Abel's eNews: Update on interim ballpark protections, more potholes filled, tiny homes progress

Ballpark Update: Interim Protections to Planning Commission
I’ve been working with City staff to establish interim measures to protect tenants and small businesses in the Chinatown and Eastlake neighborhoods threatened by market speculation resulting from the Oakland Athletics’ recent announcement that they will be seeking to build a new ballpark on the site of the current Peralta Community College District’s headquarters (E. 7th St. at 5th Ave.). City staff are preparing a report that will be presented to the Planning Commission at its November 1 meeting.

If Peralta reaches a property agreement with the team, the City of Oakland and the community would then need to carefully evaluate the full range of specific development details, community benefits and long-term impacts of the ballpark proposal. However, prior to any development decision, the mere announcement of this preferred location has immediate impacts on the surrounding neighborhoods that require action by the City Council.

The potential development of a ballpark at the Peralta site provides financial incentives for surrounding property owners and interested developers to re-purpose and speculate on nearby Chinatown and Eastlake properties. These market pressures could contribute significantly to unfair rent hikes and displace already struggling residents and small businesses.

To help mitigate these immediate impacts, the City of Oakland needs to develop interim controls on the approval of new large-scale developments (50,000+ square feet of new floor area) and new hotels, building demolitions, condominium conversions and auto-fee parking lots in the portions of the Chinatown and Eastlake neighborhoods near the Peralta site.

The specific area that will be most impacted and in which these interim protections would apply is defined by the boundaries of Franklin St. to the west; 14th St., Lake Merritt and Foothill Blvd. to the north; 14th Ave. to the east; and Interstate 880 to the south.

I will keep you posted on these interim protections as well as other news about the ballpark proposal. The Peralta Board of Trustees will be looking at this issue at its meeting in December

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More Potholes Filled, Street Repairs Ahead
Building on this summer’s annual Road Repair Blitz, City road crews added a 21-day mini-blitz to repair an additional 2,700 “priority one” potholes – the roughest and toughest that remained on streets after the big repair push. The results: 2,787 major potholes were filled citywide, 752 feet of minor street repairs were completed, and 31 blocks (9,300 linear feet) got the “crack-sealing” treatment, which protects streets in moderate disrepair from additional damage, buying them an estimated five to seven years of additional life.

More than 17,800 potholes have been repaired in 2017 so far, and we expect to reach the 20,000 mark by the end of the year.

City crews perform street maintenance and pothole patching every week of the year, but for seven weeks during the annual Road Repair Blitz, a special focus of resources bolsters those efforts. The mini-blitz followed a similar model, committing three 12-hour days to each Council district.

Beyond filling potholes, the City is embarking on a major initiative to make needed repairs to our most-neglected streets. Measure KK bond funds, approved by Oakland voters last November, will provide $350 million to address the backlog of street repairs over the next decade. New state funding will also be used to hire 20 new workers dedicated to street maintenance, and acquiring the new equipment those workers will need.

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10th Street Bridge Walkway Opens

The channel walkway connecting Laney College to Lake Merritt is now open. The 10th St. bridge previously crossed the Lake Merritt Channel over a gang of box culverts that greatly restricted the flow of water into and out of the lake. With funding from Measure DD bonds and other multi-agency grants, the improvement project removed the culverts to help restore wetland areas and constructed a new, clear-span bridge and. New pedestrian and bike trails beneath the bridge now connect the 12th St. area with the channel park to the west. Read more about the project.

GET INVOLVED

Saturday, October 28 | 14th Avenue Median Park Clean-up Day
11:00 am | meet at 14th Ave. and 18th St. (near the two big redwood trees)
The 14th Avenue Streetscape improvements are near completion. Public Works crews recently cleaned up fallen tree branches and large objects that had been illegally dumped. However, there is still litter and organic debris in the area, and neighborhood volunteers want to start a regular, monthly clean-up day along the 14th Ave. median parkland.

This clean-up day will be conducted under the City’s Adopt-a-Spot program, and our volunteer hours will be recorded through Track-it-Forward. This will help the City better understand the area’s maintenance needs moving forward, and whether further improvements such as garbage bins and street benches – are needed. Please join in the community effort.

Tools, gloves, garbage bags and buckets will be provided, along with water and snacks. Please be sure to wear closed-toe shoes, and consider wearing sunscreen or long-sleeves and pants. Please let the organizer know if you’re able to volunteer, so we can plan for enough tools and snacks: Luke Kosar, 510-381-7203

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Progress on the Laney Tiny Homes
Laney College’s tiny-house program – “Pocket Homes” – may take its prototype on the road to promote a new form of housing for homeless people. Councilmember Guillén secured an $80,000 City grant to fund the project. “The homes are low maintenance and built with new materials available through local suppliers….the easily replicable design of the Laney tiny houses will attract investment from foundations to expand production, make more tiny homes available for the needy, and foster workforce development.” Read more in this month’s Oakland Magazine.

CELEBRATE OAKLAND

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Thursday, October 26  | New Laney President Community Reception
4:30 pm-6:30 pm | Oakland Museum of CA, 1000 Oak St. 
Councilmember Guillén and the Peralta Board of Trustees invite you to join us for a community celebration welcoming Laney’s new President – Tammiel Gilkerson. Light refreshments will be served. We will gather to welcome the President of Peralta Community College’s flagship campus, and showcase career and technical programs at Laney College and the newly completed ”Pocket Home,” a tiny-home prototype built by Laney students and funded by a City grant to help Oakland address affordable housing and homelessness problems. To RSVP

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Saturday, October 28
  | Kids’ Costume Parade and Fall Festival
10:30 am-12:30 pm, Parade at 11:30 am | Lakeshore Ave. Baptist Church, 3534 Lakeshore Ave.
Fun for the whole family! Join all the little witches, goblins and Marvel comic-book heroes for the Lakeshore Costume Parade. Trick or Treat along the Avenue shops. Come to the festival for face painting, treat bags, mini-pumpkins and more. Happy Halloween from the Lakeshore Merchants and the Lakeshore Ave. Baptist Church. For more info: LakeshoreOakland.com

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Wednesday, November 1 | Chinatown First Wednesdays
2:00-5:00 pm | Madison Park, corner of 8th St. and Jackson St.
Enjoy Oakland’s Chinatown for the kickoff of First Wednesdays at Madison Park. Free activity and resource fair, hosted by Friends of Madison Park.

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Beautiful Trash Cans in Oakland? | Support Chinatown Mosaics Project
Family Friendly Oakland has raised money to turn a couple trash cans at Madison Park into mosaic art pieces. Great work by artist Juan Lopez (New World Mosaics). Check them outRead more about the project. There are also mosaic trash cans at 8th and Madison, funded by KaBoom’s Play Everywhere Grant; one at 9th and Jackson funded by the Buddhist Church of Oakland; another by EBALDC; and one in the works at 8th and Broadway, with funding from the Wa Sung Club.

There are more locations in Chinatown that could use a mosaic makeover. Take a look at the map for 10 proposed locations and photos of completed mosaics, and consider making a donation. For more info or to donate: info@familyfriendlyoakland.org

The Friends of Lincoln will also receive funding to repair one of the slides at Lincoln tot lot (not the Junk Boat one).

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Art Beautification Project at Pacific Renaissance Plaza
Mosaics are also coming to the public fountain at the Pacific Renaissance Plaza, and you can help make it happen. The Plaza is a Chinatown destination for dining, business, cultural uses and recreation by people of all ages. Artist Juan Lopez will be creating mosaic designs displaying the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals on the outside surface of the planters surrounding the fountain. 

Check out the horse mosaic in the Wellington Properties display window to see what will be crafted for the Plaza planters.  Lopez has designed and installed the magnificent murals in Chinatown’s Lincoln Elementary School courtyard, murals for three other Oakland schools and most of the mosaic designs on trash cans around town.

The plan calls for completing the fountain top and mosaic planters by February in time for the Chinese New Year celebration.

Donations of $1,000 or more will be recognized with your name on a permanent plaque in the Plaza. For more info or to donate: Sara Wynne, Project Coordinator, srwynne@comcast.net510-410-6807

Saturday, October 21 | Fall Plant Exchange
12:00-4:00 pm | 4500 Lincoln Ave.
The Plant Exchange is holding its free, semi-annual event for gardeners, landscapers, urban farmers, educators and enthusiasts to exchange plants, equipment, tools and information about ways to make our urban environment more sustainable, aesthetic and healthy. The event also features gardening demos, food trucks, a live band, silent auction and more! For more info

SERVICES IN THE CITY

New City Apps to Help Small Businesses Get Permits, Launch, Grow 
The City of Oakland is making it easier to open a business in Oakland with two mobile-friendly, multilingual apps that check your zoning, tell you what permits you’ll need, and how much they will cost.

Zoningcheck.oaklandca.gov is an interactive map that tells where a business type is allowed outright, with conditions, or prohibited. Businesspermits.oaklandca.gov is a customized permitting guide to help applicants plan their projects while outlining the necessary permits, fees, and licenses, including development impact fees and design review.

Now you can get all the City info you need to launch or expand your business in a matter of minutes, from the comfort of your home.

Saturday, October 24 | Learn more about the City’s Race and Gender Disparity Study
2:00-4:30 pm | Lincoln Square Park Recreation Center, 250 10th St.
Join Councilmember Guillén for the City of Oakland’s business outreach meeting to present the Race and Gender Disparity Study. The study will evaluate the City’s contracting with small, minority and women-owned businesses. All businesses are invited to attend to learn about the 2017 study, the City’s certification process and upcoming contracting opportunities.

Learn more about technical assistance that the City provides, including façade and business improvement funding, business loans; contracting with the City; sales and marketing assistance; business-legal assistance and advising; and business management and improvement. Network with technical assistance providers, lenders and chambers of commerce after the meeting. Chinese and Vietnamese interpreter service will be provided. Read more about the study. Sign up for the meeting or email OaklandDisparityStudy@mtaltd.com 

Get your hands on the challenging field of fire and emergency services
Every 2nd and 4th Thursday
5:00-8:00 pm | Oakland Training Division, 250 Victory Ct.
Fire Service Exploring offers young men and women (14-21 years old) the chance to experience career opportunities in fire and emergency services. For more info: clightfoot@oaklandnet.com510-610-6761