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Living in Rodeo, CA

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > Housing, Neighborhoods, & Moving > Living in Rodeo, CA



May 2008

We are looking to buy a house and have been currently looking in the Berkeley area, consistently feeling disappointed with the prices and sizes of houses. I just discovered a town north of Richmond called Rodeo. Does anyone have any experience or knowledge about this area? Would this be a good area to raise kids? Anyone know about the type of community that lives there? The availability of organic groceries, restaurants and about the school system? It looks like a hidden gem although I am having trouble getting any info! Any insights would be appreciated! **Dreaming of small town life in Bay Area...


Rodeo is right next to the refineries, so air quality is often poor and unsafe. If you're interested in organic food, I'm guessing you're concerned about health. In general, the area is more blue collar/working class.

But, you might want to check out Pinole. Old town is cute and Trader Joe's is coming in and a Kaiser is being built. Pinole has a sense of community and well thought out community development/planning. I could even recommend a good realtor who specializes in this area if you'd like. Deena


Do not move to Rodeo! I cannot believe that you have not been warned about this area. It is ranked the dirtiest/worst in the US for toxic environmental releases. You would be in very close range of over 20 Shell Oil, Tesoro, Chevron and several Concoc plants,factories and other industrial properties that release TOXIC CHEMICALS.

You would have to be trained in how to respond to a chemical emergency and listen for sirens to go off. As you stated in your post that you want organic produce and restaurants, that would be the least of your worries if you moved to this area. Many newspaper reports have been done exposing the MAJOR health risks of living in this area. concerned for your health


We don't live in Rodeo, but near there, Vallejo. I struggle with the joy of having an affordable home (for Northern, CA), and convenient location but no good restaurants, lack of good schools, and no organic grocery stores, etc (not even a Trader Joes!). So you are smart to look beyond the cost of housing. That being said, we have a good friend who was raised in Rodeo and still lives there. He does not have children, but is becoming increasingly more worried about crime in his neighborhood, and he goes to Berkeley for his ''organic'' food. I have visited our friend's home several times, and found the neighborhood look and feel depressing, but maybe there are nicer areas of Rodeo I am not aware of?? If you are looking for small town feel, I would recommend you take a look at Pinole or Benicia. Even Vallejo has some really lovely areas that seem ''safe'' (but just plan on sending your kids to private school as we are). Happy to own a home, just miss Trader Joe's
I have to reply to your message, even though I haven't even been to Rodeo in 20 years, it may have changed radically ... and I apologize in advance to current fans of that town.

I moved there when I was 13, after growing up in Berkeley and Oakland, and it was probably the most traumatic thing to ever happen to me. I went to a school, now closed, with children of KKK members. I was beat up, told that I should dress like ''a white girl'' and had many run ins with the local racist hicks. Apparently it's the crystal meth capital of the bay area, which I believe, since I have a meth addict relative that moved there recently.

On top of that, the Shell Oil Refinery is RIGHT THERE. I was talking on the phone to a friend and I could hear the fire coming from the refinery (one of the stacks blows flames day and night) over the phone. GROSS.

When it came time for high school, I told my mom that if I had to go to John Swett HS in Crockett, I would get a blue mohawk and drop out. So we got a fake address and she drove me to Berkeley High everyday for 4 years. My relief was HUGE. I hated Rodeo. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

That being said, perhaps it's changed, or perhaps it could be changed. Except the oil refinery, which is reason enough not to move there. Lived in Rodeo and Loathed It


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