Ocean View, San Francisco

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Neighborhood of San Francisco
Oceanview is located in San Francisco County
Location within San Francisco
Coordinates: 37°42′52″N 122°27′24″W / 37.7144°N 122.4567°W / 37.7144; -122.4567
 • Board of Supervisors John Avalos
 • State Assembly Philip Ting (D)
 • State Senate Leland Yee (D)
 • U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D)
 • Total 1.00 km2 (0.388 sq mi)
Population (2009)[1]
 • Total 6,488
 • Density 6,455/km2 (16,719/sq mi)
ZIP Code 94112
Area code(s) 415

Oceanview is a neighborhood in the southern portion of San Francisco, California. It was first established as a satellite community in the 1910s and originally centered around the intersection of Sagamore Street and San Jose Avenue. Today, the neighborhood is bordered by Orizaba Avenue to the west, Lakeview Avenue to the north, and Interstate 280 to the south and east.

Ingleside and the Ocean Avenue campus of City College lay north of Oceanview; Cayuga Terrace is to the east; Daly City, California, and the Outer Mission are south; and Merced Heights is to the west.

Oceanview Playground and Minnie and Lovie Ward Recreation Center are located in the middle of the neighborhood, a two-square-block area between Plymouth Avenue, Capitol Avenue, Lobos Street, and Montana Street. The Ocean View Branch Library of the San Francisco Public Library is located at 345 Randolph St. Ocean View is served by Muni Metro Routes M and 54.


Oceanview, also referred to as "Lakeview" by natives of the community, has a rich history.[2] Oceanview was originally an Italian-Irish-German neighborhood in the mid- to late nineteenth century; the location acted as a station for train service between San Francisco and San Jose, owned by San Francisco and San Jose Railroad, bought by Southern Pacific in 1868.[3] An African-American community migrated there after World War II from the Western Addition and Bayview neighborhoods.[2] Until the mid-1990s, African Americans accounted for over 50 percent of the neighborhood's residents. In the early 2000s, relatively lower real estate prices brought in a new influx of Asians, Latinos, and Caucasians, making Oceanview one of the most culturally diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco.


Partly due to fairly recent waves of gentrification in the past decade, Oceanview is more ethnically and economically diverse than San Francisco as a whole. Asians now hold majority status in the once predominantly-African American enclave. Although blacks are no longer a majority in the neighborhood as they once were from the 1960s-1990s, many blocks around the Broad-Randolph Street corridor remain 50% or more black in residency. As of the 2010 Census, Oceanview is 44.68% Asian, 22.99% African American, 20.36% Caucasian and 14.1% Latino. [4] [5]

Marginalization and Crime[edit]

Oceanview has been described as "hard to find" due to its location in the far southwestern fringe of San Francisco and being wedged in between two freeways. Passenger service on the train line ended in the area in 1904 which caused businesses to decline in Oceanview. The neighborhood began to show signs of neglect and deterioration by the 1960s. At some time in the 1960s and 1970s, Oceanview had become an African American-majority neighborhood with black people representing over 50% of the neighborhood's residents. The rest of the neighborhood consisted of Asians, Latinos and various Pacific Islanders as very few white people lived in the district. Blacks were encouraged to buy property in the district after World War II because of the older average age of homes that exist in the neighborhood. [6]

By the 1980s after years of widespread civic neglect, the Oceanview district had become one of the most crime-ridden and forbidding districts in all of San Francisco. A geographically remote, socially isolated disenfranchised majority-black population of displaced blue collar workers created an environment rife with unemployment and relative poverty which made the neighborhood a hotbed of drug dealing and gang activity. Particularly, the corridor of Broad and Randolph Streets in the neighborhood was very dangerous and was known to be a large active open-air drug market. These streets were marked by a high concentration of liquor stores and shuttered former businesses. Hard drug abuse of crack cocaine and heroin was prevalent in the area throughout the 1980s and 1990s as nearly 20 crackhouses were counted in the neighborhood by police authorities at one point in the early 1990s. At many times throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the areas of Oceanview and Ingleside Heights had some of the highest violent crime rates in San Francisco and the entire Bay Area. Gunfire was reported to be a daily occurrence in the area. Many years, a huge percentage of the entire city of San Francisco's homicides occurred in Oceanview. One year, there were 12 homicides centered around a single Oceanview intersection. Despite the neighborhood's alarmingly high crime rates, the local news media has historically paid very little attention to Oceanview compared to other lower-income dangerous high crime neighborhoods in San Francisco such as Bayview Hunters Point [7]

Historically, most of the murders that have occurred in Oceanview over the decades were gangland style killings connected to the once thriving local drug game in the community. Murders were also the outcome of armed combat between mostly young black men involved in local loosely organized gangs of childhood friends from opposing rival "turfs", or majority-black low-income neighborhoods and or public housing projects, throughout San Francisco including Randolph Street in Oceanview as well as the Sunnydale projects in the fringe of the Visitacion Valley neighborhood and the Western Addition, locally known as the Fillmore district. [8] [9] [10] These locally based gangs of mostly young black men and other young male minorities involved in the criminal lifestyle from predominantly black areas of San Francisco often did not refer to themselves as actual gangs as there was no hierarchy, strict organization, recruiting or getting "jumped in" associated with these groups who's main camaraderie was based on claiming their neighborhood, block or public housing projects. [11] Young black men involved in local turf gangs or "mobs" in Oceanview as well as mostly all major predominantly black areas of San Francisco and much of the urban Bay Area also never adopted the now nationwide Blood and Crip gang culture that was founded in Los Angeles in the 1970s. [12]

Cohesively, in the late 1980s and 1990s, Oceanview became a hotbed of local underground independently produced Gangsta Rap, known in the Bay Area as Mob music. During this time, local young men from the area began articulating the harsh realities of growing up in the neighborhood and detailing the scary violent street crime that plagued the district as well as voicing the unsettling daily struggles of inner city life in Oceanview through Rap music. Many well-respected local Bay Area Rap pioneers such as the late Cougnut and Cellski hail from the neighborhood, mostly from the public housing projects on the corner of Randolph and Head Streets along the main drag of Ingleside Heights.

Gentrification and Revitalization[edit]

During the 1990s and 2000s, San Francisco experienced the most acute case of black flight of any major city in the nation as thousands upon thousands of middle class and lower-income black families moved out of the city due to a rising cost of living as well as the disproportionately high crime rates, sub-standard public housing and poor performing schools that existed in black-majority areas across San Francisco such as Oceanview. [13]

By the early to mid 2000s, serious violent crime had dropped dramatically in Oceanview. The efforts of a neighborhood group of community activists called Neighbors In Action and the local police force had effectively curbed the scary street crime associated with the drug dealing and gang activity that had plagued the area for decades. Most notably, long-time Oceanview resident Minnie Ward helped spearhead the changes in Oceanview working hard in community activism with her husband since the heyday of Oceanview's ghettoization in the early 1990s. [14]

Minnie Ward, who passed away in 2005, had the new remodeled recreation center at Oceanview Park in the neighborhood renamed after her and her husband, Lovie, in reverence to their contributions to cleaning up the Oceanview neighborhood. A new library was opened on 345 Randolph Street in June of 2000 replacing the older library that was located on 111 Broad Street. The old engine no. 33 Firehouse on Broad Street has been restored and offers tours throughout San Francisco on an old fire engine.

New businesses have been hesitant to open stores along the once-downtrodden Broad-Randolph commercial strip in the residential neighborhood. However, third generation Oceanview resident, Donald Andrews, a young man only in his 20s, opened Broad Street's first new business in almost ten years, an independent streetwear clothing boutique called Dream Team, in March of 2012. [15]

Many people are choosing to buy houses in Oceanview because homes there are relatively much cheaper than most other areas of San Francisco due to the fact that Oceanview is a gentrifying neighborhood in transition. Housing prices continue to rise annually in Oceanview. New residents are buying homes in the district at a fairly high rate as well. From 2012 to 2013, the median sales price of houses in Oceanview increased 6.3% and the number of sales increased by 66.7%. The average square foot price of a house in Oceanview was $484 which was a 12.8% increase from the same time frame. [16]



  1. ^ a b "Oceanview neighborhood in San Francisco, California". Urban Mapping, Inc. 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c Fontes, Marsha (2003). "I am OMI". Western Neighborhoods Project. 
  3. ^ Fontes, Marsha (1993). "Railway Recollections". West Portal Monthly. 
  4. ^ "Ocean View, San Francisco, CA Demographics Data". Area Vibes. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Ocean View neighborhood in San Francisco (CA), 94112 detailed profile". City-Data. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  6. ^ ""On the Lookout for a Better outlook" Oceanview guide, Moving to San Francisco". Street Advisor. Retrieved 24 January 2014. 
  7. ^ Jones, Carolyn. "OCEANVIEW// Neighborhood reclaims its mean streets". SFGate. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  8. ^ Thompson, A.C. "Forgotten City". San Francisco Bay Guardian News. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  9. ^ Sabatini, Joshua. "Gang violence blamed for recent shootings". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  10. ^ Thompson, A.C. "Bad Blood". SF Weekly. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Samaha, Albert. "Menace to Society: Why Many Young Black Men Are Accused of Being in Gangs". SF Weekly. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  12. ^ Samaha, Albert. "Crip-less: S.F.'s Dislike of Franchises Extends to Street Gangs". SF Weekly. Retrieved 26 January 2014. 
  13. ^ ritter, John. "San Francisco hopes to reverse black flight". USA Today. Retrieved 28 January 2014. 
  14. ^ Nolte, Carl. "Minnie Ward Helped Clean Up Ocean View Area". SFGate. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  15. ^ Mersch, Eric. "Dream Team Founder Rides Wave of Community Support". Ocean View Neighbors. Retrieved 23 January 2014. 
  16. ^ "Oceanview Real Estate Overview". Trulia. Retrieved 28 January 2014.