chapter  9
22 Pages

“One day, the white people are going to want these houses again”: understanding gentrification through the North Oakland farmers market

ByJosh Cadji, Alison Hope Alkon

Stanford Avenue runs nearly all the way across North Oakland, California. It breaks off of the I 80 freeway amidst the skyscrapers and chain stores of Emeryville, which stand upon the native Ohlone burial sites. Stanford then glances back across the bay to San Francisco, before heading east. At the other end of the road is Martin Luther King Junior Way, historically a dividing line between black and white, investment, and the lack thereof. The street dead-ends at a patch of grass under the elevated train tracks, where 8-foot tall sculptures of the words “HERE” and “THERE” stand up against the lawn. “HERE” points toward one of Berkeley’s most Complete Streets, which includes the Ashby train station, the brand new transit-oriented Ed Roberts Campus, which houses non-profits working with people with disabilities, and the Berkeley Bowl, a 40,000 square foot independent supermarket specializing in fresh produce. “THERE” points toward Oakland, where the street widens and follows under the train tracks. It passes by homes and apartments, some run-down, interspersed with small strips of struggling stores. A few blocks further, MLK flows into Ghost Town, an Oakland neighborhood so named for the high rates of displacement through eminent domain in the 1960s, as well as the large number of shootings in the 1980s.1