downtown oakland
Downtown Oakland circa 1910

The DTO will rise again

January 9, 2009

The big event in downtown Oakland this week, of course, was the destructive aftermath of a protest against BART police killing an unarmed, restrained man. Alerted by Google, I fled to Rockridge and followed the events via television, phone and Internet. A terrible tragedy, to be sure, but at least the DTO looks great from a helicopter!

Fortunately, we can all do something to make a difference. What better way to help downtown recover than to fund window repairs by patronizing vandalized businesses? Living in the O compiles a list of victims for your dining, shopping, and grooming pleasure.

City Homestead offers a perspective of the riot from Westlake, and her experience being touched by the Oscar Grant killing. At FutureOakland, I blog that the OPD failed to protect downtown residents and should investigate its crowd control tactics. CounterPunch publishes an account of the protest that sympathizes and attempts to justify the vandals’ anger by asserting racial division, but other bloggers point out that the radical elements appeared to hail from Berkeley and San Francisco.

Recently, Oakland developer Hal Ellis passed away. As the original builder of City Center, one of the region’s largest job centers, he helped revitalize downtown Oakland in the 1970s. In the last few years, his Jack London Square Partners have begun transforming the foot of Broadway into another major office district, this time anchored by gourmet retail. But just as the DTO will rise from Wednesday’s ashes thanks to efforts of pioneers in the mold of Mr. Ellis, Jack London has risen from the dead and will visit his eponymous square tomorrow (Saturday Jan 10 2009) on the occasion of his 133 birthday. The history walk begins at Heinold’s First and Last Chance Saloon at the end of Webster, at noon.