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KQED Series Spotlights rapidly changing West Oakland

2 mins read

Change is coming to West Oakland. Not everybody is thrilled about it, but if the results of our WOSP poll a year ago were any indication, most West Oaklanders are ready for some sort of change. Change that promises to bring more vitality to the area, add housing, reduce crime and create economic opportunities for some. Change that will likely shift the demographic of the historic neighborhood and there’s no doubt some longtime residents will get priced out.

A 3-part series this week by KQED East Bay correspondent Devin Katayama spotlights the plight of our rapidly changing neighbors to the south and analyzes some of the complicated facets of West Oakland’s transition.


Ground has already broken on a 126 unit condominium project called The Station House and the former Oakland Army Base Global Trade and Logistics Center. The map above by The SF Business Times details some of the planned projects including a recently announced plan for a 572 unit apartment development next to West Oakland BART.

Activists, Entrepreneurs Fight for a Place in West Oakland’s Future


Inside a cafe on West Oakland’s Seventh Street, a patron plays an untuned piano. A volunteer sits on a couch, while others tend a coffee bar. Occasionally a customer walks in, but not often.

The proprietor, Tony Coleman, says he’s on a mission to turn this still-unnamed establishment into a place where old and new residents get involved. He sees a place for people from the community to come up with their own solutions to their problems.

“It was once called the Revolution Cafe,” he says. “It was like a community hub, and we plan to bring it back.”

In West Oakland, a lot of conversations could start with that phrase: “It was once …”


Read More on KQED NewsFix →

West Oakland Property Prices Threaten a Food Activist’s Dream


The property market in West Oakland is booming, but from the corner of West Grand Avenue and Market Street you can’t tell that.

“We looked at that site. That one. That one. The one that’s now been demolished,” says Brahm Ahmadi. There are seven sites he points to, all of which he’s failed to purchase. The cost is just too high, he says.

Ahmadi has worked for years to bring a full-service grocery store to West Oakland — where most food sales in the neighborhood are apparently at liquor and corner stores. Meanwhile, wealthier people are moving in, causing rents and property prices to rise.

Read More on KQED NewsFix →

Can West Oakland Change and Stay the Same All at Once?


Inside a warehouse in West Oakland, a child swings upside down in the air, attached to a harness and a rope that’s hooked onto metal rafters. A man shouts to the girl, “Kick your legs up,” encouraging her to complete a trapeze routine.

Decades ago this space was a “company of machines that made machines,” said Lili Gaudreau, owner of Trapeze Arts.

Now it’s a school for circus arts.

The building is in the southwest corner of West Oakland. You’d almost have to be lost to find it, even though it’s located right near the Bay Bridge.

“It couldn’t be in a better place, but it’s like the forgotten stepsister,” Gaudreau said.

Read More on KQED NewsFix →

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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