North Richmond, California
|• County Board||District 1:
|• State Senate||Loni Hancock (D)|
|• State Assembly||Tony Thurmond (D)|
|• U. S. Congress||Mark DeSaulnier (D)|
|• Total||1.549 sq mi (4.012 km2)|
|• Land||1.408 sq mi (3.648 km2)|
|• Water||0.141 sq mi (0.364 km2) 9.1%|
|Elevation||16 ft (5 m)|
|• Density||2,400/sq mi (930/km2)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature IDs||1659249, 2583096|
North Richmond is a community in Contra Costa County, California, a census-designated place (CDP) of 3,717 adjacent to and nearly surrounded by the city Richmond, to which it is generally both socially and culturally associated. North Richmond is the poorest community in Contra Costa County.
The area of North Richmond was populated by Ohlone tribes which settled the area in the 6th century. However Hokan speaking people may have inhabited the area even earlier, and archaeological evidence shows human settlement to have begun at least by 4000 BC. The Ohlone tribesmen subsisted from hunter-gatherering the bountiful amount of land and sea life of the area. Especially the great amounts of seafood made available along the coastline of Castro Cove and the surrounding marshlands and delta of Wildcat and San Pablo creeks. The majority of present-day North Richmond was territory of the Karkin tribe (or Carquinez) however the land lies on what was a border area with the Chocheño tribe and likely had influences of both groups. The tribes made great use of the salmon and trout runs on the rivers. However, today, culverting and damming has decimated the habitat for these species and they are rarely present ever at the opening of the watercourse.
In the early part of the 20th century, North Richmond was populated by Italian-Americans. During World War II, many African-Americans moved from the South and Midwest and came to the Western United States in order to find jobs helping the war effort. Many came to work in Richmond's shipyards and consequently, moved into North Richmond.
Subsequently many of the residents were employed in the petroleum, railway, and shipping industries.
To this day, most of the residents are African American. Today, the area retains the label of "The Ghetto" due to its high crime rates, unemployment, and poverty. Since the 1970s, many Latinos, especially Mexicans, have moved into the area. More recently, there has been an influx of Asian immigrants. In the 2000s there was a mass exodus of businesses.
The 2010 United States Census reported that North Richmond had a population of 3,717. The population density was 2,399.6 people per square mile (926.5/km²). The racial makeup of North Richmond was 1,239 (33.3%) African American, 634 (17.1%) White, 431 (11.6%) Asian, 23 (0.6%) Native American, 18 (0.5%) Pacific Islander, 1,191 (32.0%) from other races, and 181 (4.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,862 persons (50.1%).
The Census reported that 100% of the population lived in households.
There were 1,027 households, out of which 551 (53.7%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 412 (40.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 271 (26.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 95 (9.3%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 86 (8.4%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 4 (0.4%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 184 households (17.9%) were made up of individuals and 70 (6.8%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.62. There were 778 families (75.8% of all households); the average family size was 4.02.
The population was spread out with 1,152 people (31.0%) under the age of 18, 456 people (12.3%) aged 18 to 24, 1,187 people (31.9%) aged 25 to 44, 712 people (19.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 210 people (5.6%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29.0 years. For every 100 females there were 98.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.7 males.
There were 1,237 housing units at an average density of 798.6 per square mile (308.3/km²), of which 471 (45.9%) were owner-occupied, and 556 (54.1%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 4.4%; the rental vacancy rate was 14.6%. 1,692 people (45.5% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 2,025 people (54.5%) lived in rental housing units.
The West Contra Costa Housing Authority of Contra Costa County is located in North Richmond. The area is policed by the Contra Costa County Sheriff's department. The community is governed by the county of Contra Costa and the current representative is supervisor John Gioia.
At a community level the town does not have a city council nor its own neighborhood councils. North Richmond does though, have community council that represents the resident's voices at the county level known as the North Richmond Municipal Advisory Council.
Richmond has considered annexing North Richmond several times since the 1960s. In fall 2011, the neighboring city of San Pablo conducted a telephone opinion poll of San Pablo residents. Among other items the poll sought to discern San Pablo citizens' opinions on the possibility of the City of San Pablo annexing unincorporated North Richmond. Reasons cited included the opportunity for North Richmond residents to have direct representation and also give San Pablo waterfront access to San Pablo Bay.
Sports such as baseball and basketball are important activities in the neighborhood, especially for young men. Baseball is played at the North Richmond Ballfield Complex and at Shields-Reid Park. Baseball has been a long tradition here and has been played by residents for decades. The Bay Area's Hyphy scene also resonates in this community, especially among many young people who aspire to be rappers and singers. Hip hop, Rap, and R&B music, as with many areas densely populated by African Americans, is prominent among the area's youth.
This area is served by AC Transit bus lines 76, 71, and 376, that connect the community with Richmond BART & Amtrak station, Contra Costa College in San Pablo, and Hilltop Mall in addition to other areas of west county. The line 376 is an owl service and due to several assaults and other crimes committed on board during 2010 the bus is now escorted by a county sheriff's vehicle while its in the towns limits. In fact many bus drivers refuse to work this line because of how dangerous it can be. Richmond Parkway, a connector between I-580 at Point Richmond and I-80 at the Hilltop area, runs through the west of North Richmond.
North Richmond has a reputation for being extremely dangerous. It is often vilified in the media, as its citizens are often the victims or perpetrators of gang violence, shoot-outs and drive-by shootings. Drug dealing and drug possession are common. The area is also worked by crack dealers. The community has been described by county officials as a "magnet" for illegal dumping.
The community is one of the most dangerous in the state and nation.
North Richmond is next to Chevron Richmond Refinery in Richmond's Point Richmond District. The public health risks associated with emissions and chemical spills, especially of sulfur trioxide, are major concerns for the entire area. A community warning system of loud sirens is in place to warn residents of chemical spills. This warning is tested on the first Wednesday of every month, and can be heard from miles away. The Richmond dump is also in a tiny strip of Richmond that runs through North Richmond. The town is said to have an excellent climate.
The landfill pays into a mitigation fund used for community projects to offset how blight and pollution impact the town. In 2011 $56,000 were granted out of a $100,000 budget to building community gardens on vacant lots leased to the volunteer effort. The project aims to provide education and training for the cultivation and eating of healthful vegetables. The gardens will provide otherwise unavailable produce, North Richmonders must go to San Pablo or Richmond for groceries for the most part currently.
North Richmond has an extensive industrial history. Today, an important industry in this town is Action Recycling, which purchases bulk scrap metal in addition to more traditional plastics, bottles, cans, and cardboard from patrons. The community is home to many farms and greenhouses; thousands of flowers both within and surrounding these greenhouses can be seen from the Richmond Parkway.
There are very few commercial businesses in the town but there are two small grocer's and a liquor stores remaining.
A Native American tribe, the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians of Lake County, has proposed and received approval for Sugar Bowl Casino on a 28-acre (≈11 hectare) site that they have purchased. Although some local clergy have allegedly expressed feelings of disapproval, the impoverished community has generally welcomed the project as a potentially good source of revenue. The tribe's proposal includes an outreach program that focuses on the similarity between the struggles of their own people and that of African Americans.
There are currently no restaurants or markets in the town. The city of Richmond's redevelopment agency and Contra Costa County have been trying to revitalize the community's main roads, 3rd and Filbert Streets. In 2010 a thirty-six town home development was under construction to provide ultra low income housing that is planned to be kept affordable over time through a low equity scheme.
A county assessment has stated that the town is ideal for warehousing businesses due to its strategic location between Marin County, Sacramento, and the Silicon Valley in addition to its easy access to major freeways, railways, and an available workforce with affordable housing.
North Richmond is home to the Las Deltas Projects, a crime ridden and dilapidated public housing complex for 224 households. The county wishes to demolish it in favor of a mixed-income village but does not have the funds. In its current state Las Deltas puts the county $600,000 in the red every year and has a 70% vacancy rate.
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