San Jose Mercury: Oak Knoll Naval Hospital to be imploded Friday, April 4, 2011


Workers who had started stripping the old buildings of asbestos to ready them for demolition left when SunCal could no longer pay them, leaving piles of trash behind. Vandals stripped wiring, pipes and every bit of metal from the structures, trespassers used them as party houses and their walls as graffiti canvasses. Drug dealers and squatters took over the hospital and other buildings for a time.

As the brush grew unabated, neighbors surrounding the property grew more and more concerned about fire and health hazards and started pestering fire officials and the city to take action.

Oakland City Attorney John Russo ended up filing $6.7 million claims against Lehman Brothers in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York to get money to secure the property, abate the fire hazards, and finish remediation and demolition. The court released $3.7 million in November 2009, but it still took more than a year and another $1.7 million from the court to get it done.