that was the site o either the immediate neighbors o theChinatown or the historic Charter Avenue Chinatown itsel.Community research demonstrated the existence o the Chi-natown, and the contracting archaeologist concurred the sitewas likely to contain historical archaeological remains. Withcommunity members advocating or the potential archaeo-logical remains, the developer at the last minute voluntarilyadopted mitigation measures that seemed to be identicalto those adopted or the San Pablo Avenue Chinatown site.The developer agreed to a ocused community review o thearchaeological study “prior to construction” and addition-ally called or stopping all work and allowing archaeologicalevaluation i a single archaeological artiact was discoveredduring construction.
In this case, that the community review o the archaeolog-ical plan was slated to happen “prior to construction” insteado “prior to any removal o oundations or other ground-dis-turbing activities” meant that it never happened. Instead, thework demolishing the existing historic structures fowed intoremoving soil in preparation or the new construction. Aterthe buildings were demolished, earthmoving equipment wasbrought in to stir up and then compact what was euphe-mistically called the project area’s “unconsolidated historicll”—that is, the potential archaeological site. By the time theproject hit the mitigation measure’s trigger, the commence-ment o construction, there was likely no intact site let. Thearchaeological monitoring plan, which required construc-tion workers to call a halt to the project i an historic arti-act was ound, also ailed. Although casual observation o the project area showed the demolition and other ground-disturbing work exposed buried historic items, and thereorewould have triggered an archaeological assessment withintwenty-our hours, an archaeologist was never summoned. Itmay never be known i unique and signicant archaeologicalresources were destroyed.
CURATIONSince the intended goal o mitigations is that the culturalresource remaining at the end o the project is at least equalto the cultural resource that existed beore the project, CEQAguidelines have been amended to specically state that i the impact cannot be avoided, mitigation measures caninclude curation o the resultant archaeological collection.The mitigation measures adopted or the San Pablo AvenueChinatown unortunately have let the curation stage o thearchaeological collection as something yet to be negotiated. Adequate curation poses a challenge. Facilities that curatearchaeological collections in accordance with the State o Cal-iornia’s “Guidelines or the Curation o Archeological Collec-tions” routinely charge $1,000 per each cubic oot (a bank-ers’ box worth) o materials. Even so, most such acilities areno longer accepting new collections due to lack o space. Thesolution or the nal curation plan should be specied in themitigation measures.
PROACTIVE STUDY Activating legal protections or the rediscovered San Pablo Avenue Chinatown highlighted the need or urther workthat could identiy existing cultural resources relating toCaliornia’s Chinese heritage beore they might be threatenedby redevelopment. Hometown Oaklander Kelly Fong, then asenior in archaeology at the University o Caliornia, Berke-ley, conducted a volunteer research project to identiy urtherhistoric sites associated with nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Chinese Oaklanders. Fong compiled the lists o Oak-land Chinese businesses rom three sources: the
1882 WellsFargo Directory o Chinese Business Houses
; the rst one hun-dred Oakland Chinese Merchant Partnership case les gener-ated as part o the enorcement o the Chinese Exclusion Actand now preserved at the National Archives, San Bruno; andthe businesses, residences, and other establishments labeledas “Chinese” on the surviving volume o the 1889 SanbornFire Insurance Company map o Oakland. She produced adatabase o early Chinese businesses by street address, andplotted the locations on a map. The results not only expandideas about early Chinese Oaklanders, demonstrating thatmany early Chinese Caliornians lived and worked outside o established Chinatowns, but also provide a rst step in pro-actively protecting historic buildings or potential archaeolog-ical remains associated with these sites. The results o Fong’sstudy are on le with the City o Oakland’s Cultural HeritageResource Survey, where the inormation will be included inuture city planning assessments.
Placing such studies in theregional governmental repository or archaeological records(such as the Caliornia Archaeological Site Survey NorthwestInormation Center) can increase the likelihood the data willbe incorporated in Environmental Impact Reviews.CONCLUSIONOur experience with activating legal protections or signi-cant potential archaeological resources taught us a number o lessons. Mitigation measures should spell out the who, what,where, when, and how o all steps in explicit detail. Long-term curation procedures, i applicable, need to be addressedas part o the project’s initial Environmental Impact Review. We demonstrated that public review by community mem-bers and other archaeological practitioners provides a betteropportunity or planned mitigations to meet legal obligationsor protecting signicant cultural resources. Our experiencealso highlights the current gap in standards or and oversighto archaeological projects, at both the local and state level.Perhaps most o all, our experience highlights the need or
Activating Legal Protections or Archaeological Remains o Historic Chinatown Sites 121
Chinese America: History and Perspectives – The journal of the Chinese Historical Society of America