Pit Stop

P.G.’s public works director expects the restroom at the butterfly sanctuary will be installed by the end of August after delays.

Pacific Grove had a “to do” list when it set out to install a single prefab restroom in the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. City Council approved the list within what’s called a mitigated negative declaration in June 2018. One of the items on the list was to make sure the Ohlone Costanoan-Esselen Nation had a monitor on site during digging.

“It’s a sacred site to us,” says Louise J. Miranda Ramirez, the tribe’s chair. It’s registered as a sacred site with the California Native American Heritage Commission. No remains or artifacts have been found there, but it’s possible they could be present. Under Assembly Bill 52, which took effect in 2015, municipalities must include tribal monitors in projects where artifacts or ancestral remains could be disturbed. P.G.’s mitigated negative declaration acknowledged that.

With the passage of time, however, some items fell off the city’s list. In September, council approved the purchase of the restroom for $62,000. By then it was time for the monarchs to return for the overwintering season, so construction was delayed.

On July 8, the Public Works Department started digging. Concerned residents who saw the construction asked city officials if a tribal monitor was in place. Construction was stopped on July 15, says Public Works Director Daniel Gho: “It was an oversight on our part.”

The Weekly is powered by the generosity of readers like you, who support our mission to produce engaging, independent and in-depth journalism.

Show Your Support
Learn More

A tribal monitor was on site July 22 for the restart of digging, which was completed the next day.

Ramirez says the tribe’s goal isn’t to stop projects – members want to be included so ancestors’ remains can be recovered and reburied. “We’re excluded many, many times because people are not used to working with us,” she says. “It’s taking awhile to get used to each other.”

Become a Weekly Insider.

Join Us
Learn More

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.