Roseland Neighborhood Annexation Celebration

January 29, 2018
Ashley Simon
Ashley Simon

On November 1st, 2017, the community of Roseland was officially annexed into the City of Santa Rosa. Due to the fires, the celebration was postponed to January 20th, 2018.

Staged in the middle of what is scheduled to become Roseland Village Neighborhood Center, The Roseland Neighborhood Celebration featured music, dancing, local food vendors, games, and a number of organizations eager to share what services they have to support the newly incorporated neighborhood and smaller county islands.

Putting this event together took a lot of effort from all over the city. At the event I spoke to Liliana Sanchez, the CCE's Americorps VISTA for the City of Santa Rosa. Liliana explained just some of the many things she coordinated to make the celebration happen.

Roseland Community Celebration - Liliana Sanchez

City workers were not the only ones with tabling and enjoying the celebration. Community Action Partnership of Sonoma County (CAP Sonoma) is the largest non-profit in Sonoma County and is also the main provider of service to the underserved Roseland area. I asked Vince Harper, Director of Community Engagement at CAP, about the celebration and next steps for his organization. CAP Sonoma, he said, is excited about annexation and has created the Roseland Community Building Initiative which is a project that aims to form connections and give support to the area with resident leaders.

Roseland Community Celebration - Vince Harper

As a resident of the Roseland neighborhood myself, I was curious to know what else was happening at the celebration. Making my way through the crowds of people, I found multiple tables full of books. These books were collected by Sonoma State University Masters of Education service-learning students for donation at the celebration. Every child was able to take two books home with them. I spoke to Meryl Blomseth and Andrea Vollmer about what they hoped to accomplish with their project.

Roseland Community Celebration - Andrea Vollmer

Meryl informed me that any books left over from the celebration will be donated to Roseland Collegiate Prep students, whose school was badly damaged by the October fires.

service-learning book table

The Sonoma County Library also brought books for residents and visitors to take home. Librarian, Jacquelyn Martinez, shared with me that many ways that residents can utilize their library membership. Free bilingual tech classes, free and discounted tickets to museums and arts centers in the county, and on-demand e-/ and audiobooks access are just some of the services offered. I also made sure to snag a few flyers for the upcoming Black History Month events hosted by the library.

Jacquelyn Martinez

Teresa Gudino from Santa Rosa Water explained to me that many residents don't know about all the of the different services, lots of them free, that are provided by the City. The city tap water, for example, already goes through a rigorous filtration process. "Drinking from the faucet is safe", she said. However, many people still go out of their way to buy bottled water from the store on top of the monthly water bill from the city. The Santa Rosa Water's website says, "For the price of one small bottle of water, you would be able to buy about 340 gallons of tap water." Teresa also allowed me take several informational brochures about all the ways to save money through rebates and bill assistance and to get free water-saving tools. Teresa added that the city is committed to protecting all our water. "The creeks are places are for everyone; [they] bring community together and we can all contribute to protecting our environment."


Julia Gonzalez from the City Manager's Office showed me some of the other ways that people can get involved in contributing to the city in general. Residents can serve on boards, commissions, or committees that interest them where there is an open position. There are 14 different options and most of them have 7 members on each so there's plenty of opportunities to find a vacancy for a cause that interests you.

My favorite part of the celebration was getting to take home plant seeds in a small pot. (Thanks to Liliana for coordinating with Landpaths) I was able to collect three different pots with seeds and I'm not-so-patiently waiting for them to grow!

I am happy to know that there are long-time Roseland residents that feel welcomed at this time by the city and local organizations. Many have been waiting so long for this to become a reality and feel that they will receive as much support from the city as they have put in over the years. Roseland, Victoria Drive, West Third, West Hearn, and Brittain Lane are the islands that for a very long time had been supplying goods and services to the city while not receiving as much in return, essentially functioning as internal colonies. Just outside of the big white tent with music, dancing, and games, there is a tent village with people living on the gravel along the bike path behind the Dollar Tree. Camp Michela, or Remembrance Village, it's called. After the city dismantled the encampment at the 101 underpass, the camp has expanded beyond the original fenced encampment and grown by over 70 people. But as the celebration took place, you couldn't see any of that; not until you left and peered around the food trucks. As I mentioned earlier, the Roseland Community Annexation Celebration took place in the middle of a future shopping center and some proposed housing units called the Roseland Village Neighborhood Center. In order for this 7.4 acre neighborhood center to take place, the residents of Remembrance Village and the newcomers from the downtown overpass will have to leave once again. I want everyone in my community to be welcomed and feel supported by the city. I hope that support extends to our most vulnerable neighbors.

For more pictures of the event visit our Flikr album and check out the Roseland Community Annexation Celebration playlist on YouTube.