Bosque Update on Meetings

“VERDE QUE TE QUIERO VERDE” (GREEN I LOVE YOU GREEN)
Federico Garcia Lorca

To the rallying cry “Bosque que te quiero Bosque” (Bosque, I love you Bosque), over 400 people packed a public meeting sponsored by the City of Albuquerque in response to the Rio Grande Vision (RGV), a pet project of Albuquerque Mayor Richard J. Berry. The wildly unpopular plan included plans for a boardwalk, restaurant and paved paths in the Bosque. While the RGV was scaled down to a ten foot-wide path (paved with crusher fine), the community opposed any kind of development within the levees. Working to protect the Bosque is the main focus of the River Writers, OLÉ’s conservation group.

The River Writers incorporate their own origin stories as a way of connecting with the Bosque and the Rio Grande. What started as a simple writing group launched the River Writers into taking immediate action to save the Bosque. At the meeting, held on September 4, 2013, three of the River Writers – Thane Padilla, Vickie Regina and Jeannette Smyth, stood together to demand that the facilitators give ample time to hear from the community. The facilitators, which included staff from both the City as well as design firm Dekker Perich Sabatini, intended to have participants write comments based on posters that showed concepts for the RGV. This tactic, perceived as a way to silence the opposition, was rejected by many in attendance. The River Writers and other allies demanded the opportunity to be heard. For three hours, community members from all walks of life made it abundantly clear that they do NOT want to see any type of development in the Bosque.

The next public meeting was slated to be held on September 18. The City canceled the meeting, but a coalition of community groups including OLÉ held the meeting despite the Mayor’s office’s efforts to silence community voices. With over 200 people in attendance, community members discussed not only their opposition to the Plan but also offered viable, proactive solutions including education and conservation efforts in the Bosque. The following day, OLÉ members delivered over 600 letters and petitions to the Mayor’s office opposing any kind of development in the Bosque.

While the work to save the Bosque from development continues, the River Writers are also focused on outreach to community members, particularly people of color and working class people, to join OLÉ’s conservation efforts.

For more information on joining the River Writers, email Andrea Serrano at aserrano@olenm.org

If you’d like to help and volunteer to continue the fight, click HERE.