In the wake of the Santa Rosa fires, many Burners wanted to do whatever they could to help. The shelter situation was dire, with 3000 homes destroyed (5% of the total housing stock) and 100,000 people displaced.
Burners from Camp Epic raised $30,000 to bring their camp accommodation to Santa Rosa to create Oasis Village. 40-ft shipping containers decked out with power, lighting, insulation, and climate control. They got some land donated from a local
weed medical marijuana grower, and shipped the containers out, set them up in a village ready for fire survivors to occupy.
And that’s when The Man stepped in to kill it.
Danger Ranger brought the first shipping container to Burning Man in 1997, a military psyops unit used during the Vietnam War.
Since then, containers have become part of the fabric of Burnitecture.
We contributed several containers to the Burner-founded [free|space] project in SF, earning a commendation letter from the Mayor’s Office. However we were very careful to ensure the containers were not used for residential purposes.Read more about the [Free|Space] project here:
No Gifting for Santa
Shipping containers are heavy, expensive to move, and in many ways impractical forms of shelter. But they are solid enough to withstand windstorms, and much more comfortable for a family than sleeping in a car.
So what was the problem in Santa Rosa? They were fitted out in Nevada, not California. And they didn’t have windows. So the city said “no way”, leaving the Burners with a foul taste in their mouth, swearing to never do anything in California again – and leaving the families who’d lost their homes still sleeping in their cars. “Cars have windows”, said the building inspector.
Communal Effort and Gifting means Burners want to help others. This is why Burners Without Borders was formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Many Burners went to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake in the same spirit.
Unfortunately it seems that in Burning Man’s home state of California “Civic Responsibility” is a buzzkill for the other Principles.
The project was initially lauded in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and USA Today. Burners Without Borders promoted the fundraiser. Appeals to previous Burning Man supporters Gavin Newsom and Jerry Brown fell on deaf ears.
Here is the full story from the SF Chronicle (hat tip to Tim Lipton from Black Rock City’s Volunteer Response Team for bringing this to our attention).
Screenshots from SF Chronicle, Feb 25 2018