The meaning of BORC: residents open their doors to reveal a tightknit community
by Dave Schwab
Aug 15, 2013 | 6552 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BORC residents enjoy a Friday happy hour.   DAVE SCHWAB
BORC residents enjoy a Friday happy hour. DAVE SCHWAB
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EDITOR’S NOTE: As a new feature, the Beach & Bay Press will periodically highlight neighborhoods within our community. Do you live in or know of a neighborhood or block in Pacific Beach or Mission Beach that you’d like to see covered? Tell us about it at bbp@sdnews.com.

How do you spell relief?

For some Pacific Beach residents, it’s BORC.

An acronym for Bayard, Oliver, Reed and Cass, BORC marks the street boundaries of a very special and distinctive Pacific Beach neighborhood.

“Those are loose boundaries because BORC is really about community,” said Chris Olson, who is generally credited with reviving the neighborhood group a while back.

“Most people want to feel part of a community,” Olson said. “It is challenging to get that feeling in a place [like PB] that is inundated with tourists, visitors, short-term tenants and vacation rentals.”  

A cohesive neighborhood group that endures, BORC has met for years at different residents’ homes on summertime Fridays.

“We share our beautiful community with everyone but we are here for the long term,” said Olson. “We have Friday happy hours mostly to socialize and check out other peoples’ places. But we also discuss community issues that affect us.  BORC is about relationships with our neighbors.”

Some of those relationships are “best friends,” Olson said, while “some are just that we care enough about each other to close someone’s garage door when they leave it open, or wheel their trash cans in when they are out of town.”

There is one thing upon which every BORCer can agree.

“We live, work and play in the greatest place on earth,” Olson said.

“There’s no life east of Interstate 5,” quipped one local at a recent BORC party held at the three-story home of Ed and Cheryl Nodland on Bayard Street.

Two of the many guests at the Nodland’s home were new BORC neighbors John and Mary Duris. The couple was treated like visiting royalty, introduced around and fussed over.

Harold Goerss and his wife, Emily, also attended the Nodland’s party.

The Goersses were clued in about BORC straight away when they purchased their home.

“What’s interesting is this area of Pacific Beach only allows single-family homes, no apartments or condos,” Harold Goerss said. “That was the original [zoning] code a thousand years ago.”

Cheryl Nordland’s dad, 90-year-old Joe Proulx, a self-professed part-time BORCer who used to pilot a yacht owned by famed comedian Jerry Lewis and builds wooden boat models, said the neighborhood shindigs started out as “progressive dinners” that evolved into more casual soirées.

Once a BORCer, always a BORCer, said Pacific Beach Realtor Steve Cairncross, who should know — he and wife Lori tried to escape but failed.

“We were here 20 years ago when BORC was just a party out in the alley,” Cairncross said. “We moved to La Jolla, and then we came back.”

“BORC was just 10 couples at the most,” said Lori Cairncross about the group’s early days. “We had the PMS — pedicure, manicure and shopping — triathlon.”

When a real-estate agent lists a property in “The Coveted Braemar District,” they are really referring to the BORC neighborhood, said Chris Olson, who pointed out that The Braemar neighborhood’s original designation as a single-family neighborhood “might be one reason why it has a true sense of community with some residents having lived here for more than 50 years.”

“All the families here know each other. It’s a caring neighborhood,” added Elsa Olson, Chris’ mother. “We care about each other and it’s very personable. The neighborhood is bonded.”

Why BORCers stay isn’t surprising in the least, said Chris Olson, asking, “Where else can you say you can easily walk to Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Pacific Beach and the Garnet business district, all within three to four blocks?”
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