What’s Happening NEXTDOOR?

By Peter Kilkus

During the destructive Atlas fire in the Lake Berryessa region, several methods were used to communicate the status of the fire to local residents, especially those evacuated from the Berryessa Highlands.

Besides the crucial Facebook Live posts by Evan Kilkus of the Lake Berryessa News, one of the key communication tools was Nextdoor Berryessa. Nextdoor is a communication platform that allows neighbors to mobilize and get stuff done like never before. It allows communities (Neighborhoods) to easily create private websites which allow direct contact among neighbors and build stronger neighborhoods.

Nextdoor was created based on the idea that the neighborhood is one of the most important and useful communities in a person's life. On Nextdoor, members can: share local recommendations (plumbers, auto mechanics, babysitters, etc.); sell or give away household items; publicize local events; exchange information about crime and safety issues; find neighbors in the directory; ask for advice.

Nextdoor Berryessa was born several years ago. Berryessa Highlands resident since 2005 and self-described “computer geek”, Bill Rahe, says, “While surfing the internet back in 2012/2013 I ran across an article about a relatively new website called Nextdoor. It appeared to be a unique (and “modern”) way for our Berryessa Highlands neighbors to communicate amongst themselves and for coordinating local events.”

“I opened their weblink(s) to find that there were absolutely no mapped neighborhoods anywhere near Lake Berryessa. So…I drew map lines around our immediate Berryessa Highlands streets and established our initial “Nextdoor” online neighborhood. As a result, I became the Lead by default.  (Editor’s Note: I remember getting my first invitation from Bill to join Nextdoor - which I did. He believes I was actually the second “member”.)”

“In the immediate months afterwards people started joining our Nextdoor site and the boundary lines started being stretched to include other neighbors along Steele Canyon Road. Likewise, along the way Debra Healer was identified as a Lead for our Nextdoor site, which was absolutely fine with me. Working full time at Mechanics Bank in Napa prohibited me from having adequate time to advertise the site or find any locals interested in joining. She had invited “boat loads” of people to join our online site.” 

(Editor’s Note: Debra also used Nextdoor to organize and host - with her husband Tom - the epic  “We Survived” party on October 28 at her house - 200+ people! It was also the longest Nextdoor Berryessa email chain in its history - 126 conversations! Definitely a better tool than Facebook.)

Bill goes on, “The rest is history…. residents driving too fast, dogs barking, coyotes hunting, garage sales, questions about home repair recommendations, etc., etc. But after our most recent experiences with the threat of devastating fires avoided, the site delivered everything I ever hoped it would be able to do...”

During the last five years Nextdoor Berryessa Highlands has grown to 529 members and added four additional Neighborhoods: Capell Valley, 39; West Berryessa, 42; Mix Gates Canyon, 44; Atlas Peak-Soda Canyon, 85 for a total of 739 members. After the recent Atlas Fire experience, it will probably continue that growth trend.

Nextdoor Local Map

pkilkus@gmail.com                       © Peter Kilkus 2017