A New York Times article deemed Oakland as a city “too late to be saved from gentrification,” and “a city that is not yet Brooklyn,” creating this image of Oakland as an undesirable and “dangerous” city. The top ten most dangerous cities according to movoto.com-- Oakland is ranked number two most dangerous, as the list encompasses cities where the demographic is predominantly people of color. The Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaaf has been quoted to make her goals “to make Oakland the least irritating government in the country”(Li, bizjournals.com) meaning that investing in housing development to make it more attractive for the bourgeois millennial. However, little is spoken about the violence surrounding the rising wave of illegal evictions in several areas in Oakland (i.e. Lake Merritt, Downtown, Temescal to name a few). Earlier in 2014, city officials passed an ordinance that allows landlords to evict suspected sex workers in addition to persons engaging in “nuisance” activities. This Nuisance Eviction Ordinance also puts people who have no precedents in risk of becoming evicted. The city has given landlords agency to criminalize individuals without due process. With the city of Oakland enabling landlords to invade privacy push out groups of becoming under no substantial grounds, and can essentially for anyone deemed a “nuisance” and undesirable by extension. Cities including Los Angeles, Long Beach and Sacramento also adopted this ordinance in September of last year.
These illegal evictions have been systematically mapped through lawsuits and the relationship between the real estate companies and the treatment of tenants in the abuse of rent control and tenant protection rights. Flynn Family Holdings LLC owns more than three thousand rental units in the Bay area, and has began investing in the Lake Merritt/Grand are. Several lawsuits have been made towards Flynn and a pattern has been found in how his firm returns rent checks for months’ time and without notice sends eviction warnings if months rent is not paid in full within a three day period. This has been a tactic used within several residents in the Lake Merritt area in order to push out residents protected under rent control who are uninformed about their rights. The city of Oakland does not do a sufficient job in sorting eviction cases and a result of this, the statistics of the number of evictions in the city are most likely unaccounted for. Is Oakland a dangerous and undesirable place to live in? These evictions cases speak otherwise and at the same time, redefine the true danger and violence committed towards targeting and pushing people of color out of communities.
A project has emerged from the increase in illegal evictions both in the San Francisco as well as the Oakland area. This mapping project called the "Anti-Eviction Mapping Project" created by Erin McElroy offers statistical formations in which people can map as well as share experiences as a result of the gentrification of neighborhoods. Through maps and digital storytelling, this project creates visual data that records the relationships between real estate, development, demographic and eviction while also creating space for narratives of displacement and resistance.