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A People's Proposal

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The Eastlake neighborhood is a vibrant community that represents Oakland’s economic and racial diversity. It is home to long-time cultural institutions and local small  businesses like Intertribal Friendship House, Suigetsukan Dojo, Champa Garden, Rockin’ Crawfish, and La Estrellita Restaurant and Bar. Additionally, it is one of the last affordable neighborhoods surrounding Lake Merritt.


Median incomes in the area are $38,363 for a family of four. More than 75 percent of Eastlake residents are renters, and more than 75 percent are low or very-low income. Oakland is experiencing an alarming rise in rent and home sale prices and as a result, long-time, working class residents and people of color are being pushed out of the city. Oakland is now ranked the nation’s fifth most expensive rental market. According to the Housing Equity Roadmap, published in 2015:

  • From 2000 to 2010, Oakland’s African American population decreased by 24 percent;
  • The number of children declined by 16.7 percent between 2000 and 2010, and Oakland Unified School District has lost more than 10,000 students in the last decade.
  • The median income for African American, Latino, and Asian households in Oakland has declined since 2000. Citywide, White households had nearly double the median household income of any other racial or ethnic group, and Oakland was recently ranked as having the seventh-highest income inequality among cities in the nation
  • The majority of current Oakland residents could not afford to rent or purchase homes at the current prices in their neighborhoods.

As the RoadMap says: “The housing affordability gap has impacted Oakland’s diversity, which is an explicit value in the city’s mission statement. When we lose our long-time residents who have been the heart and memory of our neighborhoods and city, part of the soul of Oakland is lost.”

The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal has been crafted to blend seamlessly with and augment the Eastlake neighborhood’s incredible diversity, while showing what visionary, communityled leadership can look like in the face of a housing crisis. It is an invitation, rather than a rebuttal, to the community.

The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal maximizes the public use of public land, and helps the City of Oakland meet the recommendations outlined by the Housing Equity Roadmap for prioritizing public lands for affordable housing.

The enclosed proposal is an effort to uplift the character and longtime residents of the Eastlake neighborhood, while promoting development that meets expressed community needs without exacerbating displacement. It was created through an authentic community engagement process and complies with state Surplus Lands Act.

The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal can be a winwin partnership between the City and residents, establish the City’s leadership in creating innovative new affordable housing developments, and set the tone for future developments on public land throughout the City of Oakland.




Oakland’s Surplus Lands Act and Measure DD

The E12th St parcel qualifies as “surplus land” under the state’s Surplus Lands Act. Written in the 1970’s and updated in 2014, the state law declares that due to housing site shortages for individuals
and families with low and moderate incomes, surplus land owned by public agencies should be made available for affordable housing.
The Surplus Lands Act includes the following provisions, among others, that the E12th St parcel is subject too:
  • the local agency must offer the land to affordable housing developers first;
  • the local agency must give first priority too and enter into good faith negotiations with developers that make 25 percent of total units available to lower income households;
  • any development must have a miniumum of 15 percent of any development be accessible to lower income households.
In addition to being publicly-owned surplus land, the E12th parcel was originally created through public investments. In 2002, Oakland voters passed Measure DD. The park bond measure produced
$198 million in tax payer revenue. These monies funded a massive renovation of areas around Lake Merritt, including the consolidation of the E12th St. roadways from twelve lanes into six lanes. The
consolidation created the E12th Street parcel.
The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal is unique because it maximizes the uses of Oakland’s precious public lands. There is growing recognition that public lands represent unique opportunities to ensure affordable housing is built, especially at a time when prices are skyrocketing. In San Francisco, voters just passed Proposition K, which prioritizes using public land for affordable housing.
The E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal also help the City of Oakland meet the recommendations outlined by the Housing Equity Roadmap for prioritizing public lands for affordable housing. The RoadMap recommends that Oakland “provide…consideration to affordable housing developers of all vacant and under-utilized city land that is being sold.”


Community-Driven Planning and Design

At the heart of the E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal is a deep community engagement process that informed the design. Prior to its development, residents in the area outreached to hundreds of community members to gather feedback, utilizing multiple languages. In addition, on Sunday, August 23, 2015, the E12th WishList People’s Planning Forum brought an estimated 200 residents from across Oakland to design and build a community vision for development on the 12th Street Remainder Property. Attendees were given the opportunity to imagine what they would like to see on the site. Forum organizers gathered input on key questions regarding housing needs, affordability, and security as well as area residents’ desires for community, commercial and green/ open spaces.The data collected was analyzed and distilled into a list of community design principles and specific design features that are incorporated in this proposal.

The depth of community engagement and support for the proposal is reflected by the number of endorsements; 25 community groups and hundreds of residents across Oakland have officially endorsed the E 12th Wishlist Design Team / SAHA proposal.

A People’s proposal is truly a community-led vision for development on the E 12th parcel. The E12th WishList proposal is the culmination of months of organizing, direct action, advocacy, legal analysis, and civic participation from thousands of residents across Oakland, who came together to raise deep concerns about the previous proposal for the E12th parcel. Since January 2015, residents repeatedly expressed their desire for the City of Oakland to halt the proposed luxury highrise development, open up an authentic community engagement process, and prioritize affordable housing on the site. The E12th Coalition that emerged from this months-long campaign–and envisioned and implemented this design–includes concerned residents, neighbors, community-based organizations, labor, affordable housing advocates, and public health representatives to make this beautiful community vision a reality.

Endorsing Organizations and Faith-based Leaders

18 Million Rising



Beans & Rice Collective

California Nurses Association

Causa Justa :: Just Cause

Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice

Critical Resistance

East Bay Asian Youth Center

East Bay Solidarity Network

Filipino Advocates for Justice


Movement Generation

Oakland Community Land Trust

Oakland Education Association

Oakland SOL

People of Color Sustainable Housing Network

Planting Justice


Public Advocates

Urban Habitat

Urban Strategies Council

WishList Design Principles and Goals

The E 12th Wish List Design Team distilled the diverse data developed at the forum into the following Design Principles & Goals, which is the guide for our proposal and design

EMPOWER residents to participate in shaping our community.

RESPOND to the needs and desires of the community where the site is located.

CREATE a visionary project that provides an innovative approach for developing affordable housing that can be used as a model for community based planning processes for the future generations.

KNIT together the proposed design with the local neighborhood fabric and its existing cultural institutions, education facilities, and natural environs.

ENSURE that the proposed design prioritizes the needs and desires of the neighborhood’s longstanding community of multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, and majority low-income residents as well as the neighborhood’s small businesses.

BUILD at a density and scale that is appropriate to the existing fabric of the neighborhood.

FACILITATE flexibility in community and commercial spaces to be responsive to community needs over time.

GENERATE economic opportunities for low income and historically marginalized communities.

ENLIVEN the streetscape by making it inviting to pedestrians with opportunities for ‘pop-up’ and semi-fixed activities and uses in adaptable spaces.

CONNECT the community to the edges of the estuary and lakefront in restful and interactive ways.

RECOGNIZE that the number of deeply affordable housing units needed locally and nationally will not be met with small scale projects, containing only a few units in each. For this reason, the maximum number of housing units at the very deepest levels of affordability is needed.

DEMONSTRATE that affordable homes are beautiful, inviting, and accessible to residents and set a precedent within affordable housing movement.

APPRECIATE the East 12th St. Parcel as the sole site with a potential to develop deeply affordable homes that can front directly on the lake.

SECURE the East 12th Street Parcel as public land ensured for public good.

ASSERT that governments support community-centered best practices for affordable housing development.


Design: Perspective Rendering

DESIGN CONCEPT: Creating community and neighborhood connections

The proposal is conceived as an invitation to the community. We have designed a state of the art, contemporary, mid-rise, maximum density housing unit, which blends into the neighborhood and
reflects the nature of the Eastlake community. The design is contemporary, accessible, inviting, and open.
The design facilitates residents of the E 12th building and residents of the broader E 12th community uniting on the Eastside of Lake Merritt. Through its semi-public courtyard, glass bridge, and public
park lands, it builds a unique and beautiful relationship between the newly restored estuary, parcel parks, and residential areas. It creates a continuum of engagement, enhancing the link between
Lake Merritt and the residential areas.

Maximizing Affordability and Creating a Mixed Income Project

The design maximizes affordable housing and occupancy density. It has 133 units, with 289 bedrooms capable of housing up to 710 people. We have developed an innovative design that has deep levels of affordability, while also including a range of income levels. The design includes:

  • 80 units available for residents at 30% AMI
  • 26 units available for residents at 50% AMI
  • 8 units available for residents at 60% AMI
  • 8 units available for residents at 80% AMI
  • 10 units available for residents at 100% AMI

Community Benefits

The most significant benefit of our proposal is the creation of housing for low and moderate income people. 87 percent of units are available to low-income residents, and 13 percent are available to moderate income residents.

Another community benefit is the creation of family housing. Over 75 percent of the units could house families in 2 and 3 bedroom units.

Another community benefit is the inclusion of significant publicly accessible open space. The design includes a community garden, a playground and active open space, all of which are very important for individual and community health and well-being.

By including community and commercial space on the first floor, the design promotes economic opportunity for Oakland residents.

The E 12th Wishlist Design Team proposal has an experienced developer who can bring the project to fruition. SAHA has over 40 years of experiencing, having developed developed 60 projects, including the new Lakeside Senior Apartments just blocks away from the E 12th site. The newly designed building is home to 91 very low income and homeless seniors.

Selected Design Features

The surrounding areas are envisioned as relaxing, beautiful and revitalizing open spaces. The landscape design includes:

  • A Street buffer – A row of street trees along Lake Merritt Boulevard buffers the street as well as a mounded landform to buffer the site from the busy street intersection. Planting is trees and california natives, grasses.
  • Productive landscape – community garden space for gardening and food production. The structured community gardens are flanked by orchard trees.
  • Plaza – the hardscape plaza areas are inviting outdoor gathering spaces for communities and families. Plazas connect and correspond to indoor building functions and provide spaces for changing uses and needs, such as community events, small market vendors, and resident gatherings. Planting areas with seating walls and benches in the plaza create more intimate gathering spaces.

A central feature of the first floor of the building is a sheltered courtyard, which opens onto the parcel’s park. The park flows directly into the renovated Lake Merritt open spaces. This unique feature provides resident opportunities for outdoor engagement. Simultaneously, it creates a critical connection between the inhabitants and the surrounding community. Pedestrians and the public can flow seamlessly between the Lake, the parks on the parcel, and the neighborhood. Instead of being a wall lining the shores of the Lake, the building is a permeable installation that facilitates community engagement on a range of levels. The ground floor also includes:

  • Space for community business opportunities
  • Community-oriented spaces
  • Residential use spaces, such as a shared room, creating opportunities for community building.
  • Housing.

Adhering to the design principles developed during the outreach phase, the commercial and community spaces will have opportunities for community decision-making in how they are used.

The upper floors are are largely devoted to housing. The proposal achieves a maximum occupancy density and total bedroom count. The design emphasizes family housing, reflected in multi-bedroom units. Each apartment also has an outdoor space, continuing the effort to engage residents in their surroundings.

A bridge, partly glass enclosed, connects the two wings of the building. It provides an overlook to the Lake and courtyard. The bridge is a gateway between the public lands and courtyard. It is yet another feature that invites connections across places, and creating a visual marker for the flow of space and people connecting the neighborhood, the courtyard, the park, and the Lake. The glass becomes progressively more open to the elements as it moves up the floors. Finishing off the walkway is a rooftop garden that allows residents to maximize the building space, the outdoor feature, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

Parking for cars, car share vehicles, bicycles, and is underground along with a charging station for electric vehicles.

Click images for larger view.

Site Context

Neighborhood Context

Oaklands’s Eastlake neighborhood embodies all that is beautiful in our city. The area is extremely racially and ethnically diversity. Victorians stand side by side with large apartment complexes, creating a range of housing stock. When a person walks up International Boulevard or E 12th St, they see Asian community members shopping at bustling local supermarkets. The line at Mi Rancho taco truck snakes into the street, while neighbors gather for Warriors games at La Estrellita. Low-income seniors in the newly constructed, 100 percent affordable Lakeside Senior Apartments walk to the lake. Locally owned businesses like Akat Café, Woody’s Café, and Suigetskan Dojo provide places for people to come together.

Residents fill the many community spaces, whether it is in the churches like Regeneration, in meetings and cultural events at the Native American community center Intertribal Friendship House, or participating in ceremonies at the Buddhist shrines installed on median strips throughout the area. As a result of taxpayers Measure DD investments and the City of Oakland’s hard work, the new Lake Merritt amphitheater and pedestrian bridge create even more, beautiful opportunities for neighbors to enjoy the lake and public parks.


Project Site

E12WL---Context-Map-ver3-rotatedThe E12th Street Parcel sits at the edge of Lake Merritt and the estuary. The site is actually composed of two parts, one buildable parcel and the other part of the Lake Merritt open space. The buildable parcel starts at the intersection of E12th Street and 1st Avenue and extends to 2nd Avenue. On its the western edge is the open space of roughly equal size that leads to the estuary. The southern edge of the parcel abuts Dewey High School. Across the estuary is the Kaiser Auditorium and Laney Collage. The E12th Street parcel marks the most visible entry point to the Eastlake District from the western part of the city. This is a diverse, vibrant district marked by a variety of uses and buildings sitting side by side. There are single family houses, small and large apartment buildings, and commercial structures for retail, light industry and community services

E12TH & SAHA Partnership

In October, 2015, Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA) and the E 12th Wishlist Design Team announced a new partnership to advance a community-led, 100 percent affordable housing development on the E 12th parcel. The proposed project is the result of an extensive community engagement process led by the E 12th Wishlist Design Team and other community groups in the area.

“The design process led by the E12th Wishlist Team is inspiring and brings us back to what drew us to community development and affordable housing in the first place. The proposal is truly a reflection of community desires for the E 12th parcel, and we are thrilled to be able to bring our 40 plus years of experience creating over 60 affordable housing developments to help make this vision a reality,” said Eve Stewart of SAHA.

Wishlist Methodology

Central to the methodology of our proposal development was a process to capture the needs and desires of the Eastlake community, including its long-term low income, residents of color. The strategy for gathering community input and data for the 12th Street Remainder Property to develop a community-driven proposal culminated in a community visioning event entitled “E12th Wishlist: A People’s Planning Forum.”

e12thwishlistflierLeading up to this event, our data collection and outreach included collaborating with relevant community-based organizations and groups to engage residents and gather qualitative data. These strategies sought to authentically engage community members in an inclusionary and equitable way so that that they could self-determine the vision and future development of their neighborhood.

We were very intentional about community outreach. We targeted key locations that would allow us to reach specific resident demographics of the Eastlake neighborhood. We conducted door knocking throughout the neighborhood, engaged customers at small businesses, and canvassed central community locations such as Lucky Supermarket and Walgreens on E18th Street, as well as Lake Merritt and Downtown Oakland Bart stations. During outreach, we advertised the community visioning event and asked residents their ideas for housing, businesses and services, and community space.

We partnered with organizations whose work focuses on anti-gentrification in Oakland and who have connections with the communities that comprise the Eastlake area. East Bay Solidarity Network and other campaign volunteers met up every Saturday from July 25, 2015 through Saturday, August 22, 2015 from 12 PM to 3 PM. We also partnered with the many organizations that have endorsed the E12th campaign demands for affordable housing to publicize the event in broader community networks.


The Eastlake neighborhood has a large population of Vietnamese residents, so we collaborated with a group of 20 Vietnamese volunteers from Hai Ba Trung School to conduct door knocking and canvassing in the San Antonio/Eastlake District. Bilingual outreach volunteers were vital in ensuring that we were equitable and inclusive of the various racial and ethnic identities of the Eastlake neighborhood. Our outreach enabled us to engage over 300 residents through the month-long process which led to over 200 attendees at the event.

In preparation for the community visioning event, we launched a social media campaign, using the hashtag #E12wishlist on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Additionally, we used Facebook as a platform for people to share their desires for affordable housing in Oakland.

E12th Wishlist: A People’s Planning Forum was held on Sunday, August 23rd from 1 to 5pm at the parking lot of the Henry J. Kaiser Center.

The location was chosen to highlight the privatization of the Henry J Kaiser Center, a historic public institution in close proximity to the E12th parcel. The idea for this community event emerged after the City of Oakland opened the parcel up to new development proposals. Members of the E12th coalition saw the need for a collective visioning process to identify the people of Oakland wanted for the parcel. Our goals for this event were 1) to enable residents to imagine and envision their needs and desires for the E12th parcel specifically and 2) to call attention to ongoing problems with gentrification in Oakland more broadly. We wanted to come out of the event with a clear sense of the wishes and ideas of local residents, so that these community priorities could be used to guide any future developments on the E 12th Street Remainder Property. The event was family friendly, consisting of free food for community members, performances by participants of Youth Radio, as well as play and art opportunities for children.


Visioning tables where community members were able to contribute their ideas for the site were an essential element of the forum. Architects and planners facilitated vibrant discussions with residents who recorded their ideas and thoughts on feedback cards. They also led participants through a design exercise where people were able to draw their project ideas for the parcel that included elements of housing, business and services, community space, and open/green spaces.

This feedback, along with information gathered from the month of community outreach, shaped the guiding principles and the design included in this proposal. To follow is an overview of our findings from community residents followed by the design itself.



Affordable Family Housing at E. 12th Street Parcel


  • $ 1,012,500 Land / Acquisition
  • $ 41,962,593 Construction
  • $ 2,135,845 Architecture & Engineering
  • $ 200,000 Survey & Engineering
  • $ 337,500 Construction Interest & Fees
  • $ – Permanent Financing
  • $ 50,000 Legal
  • $ – Reserves $ 358,899 Reserves
  • $ 2,109,417 Other Costs
  • $ 85,000 Bond Financing Costs
  • $ 800,000 Developer Costs
  • $ 125,000 Syndication Costs
  • $ 48,817,855 Total Uses


  • Sources
  • $ – Perm Loan Tranche A
  • $ – Perm Loan Tranche B – Sec 8
  • $ 2,193,741 Federal Tax Credit Equity
  • $ 1,200,000 FHLB AHP
  • $ – Deferred Developer Fee
  • $ 5,000,000 Alameda County Boomerang
  • $ – GP / Sponsor Equity
  • $ – AHSC $ 17,123,558 AHSC
  • $ – VHHP $ 3,552,583 VHHP
  • $ 40,424,114 Construction Loan



  • $ 1,012,500 Land / Acquisition
  • $ 46,112,593 Construction
  • $ 2,135,845 Architecture & Engineering
  • $ 200,000 Survey & Engineering
  • $ 1,975,500 Construction Interest & Fees
  • $ 25,000 Permanent Financing
  • $ 50,000 Legal
  • $ 2,124,417 Other Costs
  • $ 85,000 Bond Financing Costs
  • $ 2,550,000 Developer Costs
  • $ 215,000 Syndication Costs
  • $ 56,844,754 Total Uses


  • $ 4,601,684 Perm Loan Tranche A
  • $ 2,546,482 Perm Loan Tranche B – Sec 8
  • $ 21,937,406 Federal Tax Credit Equity
  • $ 1,200,000 FHLB AHP
  • $ 882,941 Deferred Developer Fee
  • $ 5,000,000 Alameda County Boomerang
  • $ 100 GP / Sponsor Equity

Sources of Funds

  • Mortgage loan supported by tenant rents: 3,869,400
  • 2nd Mortgage loan supported by additional subsidy from OHA: 2,708,600
  • HOME funds: 1,900,000
  • “Boomerang” Funds – residual increment amounts from previous Redevelopment Areas: 1,500,000
  • State of California Affordable Housing and Sustainable Community Funding: 6,000,000
  • Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program Grant: 980,000
  • Investor Equity- Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: 28,986,000
  • Deferred developer fee: 98,000

TOTAL Sources: 46,042,000

Development Costs

  • Construction (including contingency): 36,560,000
  • Architecture/engineering: 1,580,000
  • Permits and fees: 2,250,000
  • Construction loan fees/costs/interest: 1,642,000
  • Capitalized Land Lease Payment: 510,000
  • Legal/ consulting/ tax credit syndication fees: 275,000
  • Other costs (furnishings, construction mgmt, taxes, insurance, title, etc.): 825,000
  • Reserves: 825,000
  • Developer Fee: 1,500,000

TOTAL Costs: 46,042,000


Wishlist Findings

The E12th Wishlist: A People’s Planning Forum yielded rich feedback from community members that reflects their needs and desires. We were able to compile and analyze their ideas and visions regarding housing, community services, businesses, and community space for the E12th street parcel.



Critical community priorities for housing includes affordable housing that serves:

  • families
  • the elderly
  • people with disabilities
  • intergenerational community

Community members were very clear about the need for housing that is affordable, clean, safe, and accessible to public transportation.

Community Services

  • childcare
  • youth center
  • training/educational spaces

Other considerations for community services include:

  • health clinic
  • retreat center
  • film screening space
  • tool lending library
  • cultural spaces
  • non-profit spaces
  • visual and performing art studio spaces

Community Spaces

The community also identified the need for spaces build connectivity and vibrancy in the neighborhood. The community’s priority regarding community space include:

  • parks
  • gardens
  • BBQ space
  • multipurpose use
  • recreation center/gym

Other considerations for community space include:

  • pool, bike parking, community meeting spaces, gym,
    outdoor recreation, playgrounds

Commercial Spaces

Community priorities included commercial and retail development that supports community wellbeing and interconnectedness such as:

  • affordable groceries
  • small scale restaurants
  • bookstores
  • cafes
  • pharmacy
  • small scale food vendors
  • late night bakery

Other considerations for businesses include:

  • Clothing/shoe stores
  • Farmer’s Market
  • Laundromat/ Dry Cleaner
  • Thrift stores

Community members highlighted the need for local, small businesses that are owned and managed by people of color.


Open and Green Spaces

Community members were given site plans for the E12th parcel and asked to draw their ideal green/open space. Ideas for open/ green spaces emphasized social connectedness and included:

  • courtyard w/seating
  • playground
  • community garden
  • pool
  • skatepark
  • stage/performance space

Participants also expressed the need to be connected to the existing community:

  • establish relationship with Dewey High School
  • bus shelter

Other considerations for open/green spaces include:

  • bike parking
  • grey water mechanism + water catchment
  • trees
  • well-lit paths



Over 30 plans and elevations were drawn and annotated by WishList participants. It was all documented and analyzed by the design team.

Spatial distribution studies for housing, community, and commercial spaces and for open and green spaces were generated from participant drawings.

The WishList drawings are consistant with written and verbal feedback prioritizing the following:

  • community control
  • affordability and accessiblity
  • flexibility for different uses in building spaces


Historical and Legislative Contexts

First Peoples and the History of Stolen Land

Any discussion of land in Oakland should begin by acknowledging the area’s original inhabitants. Ancient East Bay shell mounds suggest the earliest villages in the area were established about 4000 BC. Once an estuary, the Ohlone people fished, hunted and gathered food along the shores of what is was now called Lake Merritt for centuries.

As with many Native Americans in California, colonialism resulted in widespread death, disease and displacement of the Ohlone people. By 1810, the land, including Lake Merritt, had been deeded to settlers.

Ohlone people continue to fight for rights to preserve and protect their culture and heritage in the land of their ancestors. From revitalizing language and tradition to claiming rights over shellmounds and other sacred sites, indigenous struggles are not artifacts of the past but critical to contemporary decisions around land use. To our knowledge the E12th parcel does not sit atop an Ohlone sacred sites or shellmound, but if such artifacts are found, they will be immediately returned as per state law.

“We believe that we have been here since the beginning of time and our creation stories tell us this. Oakland is traditionally called Huichin. Ohlone people continue to work and live and raise our children and grandchildren in what is now the City of Oakland.” –- Corrina Gould, Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone, Co-Founder, Indian People Organizing for Change

Redlining and Reparations

The legacies of racially discriminatory housing in Oakland is also critical to keep in mind as the future of the E12th parcel is decided. Black residents in this area of Oakland have been historically denied the opportunity for stable homeownership and building equity through housing. According to the Federal Housing Administration’s racially exclusionary classifications, the area of the E12th parcel fell in a designated red zone or “D grade” area. This designation discouraged mortgage lenders through the 1960’s from making loans to its “undesirable populations.”

The 2008 foreclosure crisis exacerbated these long-standing patterns of racial discrimination in housing. Foreclosures, fueled by predatory lending practices, resulted in a 40 percent drop in Oakland’s total African American population between 1990 and 2011. The ongoing rising costs of housing in Oakland have also hit the Black community particularly hard, as noted earlier.

Creating affordable housing that prioritizes historic residents of the E12th neighborhood is a crucial element of redressing anti- black policies that have systematically siphoned wealth out of African American communities.

Oakland Organizes

historical context

Oakland is a reknown epicenter of political organizing and the nationwide movement for social justice, particularly among black and brown communities. One relevant example is the community organizing by West Oakland residents for equity and enviornmental justice following the Loma Prieta earthquake and the Cypress Freeway collapse. When the City of Oakland Redevelopment Agency constructed the freeway, it cut through West Oakland’s long standing black neighborhood, dividing and polluting it.

After the quake, the community saw an opportunity in the freeway reconstruction to rebuild, united, and protect the health of area residents. They pushed back against the state transportation agency’s plan to replace the freeway in its pre- quake location.
As one frustrated West Oakland resident asked, “Why is the poor community always having to pay?”

Eventually, a coalition of West Oakland residents sued the agency. In the wake of the lawsuit, an advisory committee was formed and scores of meetings with community groups, city officials, and commuter groups were held to discuss the freeway’s reconstruction. In 1998, the Cypress Freeway reconstruction was completed in alignment with the demands of community residents.

“We changed the course of transportation in West Oakland forever by planning, organizing, demanding, and shepherding the rerouting of the Cypress Freeway.” — Paul Cobb, Citizens Emergency Relief Team

The E12th St parcel qualifies as “surplus land” under the state’s Surplus Lands Act. Written in the 1970’s and updated in 2014, the state law declares that due to housing site shortages for individuals and families with low and moderate incomes, surplus land owned by public agencies should be made available for affordable housing.

The Surplus Lands Act includes the following provisions, among others, that the E12th St parcel is subject too:

  1. the local agency must offer the land to affordable housing
    developers first;
  2. the local agency must give first priority too and enter into good faith negotiations with developers that make 25 percent of total units available to lower income households;
  3. any development must have a miniumum of 15 percent of any development be accessible to lower income households.

In addition to being publicly-owned surplus land, the E12th parcel was originally created through public investments. In 2002, Oakland voters passed Measure DD. The park bond measure produced $198 million in tax payer revenue. These monies funded a massive renovation of areas around Lake Merritt, which added park space, restored historic structures, and improved infrastructure. The largest project by far was the consolidation of the E12th St. roadways from twelve lanes into six lanes. The consolidation created the E12th Street parcel.

Acknowledgments and Contact Information

We thank all those involved in efforts to make communities more just, habitable, and wonderful.

We specifically thank those who worked to reopen the E 12th St. Parcel to new proposals including whistleblowers, journalists, activists, organizers, attorneys, speakers, media teams, artists, photographers, lobbiests, strategists, the bakers, cooks, techies, performers, mc’s, neighbors and so many more who lent their ideas, creativity, and heart along the way.

The WishList Planning, Organizing, Demanding, and Shepherding team can be reached at: e12wishlist@gmail.com
Submission date 9.14.15