According to the Oakland Wiki they were anonymously painted on pieces of wood and then tacked to the bottom of utility poles throughout the city. There are over 2,300 gnomes painted on utility poles throughout Oakland. Last January, after intervention from City Council, PG&E agreed to let the gnomes remain on the utility poles. Yay!
It occurred to me the other day that Clover had probably never seen the gnomes even though they are all around our neighborhood. So she was introduced and quite impressed by the “globlins” (they do resemble the goblins in Little Bear). I am always happy to find bits of whimsy through out the real world. My gratitude goes out to the artist whoever they may be!