A legacy of protecting Riverside Chinatown
- Since its beginnings in 1885, Chinatown residents and local citizens have taken action to affirm and maintain Riverside Chinatown as a community asset. More recently, multiple historic designations and projects related to the 1984-85 archaeological study of Riverside Chinatown have enriched the City's historical record and affirmed Riverside Chinatown as a heritage site. In the late 1980s, residents and community stakeholders were successful in obtaining a State grant to purchase the property from the RCOE to protect the site and develop a Chinatown Historical Park. Though the deal fell through in the mid-1990s, the community remained vigilant to development threats.
- In 2008, the City of Riverside approved a medical office development for the site of Riverside Chinatown. The Save Our Chinatown Committee (SOCC) was formed following the city approval of the development project. One of its first actions was to file a lawsuit to prevent the destruction of Riverside Chinatown's archaeological remains.
- In 2012, a panel of judges ruled City officials failed to consider reasonable alternatives to the proposed building plans and location. The court also found that the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) contained insufficient analysis for the City to consider the environmental and cultural impacts of the proposed development. SOCC was successful in obtaining a court ruling which set aside the City’s certification of the EIR, its statement of overriding considerations, and project approval.
- In 2014, SOCC and developers began a dialogue with the goal of finding a way to bring the medical office development to Riverside, while not destroying the Chinatown archaeological site. Talks resulted in identifying an alternative site for the medical office building project, located five blocks east of Chinatown at Olivewood Avenue off the 91 freeway and south of 14th Street. As of 2017, that medical office project is under construction. SOCC has been working with government officials and private citizens to protect the site for current and future generations.