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Oakland rainbow vigilantes illegally paint crosswalks themselves

People commandeer the streets of Oakland to paint rainbow crosswalks.
Photo credit:
Dave Campbell

On April 26 a band of seemingly fortuitous artists descended on the intersection of Telegraph and 66th in Oakland to paint the four-way stop in rainbow colors according to StreetsblogSF.

Oakland Pride has been unsuccessful in their pleas to get rainbow crosswalks installed at the crossroads which is also where the oldest continuously open gay and lesbian bar, White Horse Inn, is located. 

The demand for the colorful walkways was so great that the Temescal Business Improvement District (BID) got involved a few months ago which included calling the city every day.

 Shifra De Benedictis-Kessner, Executive Director of the BID said, “We really wanted it to happen before the Oakland Pride celebration on September 9."

Organizers thought they could paint the crosswalks under the Paint the Town” program through The Oakland Department of Transportation, but that's only for streets with limited traffic flow and even then prohibits official road surface markings.

That's when both organizations enlisted the help of Dave Campbell, the Advocacy Director for Bike East Bay. He has extensive knowledge of city management and decided to put those skills to work in assisting BID and Oakland Pride. He was successful in setting up a meeting with the mayor's office. They could only suggest the group hold a block party which they applied for and got approval. 

The permit was for Sunday, August 26 and everything was going as planned: a portion of Telegraph was blocked off and traffic was re-routed. 

The party was underway when a seemingly impetuous group of people with paint cans and brushes stormed the event and began to decorate the intersection with rainbows for about three hours before departing.

None of the artists have been identified. 

San Diego has been considering adding its own rainbow street flair to Hillcrest. This past August at CityFest, donations, and VIP ticket purchases went into the Hillcrest Rainbow Crosswalks Project.

All photos courtesy Dave Campbell