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Martinez Community Split Over Love/Hate Relationship With Resident Beavers

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[Image via Worth a Dam. Click for an expanded view]

"Everyone's saying we hate beavers, but this is not about liking beavers or not liking beavers," said public works director Dave Scola, a third-generation Martinez native. "We went through a lengthy planning process, and never once did anyone ask for a beaver. Not one person said, "Hey, I have an idea, let's put a beaver in there,'" Artist and Martinez resident Mario Alfaro has been ordered to cover up a beaver he painted onto a mural that he was commissioned to paint for the city of Martinez. "Every day, people ask me, 'Where is the beaver?' So I want to please the people and I put in a beaver. It was really a very small beaver. But the city did not want it." In 2006, two beavers showed up in Alhambra Creek. The pair has wrecked havoc on Martinez, gnawing through $10 million worth of flood-control work. While city officials and public work crews see the beavers as a nightmare, the residents of Martinez think they're now a part of Martinez and that the beavers residency is proof of a healthy watershed. Regardless, Alfaro has been ordered to remove the beaver from the mural. "This is a failure to identify what a positive force the beavers have been in Martinez," said Heidi Perryman, of Worth a Dam. "A lot of people in town don't know who Joe DiMaggio or John Muir is, but everyone knows the beavers."
· Martinez mural artist forced to remove beaver [SFGate]