East Oakland, Oakland, California
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East Oakland is the southeastern portion of Oakland, California, and takes up the largest portion of the city's land area. It stretches between Lake Merritt in the northwest and San Leandro in the southeast. Many areas of East Oakland have been plagued by high crime in the postwar period and are known for violence and drug activity.
East Oakland stretches between Lake Merritt in the northwest and San Leandro in the southeast. It generally has a diagonal layout. East Oakland has numbered avenues (1st to 109th) that run northeast to southwest, and numbered streets (East 7th to East 33rd) that run northwest to southeast. Interstates 580 and 880 also run northwest to southeast. Main northwest-southeast thoroughfares include East 14th Street (renamed International Blvd. in 1996 within the city of Oakland only), MacArthur Blvd., Foothill Blvd., and Bancroft Ave. Main northeast-southwest thoroughfares include Fruitvale Ave., 35th Ave., High St., Seminary Ave., 73rd Ave. (which becomes the Hegenberger Expressway south of East 14th St. to Oakland International Airport), and 98th Ave. East Oakland is home to Mills College, the Oakland Coliseum and the Oracle Arena.
The area between 70th and 109th Avenues and near the airport became notorious, starting in the 1980s, as one of the most violent and drug/gang dominated regions in the nation, after much of the area experienced a drastic socioeconomic decline following the 1970s; prior to this, most of East Oakland was middle-class and almost suburban in nature. Many middle-class families (most often from districts southwest of MacArthur and Foothill Boulevards) relocated to neighboring cities in the Bay Area, leaving the poorest citizens behind. Also, many long-time industrial jobs in the area disappeared as the economy changed and factories along the Southern Pacific railroad tracks shut down, most notably regional facilities for Granny Goose, a regional snack foods brand, and Gerber.
The eastern side of East Oakland, including Maxwell Park and the Oakland hills, traditionally neighborhoods northeast of MacArthur Blvd. and/or I-580, are populated by higher income families and young professionals.
The entire area was designated the Central City East Redevelopment Area by the City of Oakland in 2002. With this designation, the City will support redevelopment projects within the area that will be funded by tax-increment financing.
Today's International Blvd. was called the Oakland-San Leandro Road in the 19th century, a county road connecting Oakland with San Leandro. Along this road, small settlements developed with names such as Melrose, Elmhurst and Fitchburg. All these were annexed by the city of Oakland after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. After annexation, the Oakland-San Leandro Road was renamed East 14th Street, a name which lasted for most of the 20th century. Both Foothill Boulevard and MacArthur Boulevard, which run through the heart of East Oakland, were a part of the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental highway, from 1913 until 1927.
The area known as Brooklyn (until it was also annexed by the city in 1909) was once suburban and predominantly white until World War II, when it became the backbone of Oakland's African American community due to an influx of workers from the southeastern U.S. and the exodus of more prosperous whites to suburbs south and east of the city, such as San Leandro, Hayward and Walnut Creek. In the 1950s and 1960s, many areas of East Oakland remained predominantly white. In recent decades, the African American population has been steadily declining (as more middle-class African Americans are seeking opportunities in the very same nearby suburbs white residents moved to years earlier, and even outside of the Bay Area altogether) and is being replaced by a Latino and Asian (primarily Cambodian, Lao, and Chinese) population. Fruitvale has become the backbone of Oakland's Latino community. A diverse Asian population, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Laotian, and other southeast Asian ethnic groups generally inhabit the area of East Oakland closest to downtown, from Chinatown east to San Antonio. Blacks still maintain majority status in East Oakland, where they represent over 54% of East Oakland's residents.
The Brookfield district is located from 98th-85th Avenues. Residential streets are named for letters of the alphabet (A st...B st ...C st, etc.) This is a part of East Oakland which has some of the highest rates of criminal and drug activity in the entire Bay Area.
Many areas of East Oakland have been plagued by high crime in the postwar period and still remain a haven for prostitution and drug activity. East Oakland continues to have high unemployment and dropout rates, and its most poverty-stricken neighborhoods continue on a cycle of despair and apathy. The prostitution scene in the city was exposed in the 1970s with movies like "The Mack", and in the early 1980s was one of the first areas in the United States where crack cocaine became a serious epidemic. During that time much of the drug trade was run by the notorious Felix Mitchell.
Unlike South Central L.A., there are no major affiliations with Bloods or Crips in Oakland. Drug turf determines its street politics. East 14th Street was plagued with a prostitution and drug problem for years. Oakland City council changed the name of East 14th Street to International Blvd in 1996.
East Oakland, together with West Oakland and portions of North Oakland, are the heart and soul of Northern California's African American community. Hip hop culture is strongly associated with East Oakland. It is known within the hip hop community as "Oaktown", or "The East". A number of East Bay rappers and singers such as Raphael Saadiq, Keak da Sneak, Dru Down, Too Short, Digital Underground, MC Hammer, Yukmouth, Hieroglyphics, and Keyshia Cole originated there.The prostitution, violence and drug culture of the region spawned a new sub-genre of hip hop by the late 1980s. Rappers like Too Short incorporated drugs, violence, prostitution and gang life into their music, in sharp contrast to much of the East Coast hip hop of the day. Too Short was also one of the first rap artists to promote and sell records independently, started first by Mac Dre, who was born in Oakland and moved to Vallejo, and is one of the pioneers responsible for the birth of Northern California's independent hip hop scene, leading other artists to pursue success in the music industry without the assistance of a major record company. The sound of the music was different from East Coast hip hop, which is known for its technique of sampling and looping to create a song. Instead, funk and blues were infused with synthesizers and drum machines, giving birth to the Bay Area hip hop sound known as Mobb music. Today, mainstream hip-hop continues to lyrically and musically incorporate much of what was pioneered in East Oakland.
Elmhurst was originally a separate town, it was annexed by Oakland in 1909, and today is considered part of East Oakland. Although it was historically a white working-class neighborhood, it became predominantly African American after World War II, and today, Latinos now form about half of Elmhurst's population. Elmhurst was the site of one of the large carbarns for the Key System's streetcars, the Elmhurst Carhouse. Chevrolet opened an auto assembly plant in Elmhurst in 1915, which shut down in the 1960s.
Located near the Oakland International Airport. The main streets are 98th Avenue and Edes Avenue. The Brookfield district is located from 98th-85th Avenues. Brookfield Village stops at the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) train tracks after Railroad Street. Brookfield Village was built during World War II in response to the influx of workers needed for the war industries, on land which had been zoned for industrial uses.
Lower Hills District
Central East Oakland
- Eastmont, Oakland, California, the location of Eastmont Town Center, the last surviving indoor shopping mall in Oakland.
- Maxwell Park
- Fairfax District, a distinct business district centered on the intersection of Fairfax Avenue and Foothill Boulevard. The Fairfax Theatre building keynotes the district. Each East Oakland business district historically had its own movie theatre.
- Lockwood Gardens
- Seminary. This neighborhood includes Mills College.
- San Antonio, which includes smaller neighborhoods such as The Twomps and Jingletown.
- Brookfield Village
- Sobrante Park
- Sequoyah Heights, part of the larger Oak Knoll neighborhood
- Walter Van Dyke, justice of the California Supreme Court
- East Bay Express | Blogs | Playing Tag
- History, oaklandhistory.com
- U.S. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration. Highway History. Richard F. Weingroff, The Lincoln Highway.
- San Francisco Bay View - Discussing the Oakland rap scene wit’ one of its veterans, V. White of the Delinquents
- Oaklandish. Felix Mitchell
- City explores options for East 14th Street area | Oakland Tribune
- Dunlap, Kamika (February 15, 2007). "Victory for tenants accused of bribery.". Oakland Tribune. "The California Court of Appeals has denied the Oakland Housing Authority's bid to overturn a ruling favoring a group of Lockwood Gardens tenants accused of bribing their way up a lengthy public housing waiting list."
- Hill, Angela (March 31, 2005). "City anti-drug effort.". Oakland Tribune. Retrieved 2007-10-31. "... they’ll also hit an area in East Oakland along The avenues called The Twomps, and parts of West Oakland known as Ghost Town and Ghost Nuts ..."
- "Neighborhood Search Map". Oakland Museum of California. Archived from the original on 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2011-07-29.