Back(packs) to school, potholes blitzed, street clean-ups, proposal for Parkway

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It’s Back(pack) to School

What a great way to start off the new school year! Franklin Elementary in District 2 is among the most diverse schools in the city, with 27 languages spoken at home. All 713 Franklin students received brand new “Oaklandish” backpacks filled with school supplies this week. Thank you to all of our partners for making this effort a big success. Wishing all Oakland students, parents and teachers a great year!

And don’t forget to help our youth go on to college. Learn more about and donate to Oakland Promise 


Revitalizing Streetscapes: 
Bringing New Life to 1100 Broadway
Plans for site grading and musical events at the long-vacant 1100 Broadway parcel have been approved, along with the addition of a 40-by-50-foot tent and a small ice-skating rink for winter. However, the land is now in the process of being sold to another developer, and we are awaiting the close of the transaction before we break ground. We expect the site to likely be “activated” in October.

Scheduling Update on Secondary-Units Rules
New secondary-unit regulations took effect in June. Some community members have asked for reinstatement of the owner-occupancy requirement. The Planning Department is neutral on this issue, but it presented the option to the Planning Commission. The commissioners decided not to take any action on it, and the item will go before the City Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee and then to the full Council in late September/early October. The Planning Commission agreed, however, that the new City regulations do not supplant stricter, existing homeowner association agreements.

Office Space in Oakland Also Getting Harder to Find
Residential tenants aren’t the only ones having a hard time finding an affordable place. Oakland’s commercial office-space market is heating up, with vacancy rates at an historic low, with rates in the Lake Merritt and City Center areas dipping even lower, according to the SF Business Times. Office rents in the Oakland-East Bay region jumped at a higher rate (35.4%) during the second quarter of this year, a new JLL’s Global Office Index report found, along with vacancies for Class A office space in downtown Oakland dipping below 4%. That means new businesses are coming to our city, but that growth is also forcing some existing Oakland businesses to relocate to nearby cities due to rising rent prices and the shrinking number of available spaces here. As with the residential market, unaffordable rents in San Francisco are one factor fueling the East Bay’s rapid office-rent increases.



Friday, August 26  | Put the Finishing Coat on the Bella Vista Mural
10:00 am-1:00 pm | Bella Vista Child Development Center, 2410 10th Ave. (at E. 24th St.)
Join us this Friday to help finish the mural at the Bella Vista Development Center. We will be putting the varnish on newly painted additions to protect them from UV rays and graffiti, and we will finish painting the solid background on the lower/farther down the wall section of tile. Please bring your water bottle and wear sunscreen, hat, sunglasses and comfortable clothes that can get messy. Check out photos marking the progress of the many volunteers and what they’ve accomplished. We will keep you posted on the date for the mural dedication.


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Chinatown Street Cleanup Successful | Enjoy the Festival
Councilmember Guillén and more than 50 community volunteers – from 4 to 80 years old, including members of the Asian Youth Services Committee, the Cantonese- Speaking Citizens Academy Alumni, Asian Prisoner Support Committee and OPD Assistant Chief David Downing– conducted another one of our street-and-sidewalk cleanups in Chinatown and around Lincoln Square Park last Saturday, in preparation for this weekend’s Autumn Street Festival. Thanks also to the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce for providing refreshments, and John Loh, Lanette Lau and Ricardo da Silva from Loh Realty & Investments for providing space to store the tools and refreshments.

Don’t miss out on the Street Festival fun that includes two performance stages and hundreds vendors this year.

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Volunteers Tackle Trash, Illegal Dumping on International Blvd./Solano Way 
Earlier this month, members of Ministerio Internacional Maranatha, with more than 15 volunteers, picked up trash along International Blvd. and Solano Way between 17th and 23rd streets. A great many bags of trash and dumped material were collected, and made a big difference in cleaning up the neighborhood. Thanks to Jose Orellano and Leslie Cruz from Ministerio Internacional Maranatha for their work in coordinating this successful effort.


Update on Proposed Renovation of Parkway Theater Building
At a meeting of the Lake Merritt Business Association earlier this month, the developer team presented its proposal for a new business at the old Parkway Theater location. The proposal is for a theater, restaurant, and cannabis dispensary that will not include cultivation, but only retail dispensing of medical marijuana. The restaurant would open on to the street and have a well-known chef. The Parkway is a landmark building; tenant improvements will entail up to $1.5 million for plumbing upgrades, complete electrical replacement, and structural improvements. The developer, who has signed a 10-year lease on the site, is interested in making the site a multi-use building that could include space for community meetings. 

The neighbors and merchants in attendance expressed preferred uses of a theater and/or live entertainment center, and concerns about parking, noise, public safety, especially for children in nearby schools and childcare facilities, displacement of existing businesses, and neighborhood ambience/cohesion that might be associated with the new uses. 

Councilmember Guillen is committed to ensuring that the neighborhood will be involved in whatever ensues with this project.

Special zoning, lighting, street safety and signage will be required for new dispensaries. Alcohol cannot be served in or near dispensaries. The City application, not yet available to applicants, will be available this winter. We will keep you posted.



Street Repairs Blitzed, Bond to Fund More Upgrades
Nearly 5,000 potholes were patched during this year’s annual Pothole Blitz. More than 1,000 square feet of minor street repairs were also made, and Public Works crews repaired more than 100 sidewalk tripping hazards, 59 linear feet of curb and gutter problems, and cracks on 37 city blocks.

However, the fundamental problem of unfunded street repairs remains a growing issue. As streets age, their deterioration increases. Repaving can avert this process, but is more expensive up front than pothole repairs.

The cost to repave the backlog of Oakland streets is $443 million, with only a fraction of that funding currently available. Last month, the City Council placed an infrastructure bond measure on the November ballot to help address this budget problem. If passed, Measure KK would provide up to $350 million to repave streets, fill potholes, and repair damaged sidewalks; increase bike and pedestrian safety; improve the quality of our streetscapes (benches, street trees); and make accessibility upgrades for people with disabilities. Read more about the bond measure.

Get Ready to Vote | What’s on the Oakland Ballot
The Alameda County Registrar of Voters has assigned ballot designations for measures on the November 8 ballot. The countywide bond measure to raise $580 million to provide affordable housing in Oakland and help prevent displacement of low-income households, veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and the homeless is Measure A1. In addition to the city’s housing and infrastructure bond (Measure KK), there are four other municipal propositions for Oakland voters to consider: the soda tax (Measure HH), extending lease terms for city-owned land (Measure II), expanding just-cause eviction protections to rental units built before Dec. 31, 1995 (Measure JJ), and the creation of a civilian police commission (Measure LL).