Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association
Vista Verde Community Association

Vista Verde

Written by Sheldon Breiner
Portola Valley, CA
January 23, 2008
(revised from its original written in 1996 to benefit the renovation of the historic Old School House)

Our Town is fascinating, full of nooks and crannies. And big. To get around and see everything it helps to be able to run intrepidly along trails, through the brush and up and down hills. That way one can see a lot, explore its history and get there before time - and man - erases the evidence.

For more than five decades, I've been a resident of this place or an adventurous student down the road at 'The Farm.' For much of this time I have managed to search this vast environment and satisfy my half-vast curiosity by using half-fast running as a vehicle. It is indeed possible to run for exercise and still stop to smell the flowers and see the sights. In Portola Valley, there are lots of both and all it takes is a curious mind and a good pair of legs.

Dear Neighbors,

Ramona Road culvert area:

On Friday, January 11, 2013, a few of us (Ken Kormanak, Ruth Thor Nelson and Amanda Lee) met with Joe LoCoco, DPW's Deputy Director, Road Services, for two hours at the culvert which overflowed onto Ramona Road on Sunday, December 2.

Ken initiated the field trip in follow up to the full Committee meeting with the DPW on December 20, 2012.  We wanted to locate and explore the restricted outflow of the culvert drain at its exit point near Los Trancos Creek.  Open the attachment for Ken's pictures that provide some good visuals.

After hiking down slope, we found that the drain pipe was indeed covered in debris and not visible; the flow of water was the only clue to its location.  This drain constriction coupled with accumulated debris at the road-level culvert caused water to back up onto Ramona Road during December’s unusually heavy rains.  Due to the drain outlet location, no equipment can access it currently.  Joe will have his crew try to expose the drain (a 24-inch RCP/reinforced concrete pipe) using hand tools to define the situation and create a solution.

The following legends are contributed by Richard Tryce.

The Lost Miners of Coal Mine Ridge

The historical records of Portola Valley confirm that the original Indian inhabitants of the Peninsula believed there were ghostly spirits in the mountains. This area has a mystical history and heritage. And so it was after the earthquake of 1906. The earth fell in on the coal mine on Coal Mine Ridge. Waters covered what was the mine. The resulting lake is West of the corner of Old Spanish Trail and Vista Verde Way. And for children and adults with open minds and spirit, the plaintive call of the trapped miners can be heard carried in the soft winds of October. Be still, listen hard, and don't be afraid.

Progress updates will be posted to this website ongoing – click on “Vista Verde > Roads and Signs” menu above to see all publications.

At the last Vista Verde Community meeting, the Save Alpine and Ramona Roads ad hoc committee was formed to work in conjunction with the Los Trancos Woods Community Association to work with the County and other governmental agencies to ensure that Ramona Road and Alpine Road slide areas are repaired in a timely manner and sustainably.  The committee is also committed to communicating with the community, keeping neighbors apprised of progress.

VV/LTW Save Alpine and Ramona Roads (SARR) Committee Members/Affiliates:
Ross Edwards – Civil Engineer / Founder & former CEO, WEBCOR
Mario Wijtman – Commercial/Industrial General Contractor / EVP, XL Construction
Anne Baldwin – Resident since 1960 with property bordering Ramona Road
Ken Kormanak – Software Engineer
Autumn Stanley – Board Member, LTWCA
William (Bill) Sloan Coats – Attorney at Law
Ruth Thor Nelson – Co-Chair, SARR
Amanda Lee - Co-Chair, SARR and Co-Chair, VV Roads Committee

SARR is an ad-hoc VVCA & LTWCA Committee:
Tom Thayer - LTWCA President
Steve Friedman – LTW CERPP Coordinator
Deb Smith - VVCA President
Bill Tagg - VV CERPP Coordinator

Progress updates will be posted to this website ongoing. 

Dear Neighbors,

Come to the neighborhood ribbon cutting and party to celebrate the new Vista Verde community signs October 15th from 11am to 1pm at 317 Ramona Road:

  • Ribbon cutting from 11-11:30 at the sign on Ramona Road
  • Party from 11:30-1:00 hosted by Ross & Gloria Edwards

Your RSVP will help with planning: email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To all who helped make the Vista Verde community signs a reality – “THANK YOU!”

Local businesses, thank you for your generous donations!

  • Portola Valley Hardware
  • Terrell Slawson, Linwood Realty
  • Ginny & Joe Kavanaugh, Coldwell Banker Real Estate
  • Molly & Steve Westrate, Coldwell Banker Real Estate
  • Portola Valley Garage
  • Robert’s Market

Dear Neighbors:

We finally made it! Fundraising for the two community entrance signs has successfully concluded and, with the encroachment permit approved, our landscape contractor will begin construction in mid-September. Metal signs will be installed after the rock walls have been built. We are planning to have a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 15 followed by a community-wide party. Please save this date for the ceremony and party.

Please join me in thanking Claudia Mazzetti and Amanda Lee for their professionalism, persistence, and creativity in making everything happen; while superficially appearing simple, this project has been remarkably complex and time-consuming to execute. I would also like to thank the community members and local businesspeople whose generous contributions made this project possible.

I look forward to seeing everybody at the October 15 ceremony/party!

Rob Kalman
President, VVCA

Amended and approved November 17th 2004


The association shall be called the VISTA VERDE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION.


Membership in this organization is voluntary. It has as its purpose the fostering of mutual social and economic interests of property owners and residents in the Vista Verde Community and Pony Tracks Ranch, in San Mateo County, California. It looks particularly toward the safety of the community, and protection and improvement of their property and property rights. The Association is organized in a spirit which encourages the active participation of its entire membership in community affairs. Major decisions and policies are the membership’s to make. The officers of the Association shall provide leadership and direction and shall act in compliance with the mandates given them by membership.

David Smernoff and Tom Uridell are heading up the Water Board's water movement control and road maintenance/repair activities. The Water Board has hired BAGG Engineering to develop plans to address the various water movement and road repair issues, and is working with San Mateo County to execute the projects. Major road issues being addressed include those on Ramona Road, Alpine Road, and near the corner of Old Spanish Trail and Vista Verde. The Water Board's water movement control Web page is here.

The current VVCA officers are:

  • Co-President: Carolina Pitera (Term: Dec 2014 - Dec 2016)
  • Co-President: Nancy Freire (Term: Dec 2014 - Dec 2016)
  • Vice President: Joan Barksdale (Term: Dec 2015 - Dec 2017)
  • Treasurer: Hector Ribera (Term: Dec 2014 - Dec 2016)
  • Secretary: Pamela Dorrell (Term: Dec 2015 - Dec 2017)

 The following roles are held without term limitations:

  • CERPP Emergency Coordinator: Tom Bleier
  • Sudden Oak Death (SOD) Task Force Co-Chairs: Amanda Lee and Linda Drey-Nightingale
  • VVCA Roads Committee Co-Chairs: Amanda Lee and Claudia Mazzetti
  • Webmaster: Rob Kalman



Los Trancos County Maintenance District