The good olde days of 1999 are long gone, Chris Daly’s war on Mission gentrification is over—“La Mission” lost and the gentrifying forces of decades past are moving back—and the neighborhood’s transition towards Noe Valley is cemented (hell, realtors are already carving up the neighborhood). With rising rents, a fleeing art scene and neighborhood concerns shifting towards public drinking, the same types of bleeding-edge cool that made the Mission accessible in the late-80s/early-90s are packing up their bags and settling in all parts of Oakland (this very blog has lost two contributors to Oakland in recent months). Well, according to THE OAKBOOK, Oakland is now experiencing the same gentrification woes that the Mission experienced during the dot-com boom:
[Moving into West Oakland is] a trend that started earlier in parts of North Oakland - young white families or singles moving into neighborhoods that had been predominately black or Latino. Gentrification is usually derided by people who are concerned the old residents are being pushed out of their neighborhoods. The fact that parts of West Oakland are being transformed is particularly striking because the area has been the heart and soul of Oakland’s African American community, historically and culturally.
It also speaks to a citywide trend - the dramatically decreasing African American population. From its peak as 47 percent of the population in 1980, the proportion has dropped to 29.8 percent, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey in 2006 -08. Between 2000 and 2008, 34,000 African Americans left the city, the largest exodus in Oakland’s history. It would seem that Oakland’s days as a predominately black city, with the attendant influence on politics and culture, are numbered.
That’s right, young white people, in search of cheaper rents, better street art and music (I mean, Third Eye Blind vs. E-40 COMEON), are throwing their hands up in the air and moving across the Bay. What does this mean for Oakland and it’s African-American population? Well, OAKBOOK is putting together a multi-part series on exactly that, but you’re going to have to wait for it (hint: it doesn’t look good). In the meantime, what’s happening to the Mission? With the cost of living in the Mission going up and the quality of weekends in the neighborhood plummeting (remember the days, like, in 2008, when the bars were not fucking packed all the time?), it’s no surprise that there are more fixies in the Richmond and more rocking house parties in West Oakland. Is the Mission a sinking ship (with Dolores Park being our life raft)?