Oakland Councilmember Warns Oakland and Emeryville that they may lose Home Depot Stores over Blight

2 mins read

Sandwiched in the middle of a marathon seven hour Oakland City Council meeting last Tuesday, Oakland District 5 Councilmember Noel Gallo dropped a bit of a bombshell on those in attendance and streaming online.

Gallo noted that Home Depot is considering closing their Oakland and Emeryville stores citing the blighted conditions caused by the sprawling homeless encampments nearby. Gallo’s District includes the Alameda Avenue Home Depot in East Oakland.

“To the city administrator, we need your support and assistance at Home Depot. They just sent me another letter stating that if we don’t deal with the homeless issue and the blight that surrounds their property, that they’re going to leave the City of Oakland,” Gallo stated at the April 16th Oakland City Council meeting [1:16:26].

Gallo also noted that they were considering closing the Emeryville store that sits on Oakland’s border and has similar issues with camps and blight. “We gotta get to it otherwise we’re going to lose 300 jobs and $8 million in tax [revenue].”



The conditions surrounding the Emeryville store have gotten progressively worse over the past several years. AC Transit has had to alter their routes to avoid the piles of debris and crossing camp occupants. There have been frequent fires including a series of small explosions from propane tanks last June that rattled the area.

Complicating the issue is that while it is clearly impacting Emeryville, the jurisdiction is shared with Caltrans and the City of Oakland. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and 2018 Emeryville Mayor John Bauters announced last December that the two cities were “collaborating” to tackle the issue. The City of Emeryville will be providing $72K and 11 modular homes to be used at a yet undetermined location.


Despite it being a high priority for residents, regional leaders have failed to come up with a comprehensive plan to tackle homelessness in our area. The Bay Area Council’s Economic Institute recently published an alarming study noting a $12.7 Billion dollar price tag to shelter and service the estimated 28,200 homeless people in our region.

The Emeryville/Oakland location is a highly trafficked store and a hub for local contractors. If Home Depot were to indeed vacate in tandem with the recent loss of OSH on Ashby, it would leave our city without nearby hardware “superstore”.

Gallo provided no timeline for Home Depot’s departure or the severity of their threats. We’ve reached out to his office to obtain a copy of the letter.

April 21st update: NBC Bay Area produced a video segment with an interview with Councilmember Gallo and the below screen capture of the letter from Home Depot regional Vice President Steven Knott.

In the letter, Knott notes that the Oakland store “suffers from some of the most frequent occurrence of malicious theft” of the 2000 stores countrywide and the “enormous negative impact to the associate’s safety and morale.”


Knott extends the offer to “partner” with the city and encourages the relocation of the occupants to a viable location within the city.

We have updated this story to include the blurb about the two elected officials commitment to work together on the situation and a map of The Home Depot property that shows how the border bisects the store and the encampments.

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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.


  1. Losing this HD would be a tremendous loss to Emeryville and north/west oakland and south berkeley. While there are smaller Ace hardwares, there isn’t anything comparable in easy bicycling or walking range (and Ace is kinda lousy on hardware despite their name). I hope this declaration gives Oakland and Emeryville the kick in the pants they need to work seriously on finding safe housing for all our residents

    • What about home Depot putting some money into the community and helping to resolve the homeless situation? I won’t support a company that threatens to leave because of a homeless problem they are surely contributing to.

      • How exactly is Home Depot contributing to the problem?

        1) Jobs for the community
        2) Services for the community
        3) Taxes for the community

        What is the community doing to resolve its homeless situation?

      • Did you read the part of the article where they mention the $12 billion dollar estimate to house the homeless in our region?

      • The problem with oakland and California in general is that too many people like you vote. You have no grasp of reality. Home Depot contributs millions in taxes and hundreds of jobs. But you only want to complain that they don’t do enough? How does losing millions in tax revenue and putting more people on unemployment help. I would say that you need to wake up but you will continue down this path to destruction. I gave up on changing liberals minds long ago.

      • That’s right, AW. The evil Capitalists of Home Depot should pay for it until either the problem is solved or they go bankrupt, which is Cloward-Piven ok because they’re evil Capitalists. The stench of resentful underachiever from a failed rich white upbringing is strong on you. Marxists care about people like pedophiles care about children.

      • AW I agree: My first thought was well the cities bordering this encampment should be doing more about the situation because 1) vulnerable people deserve to be cared for medically and mentally and have access to basic housing. And 2) if Home Depot leaves, the cities lose a huge tax base for their residents so property taxes will go up and of course services will be cut back.

        But then, when you look at the bigger picture, it looks positively dystopian:

        Big Box stores set up on the edge of towns, putting the downtown on a decline for many reasons, not the least of which is selling cheap goods made in China and paying their employees sh*t with no benefits. People out of work, core area businesses shut down, tax base erodes, making cities more beholden to the BBS (Big Box Stores ha ha) THEN they threaten to move when it all comes home to literally roost on their doorstep!

    • Wake up Oakland: follow the money. Very few American cites have a state of the art international port; a major bridge with tolls; two major train systems (BART and AMTRAK); 3 professional sport teams with stadiums; a major airport; views to die for. OAKLAND should be paved in gold. As we all vote these “leaders in” say goodbye to the proceeds of all these tax raising enterprises and hello to filth, squallor, tents and the diseases these camps bring. We the people need to vote these losers out and take this city where it should be. Do you really think your children won’t be affected by what they are seeing as you drive past the drug addicts? As the dirty needles tell them where they can easily get their drugs some day? Ignore it now and pay later with the next generation. California is a house of cards. Whomever changes it or moves out first wins.

    • What. Is never mentioned. On the news. MASS MIGRATION. By. Under. 30. Milennniels out of. California. To. Tax. Free. Texas Arizona. Nevada. Many. Homeless are. Tenants from. Apartments. EVICTED. To. Raise. Rents. . Rents. Raised. From. $650. To. $3,000 —$4,000. A month. For. Hi. Tech. Workers. Facebook. Amazon. Google. Yahoo. Twitter. Making. $170,000. —$200,000. A year. NOT. ONLY. Mentally. I’ll. And. Drug. Addicts —————San. Francisco. Has. More. Billionaires. Than other. City. In the world. !!!!! Thank. You. Mark. Zuckerberg. CEO. Facebook. , Jeff. Besos. Amazon. —-Google. Twitter. Yahoo

      Check. Out. Videos. On. You. Tube. 58,000. Homeless. Los. Angeles. Prediction. Will. Reach. 100,000. End. Of. 2019. !!! Outrageous. NO. PORTO. POTTY.S. For. Shit. And. Piss !!!!!!!! Thank. You. Mayors. Of. Oakland. EMERYVILLE. Berkeley. San. Francisco. And. Los. Angeles. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Can the pathology be allowed to force out the benign and productive? THat is a death spiral. My suggestion? Decontrol housing production of every kind. Declare our cities free zones.

    • Survival is our own responsibility.
      People make better choices when they are held accountable for the results.
      Self sufficiency is discouraged in this country.
      The safety net has become a crutch.
      No matter how much we pay in taxes the government can not do it all.

      I stopped shopping at Pak N’ Save because I was disgusted by the half eaten fruit and vegetables found on shelves several aisles away from the produce section. I’d like to know where the Emeryville store ranks in theft among all the Safeway stores. I have been surprised Safeway has stayed all this time. Most of us are taught from a young age not to steal from each other.

      Food deserts occur because large stores offering wide variety and economy of scale can’t overcome theft. Owner / operators can’t watch every aisle like they can in a small store. People do not respect products / housing, etc. are someone else’s property until they pay for it.

      There are several partisan responses to this article. There are questions / suggestions that HD is not directly contributing to a solution. Corporations employ hundreds of our neighbors. We save money by having competitive and pleasant shopping options close to our homes. They pay millions in taxes entrusting that government is better at employing experts who can propose solutions that benefit everyone and the government is better at implementing programs that benefit everyone. They pay taxes assuming they will receive services, like protection from theft.

      Allowing people to camp and pollute public property is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I see it, the more I am considering selling my Emeryville home, renting a storage space in another state for my junk, and buying a RV / van and parking it on public property next to the free restrooms. Result: Emeryville tax receipts will go down.

  3. City is run by liberals. It will continue down this path for the foreseeable future. Goodbye home depot. We will miss you and all to follow.

    • Marvin, what *specifically* is your plan to deal with it then? Blaming the homeless epidemic on “liberals” is a cop out. I’m sure it makes you feel better believing that it’s the fault of those dang liberals, but it would be more constructive to explain the “conservative” plan that would just solve this issue once and for all.

      • Passing out 400,000 needles to heroine addicts is too liberal. The drug problem needs to be addressed. Meth also makes people lose their mind.

      • Stop giving homeless and criminals incentives to move into or stay in the area, start providing people incentives to actually do a productive job, and for businesses to provide said jobs, rather than tax businesses and home owners into oblivion.
        Yes, it’s liberals creating homelessness to a large degree, and deliberately so because they thrive on a weak dependent underclass in society that can be relied upon to know where the handouts are coming from and will thus vote liberal in perpetuity.

      • You’re an idiot for calling someone who disagrees with your failed utopian vision of society an idiot.

  4. I work in the remodeling industry. I have done a lot of work in both East and West Oakland. What i have seen is not making the papers. I have had continuous gunfire for 2 and 1/2 days straight in East Oakland with no police response. One the third night my motor home was set on fire and all the expensive tools burned up. On Thursday morning, at 9:05 with the keys in the ignition, the driver’s door open standing inside the front door, I got a parking ticket. Believe me, this is Disneyland in Oakland. This isn’t doesn’t even qualify as a bad week. What you are trying to do is attack a problem on a city level that has been caused by a failure on a Federal Level. The homeless people you are seeing now are representing the 3 trillion dollars in home equity theft the Bloomberg report estimated in mortgage fraud theft during the Bush II administration. This housing theft continuous today. The people living around Home Depot and in other homeless camps are actually the lucky ones. Many are dead. To me the solution is simple. We need to change the law on a Federal Level. A Universal Mortgage Law puts everyone on title in their own home. There are no absentee landlords. We just raised the tax base without raising taxes. We eliminated predatory loans. We eliminated eviction law. We are attacking crime on a proactive basis by attacking poverty. We are advancing our American Idea of equal protection under the law. The biggest problem I have is not with criminals on the street. It is institutional crime. Black people are over represented in our prison and welfare offices because they have never had a economic program to lift them out of intergenerational poverty. A Universal Mortgage Law does that once and for all. It can be written for the consumer, not the banks. It can provide life insurance, disability and unemployment insurance. It can be a fixed rate funded from the Social Security Fund and or/all fines against corporations. Section 8 money comes out of the budget, because their is no one to apply. The cost of housing would stabilize as federal housing subsidies disappear. Lastly, we can improve the educational system, as after all, we require the youngsters to attend school, but none are graduating with trade skills, or even introduction to the trades.
    Another huge problem the homeless have is lack of legal representation. Hence the whole system has priced itself out of their market and they are no longer participating, except as defendants. And finally, it funds the trades who are the traditional entry or reentry point for the unemployed, or disenfranchised members of the community. This program will work, and it defeats crime and homelessness and poverty on a national level.

      • Yes, most of the people living in these camps are drug addicts and alcoholics. They refuse to work. There are jobs available, but they don’t want to work. As long as we allow them to break the vagrancy laws and camp for free where it is illegal, then we’ll continue to have this problem. It is not society’s job to house them. That’s their responsibility.

  5. This is why housing people is beneficial to even the very rich. Their stores will close because of horrible conditions. Eventually even they will come face to face with the horrible conditions.

  6. We cannot continue to ignore the obvious….what’s being done is not enough and what is being done is not working. This is not simply a housing issue. Housing starts have not kept up with the growing needs all over California for over a decade. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is the regulatory environment in Alameda County . Oakland is one of the most costly places to build in the Bay Area. It is also a city which selectively enforces regulation. Oakland like many cities in Alameda County suffers the disregard of both CalTrans and the railways. There are jurisdictional issues that have held whole neighborhoods hostage for decades.
    The lack of housing coupled with the lack of mental health and substance abuse services in Alameda County has created an intolerable situation for both those on the streets and residents. It’s not at all surprising that Home Depot threatens to leave Emeryville. What’s surprising is that it’s taken so long.
    Finally, the idea that this situation will change simply by providing more services and more housing is a flawed concept. We need both but we also need to start enforcing the existing regulations regarding public right of way. We need sanctioned camping areas and RV parks that are monitored, where services and plumbing are provided. We need to stop the ad hoc taking of our streets and roads. It’s not fair and things are not improving.
    The role of government is to both provide services and to enforce the social contract?

    • A friend of mine who works at that Home Depot, yet has to live in a crime-ridden area of Oakland (because that’s all he can afford, oh yeah, and he also works for the city government… just FYI) just informed me of a new “affordable housing” in his area. To qualify, you need to make at least $80,000 a year. Who the hell thought this was “affordable”?

      And they have the audacity to wonder why there is a homeless problem.

      • I personally know many of the homeless around town and most of the ones I know have heroin problems that are preventing them from living any kind of a productive life. Show me some proof otherwise because all I have is personal experience to go on.

    • Agreed. It is not really a “homeless” problem. People flovk here from areas outside of the S.F. Bay Area. Look at the RVs.
      Setting boundaries with enforcement of laws like ALL OF THE SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES is the only solution.

  7. How about all the people in power positions spend 1 month homeless and jobless. How about “home” depot multi Monsanto poison pushers, actually help build some actual “homes”. That would actually make sense #dosomethingfornothing wheres the moral for humanity anymore. Im a bay area native,1 of many who’s been forced out by financial mayhem/stress/joblessness for the basic fundamentals of life. Food, shelter and water should be equal for all. Fuck your entitlement privileges and your turn a blind eye. Whens the last time you did anything for 1 single human of the over 33,000 people registered homeless. #killcorprateamerikkka
    Your main objective is about how much $ you would lose, and home depot paying a “liveable wage” to actually live in the bay area. How about all the folks in the corporate office work in the store on employee paycheck. Perspective, for your pretend life.

  8. So Oakland is an sanctuary for immigrants but not for the natives of Oakland who are considered “Homeless”
    Everyone keeps complaining about the blight and the unsanitary conditions but don’t complain to the city about listening to the people who live in these communities about what they feel will help them run these communities better and what they feel will help them to get off the streets. Everyone approves the tuff shed program that isnt habitable for humans and it’s most definitely not even a solution but wont approve the community residents structures they built or had help with building them. No matter if Home Depot move or not,the housing crisis will still remain the same. Stop illegally evicting these communities and help them obtain some type of housing regardless if it’s a tiny home or a RV/Trailer and designate lots/areas for them to be then you wouldn’t see them in front of your home.

  9. If HD doesn’t want to help the situation, I say let them leave Big box is part of the problem HD has no interest in local affairs so why support a store like that

    • Yes, let’s just have progressive-friendly businesses here in Emeryville.

      Oh, we have plenty of empty retail units. You want 100% vacancy?

      Screw the capitalists! Screw THE MAN!

  10. Lol you all are funny. You all know theres a huge lawsuit thats been in the works for a while against Caltrans especially and the CHP in that area. I’m not gonna bore you with all the stupid details cause I know none of you give a flying fuck for what its worth. At least if any of you know or cared, youd know that not everyone back there is on drugs of some kind. I’m currently waiting for SSI and section 8 and ive been back there for a year and half at most. Honestly, a lot of us do clean up after ourselves and try to make it look good, but I know people with proof of people that are with Caltrans, home depot, and a few other places in the area, dumping a ton of trash and trying to get us booted. We already tried to play by all the rules that were given, but we’re not going to sit by while our stuff is thrown out or taken by people who work for the state. You wouldnt like to get bullied in your living situation. Why should we, mostly people forced out of homes from this bullshit techie swarm to places that isnt our home so some slumlord piece of shit can double or triple the rent on a place they wont bother fixing anyways. Help those who cant help them selves. Besides, home depot is run by a fairly known racist bigot and the fuck you acting like you proud to snitch people out.
    And to those who said the needle exchange being a problem, bitch, there quite a few mother fuckers at the camp and some from the exchange them selves, go and pick up as many needles they can cause they know they can get an equal return. Besides, places that have exchanges and harm reduction are better off than say a place like Modesto (Stanislaus Co.) That has the highest hep c exchange rate in california last I checked.
    Lastly, you ignorant idiots really need to look how the swiss handled their drug epidemic. They’ll make Trump and the right look like a bunch of wimps with how conservative and right leaning it is there. Theres one major difference though, they actually bothered to listen to people and scientifically come up with a solution. “If theres something wrong inside of you, your body will tell enough of what it is” I know I butchered the paraphrase of that quote, but someone of you might get it. I don’t know.

  11. And to Jason Scott, if most the homeless you know are heroin addicts, then that probably makes you a junkie yourself. I mean who would know that many users if the individual wasn’t doing tar also. Mind you this is just picking up what you’ve put down

    • I am actually a recovering addict/ alcoholic. 30 years clean here and I do my part to try to help addicts who want help. So yes, I do understand what it is like to be a down and out homeless junkie and understand more than most what it takes to get clean, stay clean, and contribute in a meaningful way to society. Enabling the problem is not helping anyone, especially the ones who really need the help.

  12. Take responsibility and be accountable for your own problems and situation that YOU created. Blaming the rich or the city or big companies and victimizing yourself doesn’t do shit. If y’all haven’t noticed from history and the beginning of time, the issue regarding money is a game played well by the rich or those who know how to manage their money well. Financial education and literacy and knowing how to play the money game right would be beneficial for everyone who has debt and stuck in a bad financial situation.

    Those folks became homeless not because the city didn’t give homes to them or there’s not enough jobs. Those folks become homeless because they didn’t know how to manage their money and doesn’t know how the money game is being played by the rich.

    How’s many times does the government have to come in and provide help for poor people? There’s more government benefits and assistance than we ever had before, yet we still have a growing homeless problem and people are driving themselves into more debt! This is not as much of a federal or city issue as much as it is a LACK OF FINANCIAL EDUCATION AND LITERACY and the LACK OF RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY of people’s own shitty financial situation.

    Everybody broke person complains about fees and taxes yet they want the rich to pay more of fees and taxes so that the broke does not have to. What kind of backwards thinking is that?

    If you got debt, you created it. If you are broke, you spent it all. If you are homeless, then you played the game wrong and you lost. If you have money and live decently, teach others how they can manage their money better.

    There’s a lot of shit that the city and government can do to help but if people don’t take responsibility and be accountable for their own problems and look within themselves, we’re gonna continue to have these problems and people of the US will continue to have debts of all sorts.

    Just figure it out.

    • Rob, not to ignore all of the comments and the story itself but it looks like the store in question is off 880, not Emeryville/Oakland’s.

      • At the Oakland council meeting, Gallo says specifically they’re considering closing the Emeryville store as well. I’ve linked to the meeting and provided a time stamp.

  13. It seems pretty clear to me that you have one of two options: lose the bums or lose two Home Depots. The stores both contribute to the community: almost five hundred decent jobs, millions in taxes and local donations. The bums are stealing and menacing both customers and employees.

  14. Villifying Home Depot is wrong. Suggesting that we should pay for a problem that is not our fault is absurd.
    None of our employees take drugs. That is just not permissable in such potentially hazardous environments. We give very generously to organizations like Habitat for Humanity, providing housing to the poor and to veterans. The worthy poor. We strive for diversity in our workforce and in our suppliers and we are very proactive in recycling and the proper disposal of hazardous materials. Our customers and employees have the right to work and shop in a safe and secure environment. These homeless people menacing them clearly have mental issues or addiction problems, many of them, and they will never be able to afford housing in your area. Allowing them the freedom to live on the streets is heartless and cruel, when they cannot properly care for themselves. You should be providing housing for them, yes, but that housing should be in mental hospitals: hygenic environments where they cannot harm themselves or others. Those who don’t require treatment should clearly be supported in their efforts to move to areas with less expensive housing options.

  15. Oh the progressives are out in full force. As expected, Home Depot is the villain.

    Cue the “THIS IS A REGIONAL PROBLEM” canned responses that are code for “someone needs to find a solution… preferably richer, capitalist, Republican.. just not me!”

  16. Wait why is it called Home Depot then if the homeless encampment must go? It’s just a way station like a train depot? How about making Emeryville businesses contribute a percentage to the homeless and low income, just as Emeryville has corporations contribute 3% to public art. For all we know, those homeless are artists. And they need a new stove–the other propane tank blew up. Remember this: https://evilleeye.com/news-commentary/public-safety/explosion-home-depot-homeless-encampment-rattles-emeryville-west-oakland-neighbors/

    • Cindy, are you for real?

      Make the businesses who remain in the community fix problems we invited.

      No wonder the Bay Area is going to the crapper. You all deserve the mess you are creating.

    • Sounds like a great idea! Let’s incentivize Home Depot to stay with an additional tax! I’m sure that another $100 million will lower the homeless population by .O1% the way all the other money we’ve given our local governments has.

      I’m actually kind of amazed by the naïveness of some of the commenters here (good riddance Home Depot! We’d rather that space sit vacant than compromise our progressive beliefs! It’s a human right to pollute our neighborhoods and lower the quality of life of others!).

      Unless it’s YOUR job to negotiate, you need to STFU.

      • Progressives will ask you what is your solution to this problem?

        They are good at asking that.

        When you ask the same of them, the response is always some variation of we should be doing more but really the problem is bigger than us so the solution lies outside of us and for sure the individual Progressive. Many however will add that taxpayers of both the business and individual sorts could always be throwing more money at the problem.

        Because, you know, it’s the Bay Area and all of us here make so much money to spare.

  17. Step #1: Get rid of the ideologues on Emeryville’s City Council.
    Step #2: Get rid of the ideologues on Oakland’s City Council.
    Step #3: Get rid of the ideologues on Berkeley’s City Council.

    At that point you’ve eliminated pretty much everyone who caused the current mess, and you have a bunch of empty City Council Chambers. Celebrate and then start again, and this time, elect smart people who have experience and have been successful managing big things: businesses, government agencies, non-profits, etc.

    Elect leaders who have shown they can lead or expect leadership that can’t. We elected this mess, and we can unselect them just as easily.

  18. Rich Leiberman Wahl

    Oh well let Home Depot leave and sales taxes as well. Oakland is a dump anyways.

  19. Home Depot is one of the nations largest contributors to Habitat for humanity……let’s be real, they do contribute back and what will Oakland and Emeryville do for HD? habitat for humanity puts the economically disadvantaged to work on their own “new home” coupled with financial support from HD, the local communities where Habitat operates. It’s about people who want to help themselves vs. people that really can’t or won’t participate in society as a whole (Encampments) I am surprised no one mentioned in the photograph the remnants or existence of at least 8-9 likely stolen, nice bikes, 3-4 stolen shopping carts-Target Home Depot, Shop and Save. The thefts are real…..if we believe what we see in the one snapshot in time of the encampment that caught fire.

  20. I have been to some 3rd world countries and they look better than this. Funny how the fakestream media doesn’t complain about this or even report it.

    This is SOCIALISM at its best. This is what happens when you think the government can give you everything for free.

    HD is well within their rights to leave – I wouldn’t shop there.

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