Former Oakland City Councilwoman Mary Moore, a tireless champion of neighborhood preservation, died Aug. 17, according to her daughter, Alison.
Moore, who was only the third woman to serve on the council when she was elected in 1977, represented constituents in District 2 until she retired in 1994.
In a statement announcing her death, Moore's family described her as part of a progressive coalition that included Lionel J. Wilson and Wilson Riles Jr., and which ushered in an era of grass-roots activism reacting to downtown developer interests.
Moore once described the city's neighborhoods as "central to the survival of the core city."
Valerie Winemiller, a Piedmont Avenue neighborhood activist, recalled how Moore led the fight in the 1980s to stem widespread condo conversions.
"What was happening was outside interests were buying up rental housing and forcing out tenants; putting units back on the market for inflated rents," Winemiller said. "It was having a negative impact on the neighborhoods like ours where this was going on."
Throughout her lifetime, Alison Moore said, her mother was a champion of civil rights and civil liberties.
Along with her husband, the late Alameda County Municipal Court Judge Vern Moore, Mary Moore began her political activism in the early 1960s. She campaigned against Proposition 14, which called for overturning the 1963 Rumford Fair Housing Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation that sought to eliminate discrimination against minorities. Proposition 14 later was declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court.
Chris Peeples, a current member of the AC Transit Board of Directors, worked as Moore's council aide in the 1980s.
"Mary was the first president of the merged Montclair and 12th Assembly District Democratic clubs. She was a longtime supporter of progressive politics in Oakland and a strong supporter of the neighborhoods," Peeples said. "She was my boss for two years -- and a great boss she was."
Peeples also said that Moore did not care about how much money she was paid for her part-time seat on the council and had no aspirations for higher office. She just wanted to help Oakland be a better place to live.
"She was utterly fearless and smart," Peeples said. "She had a way of empowering community activists to talk to each other and to approach the city establishment with their concerns and priorities, especially as it pertained to respecting the historic neighborhood fabric."
Naomi Schiff, a former president of the Oakland Heritage Alliance and a resident of Adams Point, said, "Mary was the first person to encourage me to engage with city government. I remember her originality, her much-appreciated engagement with community members, and her impatience with dumb ideas and bad behavior."
Longtime West Oakland activist Ellen Wyrick Parkinson remembered that Moore led the effort to keep big-rig trucks off Interstate 580. "That was huge for me because I was driving out to Dublin for my job then, and the trucks were a hazard."
City government colleagues remembered Moore with glowing words.
Marge Gibson Haskell, who served on the council with Moore, wrote in an email, "While Mary was on the Oakland City Council she stood for Integrity, with a capital 'I.' When Mary took a position, you knew that she would stay there. Community groups loved her because once she committed to their cause, they knew that there would be no backing off."
Former City Manager Henry Gardner called Moore "a trailblazer who was passionate for her district constituents and for Oakland at large. Mary was brilliant."
Moore is survived by her children, Alison Moore, Hilary Nelly and Adam Moore; and six grandchildren.
Alison Moore said a memorial is planned. For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.