an extension.  So, instead of digging though receipts and 1099 forms this Saturday, we suggest heading out to the park to join in on one of these special events happening this Saturday only:


Healthy Parks, Healthy People Trail Walk

Meet in McLaren Park at University & Mansell, next to the sign from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Join us for a walk through McLaren Park, San Francisco’s second largest park. The walk starts with light stretching, followed by a guided walk through groves of redwoods and cypress trees. This walk is moderately strenuous yet all will be rewarded with an amazing view of San Francisco. Meet by the McLaren Park sign next to the 29 Muni bus stop at University & Mansell.

For a more enjoyable walk remember to dress comfortably, wear walking shoes, bring water and use sunscreen.

Please check local weather forecasts – Trail Walks will be canceled due to rain or unsafe conditions. For more information, email [email protected]


Lake McNab Community Paddle Day

It’s your last chance to be part of Canoemobile in the Bay Area this year!

Join us on Saturday, April 15th from 9am – 11am and enjoy Lake McNab in our 24-foot Voyageur canoes. Connect with Wilderness Inquiry staff and partners for water and land-based activities focused on natural and cultural history, teambuilding, and water safety. Invite your friends and family to enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience.

Date(s): 4/15/17 – 9:00 am to 11:00 am
Start/End: McLaren Park – McNab Lake (View Map)
Fee: Free
Description: This event is free and open to the public. All ability levels are welcome – no prior experience necessary. We supply all paddling and safety equipment, so grab your spirit of adventure and meet us at the lake!


How To Stay Connected With McLaren Park News

If you would like to keep up with what’s going on in McLaren Park, email Chuck Farrugia here:  helpmlpark@gmail.com  Chuck can add you to his active mailing list and you can learn more about their group here:  Help McLaren Park

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/take-tax-break-canoeing-community-hike-saturday-mclaren/

Apr 10

Portola Mapped Through The Lense Of A 2nd Grade Class

The San Francisco School’s class of 2021 created a fun map of the Portola. Many of the little aspects of the neighborhood that us busy adults tend to miss have been artistically captured by the unspoiled eyes of youth. The black and white map highlights landmarks such as the beloved greenhouses to the not so loved but seemingly omnipresent graffiti. Click on the maps for an up close look and below we have copied the text from the map.


Welcome to the Portola!

The San Francisco School (SFS) is pleased to present this graphic map of the Portola.  Illustrated by the SFS Class of 2021 (at the time in second grade) the map celebrates the tales, trails and details of the neighborhood that we have called home since our founding in 1966.

Tucked into the southeast corner of San Francisco, the area was originally inhabited by the Ohlone people who lived along the fertile banks of Islais Creek.  Many believe that the neighborhood was named after the Spanish explorer, Gaspar de Portola, who led an expedition to the area in the 1770s.

However, the neighborhood that we know today took root after the 1906 earthquake.  Many homesteaders – initially Jewish, Maltese, Greek and Italian immigrants – capitalized on the area’s natural waterways and gentle hills and built greenhouses.  At its height, San Francisco’s budding Garden District boasted 19 family-owned nurseries and produced most of the flowers for the burgeoning city of San Francisco. Relics of the Garibaldi greenhouses stand today at the corner of Hamilton and Wayland Streets.

New to the neighborhood?  Consider starting your tour by hiking the Philosopher’s Way through McLaren Park.  This lovely, meandering 2.7 mile loop trail affords panoramic views of the city and surrounding hills.  Next, head into the neighborhood itself to find the images illustrated here and discover new delights, both large and small. Conclude your tour on bustling San Bruno Avenue and enjoy the Asian and Latino influences at the variety of family-owned restaurants and businesses.  Wherever your journey takes you, you are sure to discover the neighborhood’s many delights, as did the astute SFS second graders, when they set out to explore the Portola.  


On the backside of the large map, the student’s illustrated elements of the Portola’s character that aren’t commonly found on most maps.  Above is the full collage of landmarks and below, we’ve pulled out some that we thought were pretty fun and notable.

Our favorite is an homage to Mike, the dedicated civil servant who has been helping to keep “The Road” as clean as he can for decades.

A graffiti bench, an apt representation of urban living

The 770 Woolsey greenhouses, the last remaining greenhouses that once dominated the Portola landscape.

A keen eye noticed a hold over from when Portola was one of the largest Jewish communities in the city.

We love both the keen architectural eye of this artist as well as the inclusion of San Francisco’s most prolific tree, the power pole.

Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/portola-mapped-through-the-lense-of-a-2nd-grade-class/

Apr 06

Live Music Every Thursday At The Brewery -First April Show Tonight

With only hours to spare, here is tonight’s musical act at the Brewery.  We have received word that performances are booked through June and we will release a full list when available.If you haven’t been already, Ferment Drink Repeat is located at 2636 San Bruno Ave. Click here for FDR’s event’s page for more upcoming events and shows.



Karaj is a California Bay Area songwriter with a taste for spare arrangements and insightful lyrics. Many songs are inspired by open spaces and western states. wandering the pacific coast and beyond, playing homegrown original songs, plus more by great songwriters near and far.


Permanent link to this article: http://portolaplanet.com/2017/04/live-music-every-thursday-brewery-first-april-show-tonight/

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