|City of Oakland|
Oakland skyline, with the old eastern span of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge in background
|Nickname(s): "Oaktown", "The Town", "Bump City" (uncommon)|
Location in Alameda County and the state of California
|Region||San Francisco Bay Area|
|Incorporated||May 4, 1852|
|• Type||Strong mayor|
|• Mayor||Libby Schaaf|
|• State senator||Loni Hancock (D)|
|• Assemblymembers||Tony Thurmond (D) and
Rob Bonta (D)
|• U. S. rep.||Barbara Lee (D)|
|• Total||78.002 sq mi (202.024 km2)|
|• Land||55.786 sq mi (144.485 km2)|
|• Water||22.216 sq mi (57.54 km2) 28.48%|
|Elevation||43 ft (13 m)|
|Population (April 1, 2010)|
|• Estimate (2013)||406,253|
|• Rank||1st in Alameda County
8th in California
45th in the United States
|• Density||5,000/sq mi (1,900/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (UTC−8)|
|• Summer (DST)||PDT (UTC−7)|
|ZIP codes||94601–94615, 94617–94624, 94649, 94659–94662, 94666|
|GNIS feature IDs||277566, 2411292|
Oakland // is a major West Coast port city in the U.S. state of California. The Port of Oakland is the busiest port for San Francisco Bay and all of Northern California. Oakland is the third largest city in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth-largest city in California, and the 45th-largest city in the U.S. with a population of 406,253 as of 2013[update]. Incorporated in 1852, Oakland is the county seat of Alameda County. It serves as a major transportation hub and trade center for the entire region and is also the principal city of the Bay Area Region known as the East Bay. The city is situated directly across the bay, six miles (9.7 km) east of San Francisco.
Oakland's territory covers what was once a mosaic of coastal terrace prairie, oak woodland, and north coastal scrub. Its land served as a rich resource when its hillside oak and redwood timber were logged to build San Francisco, and Oakland's fertile flatland soils helped it become a prolific agricultural region. In the late 1860s, Oakland was selected as the western terminal of the Transcontinental Railroad. It continued to grow in the 20th century with its busy port, shipyards, and a thriving automobile manufacturing industry. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many San Franciscans relocated to Oakland, enlarging the city's population, increasing its housing stock and improving its infrastructure.
A steady influx of immigrants during the 20th century, along with thousands of African-American war-industry workers who relocated from the Deep South during the 1940s, have made Oakland one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the country. Oakland is known for its history of political activism, as well as its professional sports franchises and major corporations, which include health care, dot-com companies and manufacturers of household products. The city is a transportation hub for the greater Bay Area, and its shipping port is the fifth busiest in the United States.
Oakland has a Mediterranean climate with an average of 260 sunny days per year. Lake Merritt, a large estuary centrally located east of Downtown, was designated the United States' first official wildlife refuge. Jack London Square, named for the author and former resident, is a tourist destination on the Oakland waterfront.
While progress has been made in reducing the city's high property crime rate, violent crime has remained a persistent problem in Oakland, although this is primarily concentrated in certain neighborhoods. Oakland is continually listed among the top cities in the United States for sustainability practices, including a No. 1 ranking for usage of electricity from renewable resources. Significant portions of Oakland suffer from severe lead contamination.
In recent years, Oakland has gained national recognition as a travel destination. In 2012, Oakland was named the top North American city to visit, highlighting its growing number of sophisticated restaurants and bars, top music venues, and increasing nightlife appeal. Oakland also took the No. 16 spot in "America's Coolest Cities," ranked by metrics like entertainment options and recreational opportunities per capita, etc. In 2013, Oakland topped the No. 1 spot in "America's Most Exciting Cities," notably having the most movie theaters, theater companies, and museums per square mile. In "America's Most Hipster Cities," Oakland took the No. 5 spot, cited for luring San Francisco "hippies" into the city.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Tourism
- 6 Professional sports
- 7 Parks and recreation
- 8 Law and government
- 9 Education
- 10 Media
- 11 Infrastructure
- 12 Notable people
- 13 Sister cities
- 14 See also
- 15 References
- 16 Further reading
- 17 External links
The earliest known inhabitants were the Huchiun, who lived there for thousands of years. The Huchiun belonged to a linguistic grouping later called the Ohlone (a Miwok word meaning "western people"). In Oakland, they were concentrated around Lake Merritt and Temescal Creek, a stream that enters the San Francisco Bay at Emeryville.
In 1772, the area that later became Oakland was claimed, with the rest of California, by Spanish settlers for the King of Spain. In the early 19th century, the Spanish crown granted the East Bay area to Luis María Peralta for his Rancho San Antonio. The grant was confirmed by the successor Mexican republic upon its independence from Spain. Upon his death in 1842, Peralta divided his land among his four sons. Most of Oakland fell within the shares given to Antonio Maria and Vicente. The portion of the parcel that is now Oakland was called encinal—Spanish for "oak grove"—due to the large oak forest that covered the area, which eventually led to the city's name.
In 1851, three men—Horace Carpentier, Edson Adams, and Andrew Moon—began developing what is now downtown Oakland. On May 4, 1852, the Town of Oakland incorporated. Two years later, on March 25, 1854, Oakland re-incorporated as the City of Oakland, with Horace Carpentier elected the first mayor, though a scandal ended his mayorship in less than a year. The city and its environs quickly grew with the railroads, becoming a major rail terminal in the late 1860s and 1870s. In 1868, the Central Pacific constructed the Oakland Long Wharf at Oakland Point, the site of today's Port of Oakland.
A number of horsecar and cable car lines were constructed in Oakland during the latter half of the 19th century. The first electric streetcar set out from Oakland to Berkeley in 1891, and other lines were converted and added over the course of the 1890s. The various streetcar companies operating in Oakland were acquired by Francis "Borax" Smith and consolidated into what eventually became known as the Key System, the predecessor of today's publicly owned AC Transit.
The original extent of Oakland, upon its incorporation, lay south of today's major intersection of San Pablo Avenue, Broadway, and Fourteenth Street. The city gradually annexed farmlands and settlements to the east and the north. Oakland's rise to industrial prominence, and its subsequent need for a seaport, led to the digging of a shipping and tidal channel in 1902, which created an island of nearby town Alameda. In 1906, its population doubled with refugees made homeless after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.
In 1916, General Motors opened a major automobile factory in East Oakland called Oakland Assembly, making Chevrolet cars and then GMC trucks until 1963, when it was moved to Fremont in southern Alameda County. Also in 1916, the Fageol Motor Company chose East Oakland for their first factory, manufacturing farming tractors from 1918 to 1923. By 1920, Oakland was the home of numerous manufacturing industries, including metals, canneries, bakeries, internal combustion engines, automobiles, and shipbuilding. By 1929, when Chrysler expanded with a new plant there, Oakland had become known as the "Detroit of the West."
Oakland expanded during the 1920s, flexing enough to meet the influx of factory workers. Approximately 13,000 homes were built between 1921 and 1924, more than between 1907 and 1920. Many of the large downtown office buildings, apartment buildings, and single-family houses still standing in Oakland were built during the 1920s; and they reflect the architectural styles of the time.
Russell Clifford Durant established Durant Field at 82nd Avenue and East 14th Street in 1916. The first transcontinental airmail flight finished its journey at Durant Field on August 9, 1920, flown by Army Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker and Navy Lt. Bert Acosta. Durant Field was often called Oakland Airport, though the current Oakland International Airport was soon established four miles (6.4 km) southwest.
During World War II, the East Bay Area was home to many war-related industries. Oakland's Moore Dry Dock Company expanded its shipbuilding capabilities and built over 100 ships. Valued at $100 million in 1943, Oakland's canning industry was its second-most-valuable war contribution after shipbuilding. The largest canneries were in the Fruitvale District and included the Josiah Lusk Canning Company, the Oakland Preserving Company (which started the Del Monte brand), and the California Packing Company. The war attracted tens of thousands of laborers from around the country, though most were poor whites and blacks from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas—sharecroppers and tenant farmers who had been recruited by Henry J. Kaiser to work in his shipyards. These immigrants from the Jim Crow South brought their racial attitudes with them, and the racial harmony that Oakland blacks had been accustomed to prior to the war evaporated. Also migrating to the area during this time were many Mexican Americans from southwestern states such as New Mexico, Texas, and Colorado, many working for the Southern Pacific Railroad, at its major rail yard in West Oakland. Oakland experienced its own "zoot suit riots" in downtown Oakland in 1943 in the wake of the one in Los Angeles.
In 1946 National City Lines (NCL), a General Motors holding company, acquired 64% of Key System stock; during the next several years NCL engaged in the conspiratorial dissolution of Oakland's electric streetcar system, where the city's electric streetcar fleet was converted to diesel buses. The state Legislature created the Alameda and Contra Costa Transit District in 1955, which still exists today as AC Transit, the third-largest bus-only transit system in the nation.
Soon after the war, with the disappearance of Oakland's shipbuilding industry and the decline of its automobile industry, jobs became scarce. There was also an increase in racial tension. Oakland was the center of a general strike during the first week of December 1946, one of six cities across the country that experienced such a strike after World War II.
In 1960, Kaiser Corporation erected its headquarters; it was the largest skyscraper in Oakland, as well as "the largest office tower west of Chicago" up to that time. In 1966, only 16 of the city's 661 police officers were black. Tensions between the black community and the largely white police force were high, and police malfeasance against blacks was common. The Black Panther Party was founded by students Huey Newton and Bobby Seale at Merritt College. During the 1970s, Oakland began to experience serious problems with gang-controlled dealing of heroin and cocaine when drug kingpin Felix Mitchell created the nation's first large-scale operation of this kind. Both violent crime and property crime increased during this period, and Oakland's murder rate rose to twice that of San Francisco or New York City.
As in many other American cities during the 1980s, crack cocaine became a serious problem in Oakland. Drug dealing in general, and the dealing of crack cocaine in particular, resulted in elevated rates of violent crime, causing Oakland to consistently be listed as one of America's most crime-ridden cities. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Oakland's black population reached its peak at approximately 47% of the overall population.
On October 20, 1991, a massive firestorm swept down from the Berkeley Hills above the Caldecott Tunnel. Twenty-five people were killed, 150 people were injured, and nearly 4,000 homes destroyed. With the loss of life and an estimated economic loss of $1.5 billion, this was the worst urban firestorm in American history. During the mid-1990s, Oakland experienced an improved economy compared to previous decades, with large development and urban renewal projects, concentrated especially in the downtown area, at the Port of Oakland and at the Oakland International Airport.
The Loma Prieta earthquake, a rupture of the San Andreas fault that affected the entire San Francisco Bay Area, occurred on October 17, 1989. The quake's surface wave measured 6.9 on the Richter magnitude scale, and many structures in Oakland were badly damaged. The double-decker portion of the Interstate 880 freeway structure collapsed. A section of the eastern span of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge also collapsed and was closed to traffic for one month.
After his 1999 inauguration, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown continued his predecessor Elihu Harris' public policy of supporting downtown housing development in the area defined as the Central Business District in Oakland's 1998 General Plan. Brown's plan and other redevelopment projects were controversial due to potential rent increases and gentrification, which would displace lower-income residents from downtown Oakland into outlying neighborhoods and cities. Further hampering Oakland's economic recovery were the economic crises in 2001 and 2008. These downturns resulted in lowered sales, rentals and occupancy of the new housing and slower growth and economic recovery than expected.
Due to allegations of misconduct by the Oakland Police Department, the City of Oakland has paid claims for a total of $57 million during the 2001–2011 timeframe to plaintiffs claiming police abuse—the largest sum of any city in California. On October 10, 2011, protesters and civic activists began "Occupy Oakland" demonstrations at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Downtown Oakland.
Oakland is on the east side of San Francisco Bay; in 1991 the City Hall tower was at (NAD83). (The building still exists, but like the rest of the Bay Area it has shifted northwest perhaps 0.6 meter in the last twenty years.)
The United States Census Bureau says the city's total area is 78.0 square miles (202 km2), including 55.8 square miles (145 km2) of land and 22.2 square miles (57 km2) (28.48 percent) of water.
Oakland's highest point is near Grizzly Peak Blvd, east of Berkeley, just over 1,760 feet (540 m) above sea level at about . Oakland has 19 miles (31 km) of shoreline, but Radio Beach is the only beach in Oakland.
Oaklanders refer to their city's terrain as "the flatlands" and "the hills", which until recent waves of gentrification have also been a reference to Oakland's deep economic divide, with "the hills" being more affluent communities. About two-thirds of Oakland lies in the flat plain of the East Bay, with one-third rising into the foothills and hills of the East Bay range.
Oakland has more than 50 distinct neighborhoods. The greater divisions in the city include downtown Oakland and its greater Central Business District, Lake Merritt, East Oakland, North Oakland, West Oakland, and the Oakland Hills. East Oakland, which includes the East Oakland Hills, encompasses more than half of Oakland's land area, stretching from Lakeshore Avenue on the east shore of Lake Merritt southeast to the San Leandro border. North Oakland encompasses the neighborhoods between downtown and Berkeley and Emeryville. West Oakland is the area between downtown and the Bay, partially surrounded by the Oakland Point, and encompassing the Port of Oakland. In 2011, Oakland was ranked the 10th most walkable city in the United States.
Lake Merritt, an urban estuary near downtown, is a mix of fresh and salt water draining in and out from the Oakland Harbor at the San Francisco Bay and one of Oakland's most notable features. It was designated the United States' first official wildlife refuge in 1870. Originally a marsh-lined wildlife haven, Lake Merritt was dredged and bordered with parks from the 1890s to the 1910s. Despite this reduction in habitat, Oakland is home to a number of rare and endangered species, many of which are localized to serpentine soils and bedrock. Lake Merritt is surrounded by residential and business districts, including downtown and Grand Lake.
The city of Piedmont, incorporated in Oakland's central foothills after the 1906 earthquake, is a small independent city surrounded by the city of Oakland.
Climate and vegetation
Based on data gathered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Oakland is ranked No. 1 in climate among U.S. cities. Oakland's climate is typified by the temperate and seasonal Mediterranean climate. Summers are usually dry and warm and winters are mild and damp. More specifically, it has features found in both nearby coastal cities such as San Francisco and inland cities such as San Jose, making it warmer than San Francisco and cooler than San Jose. Its position on San Francisco Bay across from the Bay Bridge means that the Northern part of the city can experience cooling maritime fog. It is far enough inland, though, that the fog often burns off by midday, allowing it to have typically sunny California days. The hills tend to have more fog than the flatlands, as the fog drifts down from Berkeley.
The U.S. Weather Bureau kept weather records in downtown Oakland from October 4, 1894, to July 31, 1958. During that time, the record high temperature was 104 °F (40 °C) on June 24, 1957, and the record low temperature was 24 °F (−4 °C) on January 23, 1949. Dry, warm offshore "Diablo" winds (similar to the Santa Ana winds of Southern California) sometimes occur, especially in fall, and raise the fire danger. In 1991, such an episode allowed the catastrophic Oakland Hills fire to spread and consume many homes. The wettest year was 1940 with 38.65 inches (982 mm) and the driest year was 1910 with 12.02 inches (305 mm). The most rainfall in one month was 15.35 inches (390 mm) in January 1911. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 4.27 inches (108 mm) on February 12, 1904. Rainfall near the bayfront is only 23 inches per year, but is higher in the Oakland Hills to the east (up to 30 inches).
The higher rainfall in the hills supports woods of oak, madrone, pine, fir and a few redwood groves in the wetter areas. Before being logged in the 19th century, some of the tallest redwood trees in California (even used for navigation by ships entering the Golden Gate) may have stood in the Oakland Hills. One old stump 30 feet across can still be seen near Redwood Regional Park. Sunny, drier slopes are grassy or covered in scattered oaks and chaparral brush. Australian eucalyptus trees have been extensively planted in many areas.
|Climate data for Oakland Museum (1981–2010 normals)|
|Record high °F (°C)||78
|Average high °F (°C)||58.1
|Average low °F (°C)||44.3
|Record low °F (°C)||30
|Average rainfall inches (mm)||4.65
|Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 in)||10.8||10.7||10.3||5.6||3.4||1.0||0.1||0.4||1.2||3.5||7.9||10.4||65.3|
|Source: NOAA (extremes 1970–present)|
Ruptures along the nearby San Andreas fault caused severe earth movement in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1906 and 1989. San Andreas quakes induces creep (movement occurring on earthquake faults) in the Hayward fault, which runs directly through Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose and other Bay Area cities. In 1991, an urban conflagration, the Oakland Hills Fire, destroyed nearly 4,000 homes and killed twenty five people in the Oakland hills range; it was the worst urban firestorm in American history.
|U.S. Decennial Census
Race and ethnicity
|Black or African American||28.0%||43.9%||34.5%||2.8%|
|Hispanic or Latino (of any race)||25.4%||13.9%||7.6%||n/a|
The 2010 United States Census reported that Oakland had a population of 390,724. The population density was 5,009.2 people per square mile (1,934.0/km²). The racial makeup of Oakland was 134,925 (34.5%) White (non-Hispanic White 25.9%), 109,471 (28.0%) African American, 3,040 (0.8%) Native American, 65,811 (16.8%) Asian (8.7% Chinese, 2.2% Vietnamese, 1.6% Filipino, 0.7% Cambodian, 0.7% Laotian, 0.6% Korean, 0.5% Japanese, 0.5% Indian, 0.1% Mongolian), 2,222 (0.6%) Pacific Islander (0.3% Tongan), 53,378 (13.7%) from other races, and 21,877 (5.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 99,068 persons (25.4%). 18.1% of the population were of Mexican descent, 1.9% Salvadoran, 1.3% Guatemalan, and 0.7% Puerto Rican.
Educational attainment and income
Oakland has the fifth largest cluster of "elite zip codes" ranked by the number of households with the highest combination of income and education. 37.9% of residents over 25 years of age have bachelor's degree or higher. Oakland ranked among the top cities with residents with bachelor degrees and graduate degrees per square mile.
Oakland ranks in the top 20 of American cities in median household income, with a 2012 value of $51,863. In 2012, the median income for a household in the city was $51,863 and the median income for a family was $59,459. The mean income for a household was $77,888 and the mean income for a family was $90,948. Males had a median income of $50,140 versus $50,304 for females. The unemployment rate as of December 2013 was 9.7%.
In 2008 the median income for a household in the city was $48,596 and the median income for a family was $55,949. Males had a median income of $46,383 versus $44,690 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,094. In 2007 approximately 15.3 percent of families and 17.0 percent of the general population were below the poverty line, including 27.9 percent of those under age 18 and 13.1 percent of those age 65 or over. 0.7% of the population is homeless. Home ownership is 41% and 14% of rental units are subsidized. The unemployment rate as of August 2009 is 15.2%.
As of the census of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $40,055, and the median income for a family was $44,384. Males had a median income of $37,433 versus $35,088 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,936. 19.4% of the population and 16.2% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 27.9% of those under the age of 18 and 13.1% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.
The census reported that 382,586 people (97.9% of the population) lived in households, 5,675 (1.5%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 2,463 (0.6%) were institutionalized.
There were 153,791 households, out of which 44,762 (29.1%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 50,797 (33.0%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 24,122 (15.7%) had a female householder with no husband present, 8,799 (5.7%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 11,289 (7.3%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 3,442 (2.2%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 52,103 households (33.9%) were made up of individuals and 13,778 (9.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49. There were 83,718 families (54.4% of all households); the average family size was 3.27.
The population was spread out with 83,120 people (21.3%) under the age of 18, 36,272 people (9.3%) aged 18 to 24, 129,139 people (33.1%) aged 25 to 44, 98,634 people (25.2%) aged 45 to 64, and 43,559 people (11.1%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.2 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
There were 169,710 housing units at an average density of 2,175.7 per square mile (840.0/km²), of which 63,142 (41.1%) were owner-occupied, and 90,649 (58.9%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 8.5%. 166,662 people (42.7% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 215,924 people (55.3%) lived in rental housing units.
Shifting of cultures
Oakland is one of the most ethnically diverse major cities in the country. Oakland was ranked the 4th most diverse city in America, with an overall diversity score of 91.4. The city's formerly most populous ethnic group, whites, declined from 95.3% in 1940 to 32.5% by 1990. Since the 1960s, Oakland has been known as a center of Northern California's African-American community. However, between 2000 and 2010 Oakland lost nearly one-fourth of its black population. The city demographics have changed due to a combination of gentrification, along with many blacks relocating to Bay Area suburbs, or moving to the Southern United States. Blacks formed a strong plurality for many years, peaking in 1980 at about 47% of the population of Oakland.
Black residents maintained their status as Oakland's single largest ethnic group as of 2010, forming 27% of the population, followed by non-Hispanic whites at 25.9%, and Hispanics of any race at 25.4%.
Recent trends and cultural shifts have led to a decline among some of Oakland's longstanding black institutions, such as churches, businesses, and nightclubs, which has been a point of contention for some long-time black residents.
An analysis by the Urban Institute of U.S. Census 2000 numbers showed that Oakland had the third-highest concentration of gays and lesbians among the 50 largest U.S. cities, behind San Francisco and Seattle. Census data showed that, among incorporated places that have at least 500 female couples, Oakland had the nation's largest proportion. In 2000, Oakland counted 2,650 lesbian couples; one in every 41 Oakland couples listed themselves as a same-sex female partnership.
Oakland is a major West Coast port, and the fifth busiest in the United States by cargo volume. The Port of Oakland handles 99% of all containerized goods moving through Northern California, representing $41 billion worth of international trade. There are nearly 200,000 jobs related to marine cargo transport in the Oakland area. These jobs range from minimum wage hourly positions to Transportation Storage and Distribution Managers who earn an annual average salary of $91,520. The Port of Oakland was an early innovator/pioneer in the technologies of Intermodal Containerized Shipping. The city is also home to several major corporations including Kaiser Permanente and Clorox, as well as the corporate headquarters for national brands such as Dreyer's ice cream, and retailer Cost Plus World Markets. Tech companies such as Ask.com and Pandora Radio are located in Oakland, and in recent years many start-up high tech and green energy companies have found a home in the downtown neighborhoods of Uptown, City Center, Jack London Square and Lake Merritt Financial District. In 2014, Oakland was the fifth ranked city for tech entrepreneurs by total venture capital investment.
As of 2013, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward has a GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of $360.4 billion, ranking eighth among metropolitan areas in the United States. In 2014, Oakland was amongst the best cities to start a career, the highest ranked city in California after San Francisco. Additionally, Oakland ranked fourth in cities with professional opportunities. Numerous companies in San Francisco continue to expand in or migrate over to Oakland.
Oakland experienced an increase of both its population and of land values in the early-to-mid first decade of the 21st century. The 10k Plan, which began during former mayor Elihu Harris' administration, and intensified during former mayor Jerry Brown's administration resulted in several thousand units of new multi-family housing and development.
As of 2014, the top employers in the city were:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Oakland Unified School District||7,664|
|2||County of Alameda||6,428|
|3||Alta Bates Summit Medical Center||5,110|
|4||Kaiser Permanente Medical Center||4,793|
|5||City of Oakland||4,095|
|6||California State Transportation Dept.||3,500|
|7||Bay Area Rapid Transit||3,230|
|8||East Bay Municipal Utility District||3,000|
|9||Alameda Health System||2,800|
In 2013, over 2.5 million people visited Oakland, injecting US$1.3 billion into the economy. Oakland has been experiencing an increase in hotel demand. Occupancy is 74%, while RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room) increased by 14%, the highest increase of any big city in the western region of the United States. Both Oakland and San Francisco were forecasted to experience the highest increases in ADR (Average daily rate).
Arts and culture
Oakland has a significant art scene and claims the highest concentration of artists per capita in the United States. In 2013, Oakland was designated as one of America's top twelve art communities, recognizing Downtown (including Uptown), Chinatown, Old Oakland, and Jack London Square as communities "that have most successfully combine art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods."  Galleries exist in various parts of Oakland, with the newest additions centered mostly in the Uptown area. Oakland ranked 11th in cities for designers and artists. The city offers a wide variety of cuisine in restaurants and markets, often featuring locally grown produce and international foods that reflect the city's ethnically diverse population. Historically a focal point of the West Coast blues and jazz scenes, Oakland is also home to musicians representing such genres as rhythm and blues, gospel, funk, punk, heavy metal, Rap/Gangsta rap, and hip hop.
Downtown Oakland has an assortment of bars and nightclubs. They include dive bars, dance clubs, modern lounges and jazz bars. The Paramount Theater features headlining musical tours and productions, while Fox Oakland Theatre draws various musical genres including jam bands, rock, punk, blues, jazz, and reggae. The Paramount and Fox theaters often book simultaneous events, creating busy nights uptown. In 2012, Oakland was dubbed a "New Sin City", following its 2010 decision to relax its cabaret laws, which gave a boost to its nightclub and bar scene.
Recent years have seen the growth of the Oakland Art Murmur event, occurring in the Uptown neighborhood the first Friday evening of every month. The event attracts around 20,000 people along twenty city blocks, featuring live performances, food trucks, and over 30 galleries and venues.
"There is no there there"
Gertrude Stein wrote about Oakland in her 1937 book Everybody's Autobiography: "There is no there there," Stein wrote on learning that the neighborhood where she lived as a child had been torn down to make way for an industrial park. The quote is sometimes misconstrued to refer to Oakland as a whole.
Modern-day Oakland has turned the quote on its head, with a statue downtown simply titled "There." Additionally, in 2005 a sculpture called HERETHERE was installed by the City of Berkeley on the Berkeley-Oakland border at Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The sculpture consists of eight-foot-tall letters spelling "HERE" and "THERE" in front of the BART tracks as they descend from their elevated section in Oakland to the subway through Berkeley.
Oakland has teams in three professional sports: Baseball, basketball, and football. The Oakland Athletics MLB club won three consecutive World Series championships in 1972, 1973, and 1974, and appeared in another three consecutive World Series from 1988 to 1990, winning their fourth championship in 1989. The Golden State Warriors won the 1974–1975 NBA championship. The Oakland Raiders of the NFL won Super Bowl XI in 1977 and Super Bowl XV in 1981, while also appearing in Super Bowl II in 1968 and Super Bowl XXXVII in 2003. The Raiders left Oakland for Los Angeles in 1982, where they won a third Super Bowl championship, and returned to Oakland in 1995. The Warriors announced in April 2014 that they will leave Oakland once their new arena is built across the Bay in San Francisco, while the Raiders are in discussion with city officials about building a new football-only stadium.
|Oakland Athletics||Baseball||1901 (in Oakland since 1968)||Major League Baseball: American League. AL West||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum|
|Oakland Raiders||Football||1960 (in Los Angeles from 1982–1994)||National Football League: American Conference, AFC West||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum|
|Golden State Warriors||Basketball||1946 (In Oakland since 1971)||National Basketball Association: Western Conference, Pacific Division||Oracle Arena|
Oakland's former sports teams include:
- Oakland Oaks, Pacific Coast League of Baseball, 1903–1955. (The Oaks played at Oaks Park in Emeryville after 1912.)
- Oakland Larks, West Coast Negro Baseball League, 1946.
- Oakland Hornets, member of American Football League (1944)
- Oakland Oaks, American Basketball League, 1962.
- Oakland Oaks, American Basketball Association, 1967–1969.
- Oakland Seals, National Hockey League, 1967–1976.
- Oakland Clippers, North American Soccer League, 1968.
- Oakland Stompers, North American Soccer League, 1978.
- Oakland Invaders, United States Football League, 1983–1985.
- Oakland Skates, Roller Hockey International, 1993–1996.
- Oakland Slammers, International Basketball League, 2005–2006.
Parks and recreation
Oakland has many parks and recreation centers which total 5,937 acres (2,403 ha). In its 2013 ParkScore ranking, The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization, reported that Oakland had the 18th best park system among the 50 most populous U.S. cities. In 2013, Oakland ranked 4th among American cities as an urban destination for nature lovers.
Some of the city's most notable parks include:
- Joaquin Miller Park
- Joseph Knowland State Arboretum and Park, home of the Oakland Zoo
- Lake Merritt
- Morcom Rose Garden best from July through October
- Mosswood Park
- Peralta Hacienda Historical Park, headquarters of the Peralta rancho, Rancho San Antonio
- William Joseph McInnes Botanic Garden and Campus Arboretum, located on the Mills College campus
Additionally, the following seven East Bay Regional Parks are located entirely or partially in the city of Oakland:
- Anthony Chabot Regional Park
- Huckleberry Botanic Regional Preserve
- Leona Canyon Regional Open Space Preserve
- Redwood Regional Park
- Robert Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve
- Roberts Regional Recreation Area
- Temescal Regional Park
Places of worship
Some of the most prominent places of worship in Oakland include: First Congregational Church of Oakland, Evangelistic Outreach Center, Green Pastures, the Presbyterian, First Presbyterian Church of Oakland; Greek Orthodox Ascension Cathedral; the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Christ the Light; the United Methodist Chinese Community Church; the Unitarian First Unitarian Church; the Mormon Oakland California Temple; the Muslim, 31st Street Islamic Center, Light-House Mosque; the Reform Jewish Temple Sinai; the Conservative Jewish, Temple Beth Abraham; Allen Temple Baptist Church; and the Orthodox Jewish, Beth Jacob Congregation, American Baptist; Faith Baptist Church of Oakland, St. Paul Lutheran, six Kingdom Halls of Jehovah's Witnesses and St. Vartan Armenian Apostolic Church.
Law and government
Oakland has a mayor-council government. The mayor is elected for a four-year term. The Oakland City Council has eight council members representing seven districts in Oakland with one member elected at-large; council members serve staggered four-year terms. The mayor appoints a city administrator, subject to the confirmation by the City Council, who is the chief administrative officer of the city. Other city officers include: city attorney (elected), city auditor (elected), and city clerk (appointed by city administrator). Oakland's mayor is limited to two terms. There are no term limits for the city council. Council member Larry Reid, also serving as vice-mayor, was elected to a fifth term in November 2012.
Oakland is also part of Alameda County, for which the Government of Alameda County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution, California law, and the Charter of the County of Alameda. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. The County government is primarily composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors, other elected offices including the Sheriff/Coroner, the District Attorney, Assessor, Auditor-Controller/County Clerk/Recorder, and Treasurer/Tax Collector, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the County Administrator.
In the California State Legislature, Oakland is in the 9th Senate District, represented by Democrat Loni Hancock, and is split between the 15th and 18th Assembly districts, represented by Tony Thurmond and Rob Bonta, respectively. In the United States House of Representatives, Oakland is in California's 13th congressional district, represented by Democrat Barbara Lee.
Oakland was politically conservative from the 1860s to the 1950s, led by the Republican-oriented Oakland Tribune newspaper. In the 1950s and '60s, the majority stance shifted to favor liberal policies and the Democratic Party. Oakland has by far the highest percentage of registered Democrats of any of the incorporated cities in Alameda County. As of 2009, Oakland has 204,646 registered voters, and 140,858 (68.8%) are registered Democrats, 12,248 (5.9%) are registered Republicans, and 41,109 (20.1%) decline to state a political affiliation. Oakland is widely regarded as being one of the most liberal major cities in the nation. The Cook Partisan Voting Index of Congressional District 13, which includes Oakland and Berkeley, is D+37, making it the fourth most Democratic congressional district in the US.
Oakland's crime rate began to escalate during the late 1960s, and by the end of the 1970s Oakland's per capita murder rate had risen to twice that of its neighbor city, San Francisco, or that of New York City. The rise in crime may have been an effect of the different method that was used to deal with rebellious youth. Prior to 1960, there were successful government funded social programs, where workers would work in neighborhoods searching for rebellious teens to enter them in youth centers that would be able to teach them proper values and improve their behavior. However, by the late 1960s,the police and Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI) used military tactics to manage unwanted behavior, that then led to an increase in crime and imprisonment. During the first decade of the 21st century Oakland has consistently been listed as one of the most dangerous large cities in the United States. Until 2010 the homicide rate dropped four times in a row, and violent crime in general had dropped 27%. Violent crime in general, and homicides in particular, increased during 2011. In 2012 Oakland reported 131 homicides, the highest since 2006 (when there were 148 recorded). In 2013, there was a 33% decrease in homicides, allowing Oakland to record its lowest homicide count since 2004. Aggravated assaults were down 10% and rapes declined by 27%, reaching its lowest level in eight years. In the first quarter of 2014, homicides, aggravated assaults, and burglaries were down 15% relative to 2013. Additionally, shootings were down 31% and robberies were down 36%.
Oakland's police force has dropped to 612 officers, down from more than 800 in 2009, and far below the 925 recommended by the city's strategic plan, but Oakland recently started to rebuild its force by hiring more often and recently graduating 34 officers. Although the police department's resources have been diminishing, according to former Police Chief Howard Jordan the Oakland Police Department is committed to improved public safety by increasing police presence during peak crime hours, improving intelligence gathering, and moving more aggressively to arrest violent crime suspects.
Among Oakland's 35 police patrol beats, violent crime remains a serious problem in specific East and West Oakland neighborhoods. In 2008, homicides were disproportionately concentrated: 72% occurred in three City Council districts, District 3 in West Oakland and Districts 6 and 7 in East Oakland, even though these districts represent only 44% of Oakland's residents.
In 2012, Oakland implemented a gang violence reduction plan used previously in other cities, Operation Ceasefire, based in part on the research and strategies of author David M. Kennedy.
Primary and secondary education
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Most public schools in Oakland are operated by the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), which covers the entire city of Oakland; due to financial troubles and administrative failures, it has been in receivership by the state of California since 2002. The Oakland Unified School District (2006–2007) includes 59 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, 19 high schools, with 9 alternative education schools and programs, 4 adult education schools and early childhood education centers at most of the elementary schools There are 46,000 K–12 students, 32,000 adult students, and 6,000 plus employees. In the 2005 results of the STAR testing, over 50 percent of students taking the test performed "below basic," while only 20 percent performed at least "proficient" on the English section of the test. Some individual schools have much better performance than the city-wide average, for instance, in 2005 over half the students at Hillcrest Elementary School in the Montclair upper hills neighborhood performed at the "advanced" level in the English portion of the test, and students at Lincoln Elementary School in the Chinatown neighborhood performed at the "advanced" level in the math portion.
Oakland's three largest public high schools are Oakland High School, Oakland Technical High School, and Skyline High School. Oakland Tech has various academies, including its much renowned Engineering Academy, which sent more girls to MIT in 2007 than any other public school west of the Mississippi. There are also numerous small public high schools within Castlemont Community of Small Schools, Fremont Federation of High Schools, and McClymonds Educational Complex, all of which were once single, larger public high schools that were reorganized due to poor performance (Castlemont High School, Fremont High School, and McClymonds High School, respectively).
25 public charter schools with 5,887 students operate outside the domain of OUSD. One, North Oakland Community Charter School (NOCCS), an elementary and middle school, is one of the few public progressive schools in the country. Lionel Wilson College Prep Academy and Oakland Unity High School have been certified by the California Charter Schools Association. Other charter schools include the Oakland Military Institute, Oakland School for the Arts, Bay Area Technology School, and Oakland Charter Academy.
There are several private high schools including the secular The College Preparatory School and Head-Royce School, and the Catholic Bishop O'Dowd High School, Holy Names High School and St. Elizabeth High School. Catholic schools in Oakland are operated by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland also include eight K–8 schools (plus one in Piedmont on the Oakland city border). Northern Light School is a private nonprofit elementary and middle school. Bentley School is an Independent Co-educational K–12, college preparatory school, located on two campuses in Oakland and Lafayette, California.
Colleges and universities
Accredited colleges and universities include:
- Oakland is also the home of the headquarters of the University of California system, the University of California Office of the President.
In 2001, the SFSU Oakland Multimedia Center was opened, allowing San Francisco State University to conduct classes near downtown Oakland. The Oakland Higher Education Consortium and the City of Oakland's Community and Economic Development Agency (CEDA) opened the Oakland Higher Education Center downtown in 2002 to provide "access to multiple higher education service providers within a shared urban facility." Member schools include primary user California State University, East Bay as well as Lincoln University, New College of California, Saint Mary's College of California, SFSU Multimedia Studies Program, UC Berkeley Extension, University of Phoenix and Peralta Community College District.
Oakland is served by major television stations broadcasting primarily out of San Francisco and San Jose. The region's Fox affiliate, KTVU, is based in (and licensed to) Oakland at Jack London Square along with co-owned independent station KICU-TV (licensed to San Jose). In addition, the city is served by various AM and FM radio stations as well; AM stations KKSF, KMKY, KNEW and KQKE are licensed to Oakland.
Oakland is served by the Oakland Tribune, which published its first newspaper on February 21, 1874. The Tribune Tower, which features a large clock, is an Oakland landmark. At key times throughout the day (8:00 am, noon and 5:00 pm), the clock tower carillon plays a variety of classic melodies, which change daily. In 2007, the Oakland Tribune moved its offices from the tower to an East Oakland location, before folding in 2011.
The East Bay Express, a locally owned free weekly paper, is based in Jack London Square and distributed throughout the East Bay.
Air and rail
Oakland residents have access to the three major airports of the San Francisco Bay Area: Oakland International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, and San Jose International Airport. Oakland International Airport, located within the city limits of Oakland, is 4 mi (6.4 km) south of downtown Oakland and serves domestic and international destinations. AC Transit provides 24-hour service to the airport, and the Coliseum–Oakland International Airport line automated guideway transit provides frequent service between the airport and BART's Oakland Coliseum Station.
The city has regional and long distance passenger train service provided by Amtrak, with stations located near Jack London Square and the Oakland Coliseum. Amtrak's California Zephyr has its western terminus at the nearby Emeryville station.
Historically, the city was served by several train companies, which terminated in different terminals. Santa Fe trains terminated at the 40th and San Pablo station. Southern Pacific trains ended at the 16th Street Station. Western Pacific trains ended at the 3rd and Washington station. However, a common feature was that the different railroads continued one more stop to a station at Oakland Pier. From this latter point passengers would ride ferries to San Francisco.
Mass transit and bicycling
The most recent census data compiled in 2007 before gasoline price spikes in 2008, show 24.3 percent of Oaklanders used public transportation, walked or used "other means" to commute to work, not including telecommuting, with 17 percent of Oakland households being "car free" and or statistically categorized as having "no vehicles available."
Bus transit service in Oakland and the inner East Bay is provided by the Alameda and Contra Costa Transit District, AC Transit. The district originated in 1958 after the conspiratorial dissolution of the Key System of streetcars. Many AC Transit lines follow old routes of the Key System.
The metropolitan area is served by Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) from eight stations in Oakland. The system has headquarters in Oakland, with major transfer hubs at MacArthur and 19th Street stations. BART's headquarters was located in a building above the Lake Merritt BART station until 2006, when it relocated to the Kaiser Center due to seismic safety concerns.
The Alameda / Oakland Ferry operates ferry service from Jack London Square to Alameda, San Francisco, and Angel Island. Oakland licenses taxi cabs, and has zoned cab stands in its downtown, including a bicycle pedi-cab service.
The Oakland City Council adopted a Bicycle Master Plan in 1999 as a part of the Land Use and Transportation (LUTE) element of Oakland's 1998 General Plan. In addition, the Oakland City Council reaffirmed the bike plan in 2005 and 2007. Several miles of bike lanes were created as a result of the plan, with more awaiting funding. Facilities for parking thousands of bicycles have been installed downtown and in other commercial districts throughout Oakland. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey, Oakland moved into 7th place in the nation by percentage of people that choose to commute by bike in 2011.
Bridges, freeways, and tunnels
Oakland is served by several major highways: Eastbound Bay Bridge traffic entering Oakland then splits into three freeways at the MacArthur Maze freeway interchange: Interstate 580 (MacArthur Freeway) heads southeast toward Hayward and eventually to the California Central Valley; Interstate 880 (Nimitz Freeway) runs south to San Jose; and the Eastshore Freeway (Interstate 80/I-580) runs north, providing connections to Sacramento and San Rafael, respectively. Interstate 980 (Williams Freeway) begins its eastbound journey at I-880 in Downtown Oakland before turning into State Route 24 (Grove Shafter Freeway) at I-580. State Route 13 begins as the Warren Freeway at I-580, and runs through a scenic valley in the Montclair District before entering Berkeley. A stub of a planned freeway was constructed at the High Street exit from the Nimitz Freeway, but that freeway extension plan was abandoned.
In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake caused the Cypress Street Viaduct double-deck segment of the Nimitz Freeway to collapse, killing 42 people. The old freeway segment had passed through the middle of West Oakland, forming a barrier between West Oakland neighborhoods. Following the earthquake, this section was rerouted around the perimeter of West Oakland and rebuilt in 1999. The east span of the San Francisco – Oakland Bay Bridge also suffered damage from the quake when a 50-foot (15-m) section of the upper deck collapsed onto the lower deck; the damaged section was repaired within a month of the earthquake. As a result of Loma Prieta, a significant seismic retrofit was performed on the western span of the Bay Bridge. The eastern span is currently being replaced, with a projected completion date of 2014.
Two underwater tunnels, the Webster and Posey Tubes, connect the main island of Alameda to downtown Oakland, coming above ground in Chinatown. In addition, the Park Street, Fruitvale, and High Street bridges connect Alameda to East Oakland over the Oakland Estuary.
In the hills, the Leimert Bridge crosses Dimond Canyon, connecting the Oakmore neighborhood to Park Boulevard. The Caldecott Tunnel carries Highway 24 through the Berkeley Hills, connecting central Contra Costa County to Oakland. The Caldecott has four bores.
Freight service, which consists primarily of moving shipping containers to and from the Port of Oakland, is provided today by Union Pacific Railroad (UP), and to a lesser extent by BNSF Railway (which now shares the tracks of the UP between Richmond and Oakland).
Historically, Oakland was served by several railroads. Besides the transcontinental line of the Southern Pacific, there was also the Santa Fe (whose Oakland terminal was actually in Emeryville), the Western Pacific Railroad (who built a pier adjacent to the SP's), and the Sacramento Northern Railroad (eventually absorbed by the Western Pacific, which in turn was absorbed by UP in 1983).
As one of the three major ports on the West Coast of the United States, the Port of Oakland is the largest seaport on San Francisco Bay and the fifth busiest container port in the United States. It was one of the earliest seaports to switch to containerization and to intermodal container transfer, thereby displacing the Port of San Francisco, which never modernized its waterfront. One of the earlier limitations to growth was the inability to transfer containers to rail lines, all cranes historically operating between ocean vessels and trucks. In the 1980s the Port of Oakland began the evaluation of development of an intermodal container transfer capability, i.e. facilities that now allow trans-loading of containers from vessels to either trucks or rail modes.
Water and sewage treatment are provided by East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD). Pacific Gas and Electric Company provides natural gas and electricity service. Municipal garbage collection is franchised to Waste Management, Inc. Telecommunications and subscriber television services are provided by multiple private corporations and other service providers in accordance with the competitive objectives of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Oakland tops the list of the 50 largest US cities using electricity from renewable sources.
Originating in Oakland, Kaiser Permanente, is an HMO started in 1942, during World War II, by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser to provide medical care for Kaiser Shipyards workers. It is the largest managed care organization in the United States and the largest non-governmental health care provider in the world. It is headquartered at 1950 Franklin Street in Downtown Oakland and maintains a large medical center in the Piedmont Avenue neighborhood.
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, an East Bay hospital system, maintains its Summit Campus in the neighborhood known as "Pill Hill" north of downtown. Until 2000, it was the Summit Medical Center before merging with Berkeley-based Alta Bates. All campuses now operate under the Sutter Health network.
Alameda County Medical Center is operated by the county and provides medical services to county residents, including the medically indigent who do not have health insurance. The main campus, Highland Hospital in East Oakland, is the trauma center for the northern area of the East Bay.
Children's Hospital Oakland is the primary medical center specializing in pediatrics in the East Bay. It is a designated Level I pediatric trauma center, and the only independent children's hospital in Northern California.
|Country||City||Year of Partnership|
|Cuba||Santiago de Cuba||2000|
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- List of cities and towns in California
- List of cities and towns in the San Francisco Bay Area
- List of mayors of Oakland, California
- List of tallest buildings in Oakland, California
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