by Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 4
Part II in a two-part series
Thirty-five years ago, a small, progressive coalition stopped development in the lower foothills adjacent to Upper Bidwell Park with the rallying cry, “No way San Jose.”
That area has been protected under the name of Bidwell Ranch since the 1988 referendum that stopped the project. Voters in favor of stopping the Rancho Arroyo project wanted to protect northwest Chico -– not so much from inevitable population growth -– but from the kind of suburban sprawl that had come to be associated with California cities like San Jose and Fresno.