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Oakland: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Oakland's leading industries are business and health care services, transportation, food processing, light manufacturing, government, arts, culture, and entertainment. The Port of Oakland is one of the busiest ports in the world for container ships. Nearly 200,000 jobs are related to the movement of cargo through Oakland marine terminals. Chief exports at the port include fruits and vegetables, waste paper, red meat and poultry, resins, chemicals, animal feed, raw cotton, wood and lumber, crude fertilizers/minerals, industrial machinery, and cereal. Oakland's principal imports include auto parts, computer equipment, wearing apparel, toys, games and items made of plastic, processed fruits and vegetables, fasteners and household metal products, red meat, pottery, glassware and ceramics, iron and steel, beverages, and lumber products.

Oakland is an important commercial center. Approximately 13 percent of Oakland's work force is employed in the wholesale and retail trade. The city has hundreds of manufacturing plants employing almost 9 percent of the city's workers. Shipbuilding has flourished along the city's inner harbor. Other major industries include electrical equipment, chemicals, glass, automobiles and trucks, and pharmaceuticals. Oakland's leading industry sectors include business services, health care services, transportation, food processing, light manufacturing, government, arts, culture and entertainment.

Oakland's business community faced some major problems in the 1980s and 1990s. The Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989 not only caused physical damage but caused many companies to consider relocation. Although Alameda County had economic growth in the 1980s, Oakland did not participate in that growth and the economy actually declined. Major plant closures in the late 1980s and 1990s included Gerber Products, General Electric, National Lead, American Can, and Oakland's largest manufacturing facility, Transamerican Delaval, which had employed 1,600 workers. The ripple effect of these closures led to the closing of many small businesses that had been suppliers to these firms. The city received a designated Urban Enterprise Zone to help alleviate the employment situation, particularly for inner city residents. By the late 1990s Oakland's economy was showing some vitality. In 2002, Oakland was ranked the 8th best city in the nation for business in the Forbes annual survey of the Best Places in America for Business and Careers. In the mid-2000s, Oakland benefited from a strong and diverse business environment. Among its major corporations were Clorox, Kaiser Permanente, Cost Plus, Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream, APL Limited, and Rainin Instruments. According to the Landauer Realty Group, out of the 60 largest office markets in the United States, Oakland was expected to have the strongest market for the next several years.

Items and goods produced: processed foods, transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, non-electrical machinery, electrical equipment, clay and glass products

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The city of Oakland's Business Development Office assists businesses in getting established, finding suitable locations, and in expansion and growth. Oakland's Development Action Team works directly under the mayor and city manager to streamline all economic development, redevelopment, planning, zoning, building services, and housing development processes in support of key development projects. Incentives range from an industry-specific business tax abatement program to assistance with locating space and identifying its workforce. Oakland takes full advantage of existing state and federal programs to provide a full set of incentives and has a municipal lending unit to assist businesses looking for capital, technical assistance, and training. Oakland has been designated as an Enhanced Enterprise Community (EEC), a designation that allows businesses that hire from the EEC zone to be eligible for federal tax incentives including the Work Opportunity Tax Credit and the Welfare to Work Tax Credit. The Industrial Development Bond Program, Manufacturers's Investment Credit, and the Retail and Entertainment Catalyst Tenant Improvement Program (TIP) are among other financial incentives for bringing businesses to the city. Incentives are also provided for environmentally-friendly businesses through a Sustainable Development Initiative. Financial assistance programs for improving neighborhood commercial districts include the Business Improvement District Assistance program and the Commercial Property Faćade Improvement Program. The Oakland Business Development Corporation provides loans to small businesses who may not qualify for traditional bank financing. Brownfields programs including the Cal ReUSE Environmental Site Assessment Loan Program, Oakland Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund, and the Urban Land Redevelopment (ULR) Program provide incentives for reutilizing brownfields which are underutilized sites where reuse is complicated by the threat of environmental contamination.

State programs

The Oakland Urban Enterprise Zone and Oakland Foreign Trade Zone offer state and federal tax incentives. The state of California's Recycling Market Development Zone (RMDZ) Program helps create the markets necessary to use recycled materials and helps companies retool to produce goods from the discarded materials. The Oakland/Berkeley RMDZ is one of twelve located in California. The zone encourages the retention, expansion, and attraction of recycling businesses by offering a recycling equipment state tax credit of up to $250,000; low-interest loans of up to $1 million; engineering and technical assistance; and marketing assistance for the goods produced.

Job training programs

The city of Oakland serves as the liaison between new and existing companies and all of the educational and training organizations in the East Bay, including Peralta Community College District Partnership, Oakland Higher Education Center, Eastbay Works One-Stop Career Center, Department of Adult Education, Alameda County Workforce and Resource Development, and the Private Industry Council. The Oakland Workforce Investment Board offers a multitude of assistance and training opportunities to assist small businesses in recruiting a qualified workforce.

Development Projects

In 2005, more than 60 major development projects were underway in the city of Oakland. More than $50 million has been invested to turn the Old Oakland historic district into a sophisticated turn-of-the-century retail and commercial area, while preserving each building's ornate Victorian facade. Jack London Square, a popular waterfront retail and entertainment district, was completed in 2002 and features 10 restaurants and cafes and 12 specialty retail shops. The Wood Street Development Project is a redevelopment of the former Central Station, warehouses, and signal tower into 1,570 housing units, retail shops, and non-retail commercial space. The "Oak to Ninth" project is a 10-year redevelopment of 62 acres of waterfront property owned by the Port of Oakland. Plans call for the construction of 3,100 residences, commercial space, structured parking, approximately 27 acres of public open space, 2 renovated marinas, and a wetlands restoration area.

The Port of Oakland's $500-$600 million Vision 2000 program will expand and improve marine terminals and develop transportation infrastructures. Two new maritime terminals will be developed, as well as a new intermodal rail facility. The Port of Oakland and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are working together on a harbor deepening project to accommodate the new generation of container vessels arriving in Oakland. Other slated projects include widening and deepening the harbor entrance, the outer and inner harbor channels, and two turning basins to 50 feet, as well as relocating utility lines. The Port is also deepening its berths and strengthening its wharves as part of the project. All dredged material is being reused to restore Bay Area wetlands.

Economic Development Information: City of Oakland Business Development Office, telephone (510)238-3627; toll-free (877)2OAKLAND. Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, 475 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612-1903; telephone (510)874-4800; fax (510)839-8817

Commercial Shipping

The Port of Oakland is the 4th largest container port in the United States and 20th in the world. The Port of Oakland occupies 19 miles on the mainland shore of San Francisco Bay, one of the finest natural harbors in the world. There are 10 container facilities, 20 deepwater berths, and 35 container cranes. On-dock storage space exceeds 600,000 square feet. Major expansion of the port was under way in 2005 to expand the port's capabilities. The port's facilities are backed by a network of local roads and interstate freeways, warehouses, and intermodal railyards. Oakland offers direct, competitive rail service to the Midwest and Atlantic and Gulf coasts for Overland Common Point, micro-bridge, and mini-landbridge service via the two railroads that serve the port. All major carriers serve the port and many maintain terminals in the harbor area.

Air freight through Oakland International Airport totals more than 1.4 billion pounds, and more than 76 million pounds of air mail pass through the airport each year.

Port Information: Port of Oakland, 530 Water St., Oakland, CA 94607, telephone (510)627-1100.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The Oakland labor force is described as skilled, educated, and available to employers who need managerial/executive, professional, sales, technical, and clerical staff. Nearly one-third of area residents have a college degree, and about 100,000 students attend local institutions of higher learning. Although the Oakland area benefits from a diverse economic base, it suffered a loss of 50,000 jobs from 2001 to 2004, according to the Economic Development Alliance for Business. However, a rebounding economy in 2005 was expected to add 12,500 jobs in the East Area, with further gains in 2006. Employment growth rates through 2015 will be highest in the area of manufacturing.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Oakland metropolitan area labor force, 2003 annual averages.

Size of non-agricultural labor force: 1,024,700

Number of workers employed in . . .

natural resources and mining: 800

construction: 67,200

manufacturing: 97,400

trade, transportation and utilities: 198,000

information: 32,300

financial activities: 67,900

professional and business services: 143,400

educational and health services: 117,400

leisure and hospitality: 80,600

other services: 37,700

government: 182,100

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $18.33

Unemployment rate: 4.3% (December 2004)

Largest private employers (East Bay) Number of employees
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. 22,500
SBC Communications Inc. (Pacific Bell) 10,132
Alameda County 9,638
University of California at Berkeley 9,168
Contra Costa County 8,467
U.S. Postal Service, Oakland District 8,283
Lawrence Livermore National Lab 7,837
Safeway Inc. 7,680
State of California 7,600

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding key cost of living factors for the Oakland area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $647,278

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 152.3 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: Ranges from 1.0% to 9.3%

State sales tax rate: 6%

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 1.25%

Property tax rate: ranges from 1.22% to 1.3773% of assessed values (2005)

Economic Information: Oakland Chamber of Commerce, 475 Fourteenth Street, Oakland, CA 94612-1903; telephone (510)874-4800

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Oakland: Recreation


Historic buildings in Oakland include the Camron-Stanford House, a beautifully restored Victorian house on Lake Merritt. The Pardee Home Museum is an historical treasure in the heart of the Preservation Park Historical District. Dunsmuir House and Gardens features 40 acres of hills and gardens that are the site of public events. The Greek Orthodox Church of the Ascension is a modern Byzantine architectural gem, with icons painted on the dome; the church is nestled in the Oakland Hills. The Morcom Amphitheater of Roses provides a stunning horticultural display of more than 8,000 rose bushes surrounded by Mediterranean architecture. The landmark Paramount Theatre is a restored 1930s movie palace that still hosts a variety of arts events.

Popular entertainment and amusement sites include Children's Fairyland, a three-dimensional theme park with more than 60 sets recreating nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and legends; and the Western Aerospace Museum, displaying aeronautical artifacts and housing an aircraft library and gift shop. The Oakland Zoo in Knowland Park is home to 440 native and exotic animals and an African Lion Exhibit; its Children's Zoo is expected to open in 2005. Curious persons of all ages are welcome at the Chabot Space and Science Center which completed its new facility in January 2000 and features a planetarium, observatory and exhibits.

Another popular spot is the Jack London Square and Village, which was once the stomping grounds of the city's most colorful literary figures. It houses many quaint shops, restaurants, and a Farmer's Market along its scenic Boardwalk. The Presidential Yacht Potomac, Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "floating white house," hosts dockside tours and history cruises from its port at Jack London Square. Several museums are part of the Jack London Square complex including the African American Museum and Library, Lightship Relief floating lighthouse, the Museum of Children's Art, and the Oakland Museum of California. The Oakland Museum of California is lauded for its displays of California art, history and natural science. The Ebony Museum of Art at Jack London Village displays and sells African American art.

Arts and Culture

The Oakland East Bay Symphony presents symphonic music during its November through May subscription concert series, which is presented at the Paramount Theatre. The Symphony also provides accompaniment to performances by the Oakland Ballet. The Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts (the former Alice Arts Center) is home to the Oakland Ballet, Citicentre Dance Theater, Dimensions Dance Theater, Oakland Ensemble Theater, and Bay Area Blues Society. Oakland Ensemble Theatre, the city's only professional resident theater, produces contemporary, insightful works from an African American perspective. Blues, jazz, and gospel concerts are promoted by the Bay Area Blues Society. Woodminster Summer Musicals are performed July through September in the open-air Woodminster Amphitheater in the scenic Joaquin Miller Park in the Oakland hills.

New to the Oakland civic center area are the Craft & Cultural Arts Gallery and the Oakland Art Gallery which opened in 2001. Samuel's Gallery features a large collection of cards, prints, posters, and original graphics by African American artists.

Festivals and Holidays

The African Cultural Festival, popularly known as "The Africans are Coming," features dance in its many African forms performed by five sub-Saharan repertory companies. Oakland celebrates its birthday on May 4th with its annual Celebration in the Plaza, featuring live music with guest performers, famous Oakland celebrities, living history exhibits, walking tours, food booths, and art exhibits. Oakland's rich Spanish heritage is saluted at the annual Cinco de Mayo celebration which includes a parade and many festival activities. June's Festival at the Lake is a multi-cultural festival that features entertainment, arts, children's activities, an international food fair, and community programs. August's Chinatown Streetfest with its arts, food and crafts of the cultures of China, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and others, celebrates the city's Asian community.

The first week in September is the date for the Art & Soul Festival with more than 150 artisans displaying their music and crafts at multiple stages around the city. Another annual fall occurrence is the Black Cowboy Parade downtown, always held the first Saturday in October. The holiday season is greeted by a Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration, a parade of lighted yachts at Jack London Square's waterfront and a holiday parade sponsored by the Oakland Tribune.

Sports for the Spectator

The National Football League's Oakland Raiders play at Network Associations Coliseum, also home to the Oakland Athletics of major league baseball's American League. The National Basketball Association's Golden State Warriors play at the Oakland Arena. The Oakland Banshees play women's tackle football. Sears Point International Raceway in nearby Sonoma offers a wide variety of motorsports events year round. The excitement of thoroughbred racing is offered at Golden Gate Fields in Albany, only minutes from Oakland.

Sports for the Participant

Joaquin Miller Park offers 10 trails featuring spectacular views of the entire Bay Area. Joggers enjoy the 3.18-mile jogging path that encircles the shoreline of Lake Merritt. Surrounded on three sides by Lake Merritt, 122-acre Lakeside Park offers picnic areas, putting greens, lawn bowling, boat rentals, and Japanese and herb gardens. The Redwood Regional Park and Roberts Regional Recreation Area covers more than 2,000 acres in the city of Oakland and Contra Costa County. They include an amphitheater fire circle, horse and hiking trails, picnic and play areas, volleyball court, exercise course, and heated outdoor swimming pool. The Temescal Regional Recreation Area's 48 acres including a 13-acre lake provide swimming, fishing, picnicking, and a children's play area. Willows Skate and Surf in nearby Alameda offers roller skating, skate boards, and surf boards. Ice skating is available seven days a week at the Oakland Ice Center. Oakland's three municipal golf courses, Metropolitan Golf Links, Lake Chabot Golf Course, and Montclair Golf Course, accommodate avid and beginning golfers alike. Oakland also maintains 59 outdoor tennis courts and 7 public outdoor pools located throughout the city.

Shopping and Dining

Boutiques and specialty shops offering men's and women's apparel, household goods, toys and ethnic gift items are featured at Jack London Village. Other shopping areas include the City Center downtown, Rockridge, Piedmont Avenue, Lakeshore, and Grand Avenues. City Center is a popular pedestrian plaza with a mix of shops and restaurants. The Oakland Artisan Marketplace is open Fridays in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza and Saturdays and Sundays in Jack London Square. One of the oldest and most culturally diverse markets in the city is the Old Oakland Farmer's Market, open year-round on Fridays downtown where shoppers find Asian produce, fresh flowers, potted plants, herbs, bakery items, fresh fish and seafood, and wild game and poultry.

The Jack London Square is home to a variety of restaurants in a wonderful waterfront setting. Unusual fare and cuisine from around the world is offered at 12 eateries on the Square. Restaurants include specialties such as Mexican, Indonesian, Cajun, Northern Italian, Greek, Japanese, sushi, seafood, and classic American cuisine. From upscale to modest, Oakland has offerings for traditionalists as well as adventurous gourmets.

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Oakland: History

Spaniards Settle Area, Followed by Hunters, Loggers

The first inhabitants of present-day Oakland were the Costanoans, peaceful tribes known for their basket making and the success of their hunting and gathering way of life.

In 1772 an expedition came from Spain, led by Lieutenant Pedro Fages and Father Crespi, who camped along Lake Merritt. In 1820 Don Luis Maria Peralta received a large land grant, which included the area that is now Oakland, from the Spanish crown in recognition of his soldiering career. Don Luis never lived on his ranch, but divided the land among four of his sons who settled and operated ranches in the area. At that time, the territory was governed by the Republic of Mexico, which had become independent of Spain in 1821.

In the 1840s hunters and loggers came to the area, followed by adventurers traveling to the gold fields. Some stayed and built squatter shacks on the Peralta land, creating several small settlements which later became part of Oakland.

In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo officially ceded California to the U.S., and two years later California became the thirty-first state in the Union. Regulation of land deeds became the responsibility of the new state government. The Peraltas presented their claim to the Federal Land Commission in 1852.

Railroad Spurs Growth

In 1850 Edson Adams, Horace Carpentier, and Andrew Moon had settled on land near the present foot of Broadway. They planned a town, sold lots, and secretly rushed "An Act to Incorporate the Town of Oakland" to the State Legislature. The city, which was named for the groves of lovely oaks that grew along the hills, was granted a charter on May 4, 1852, about the same time that ferry service to San Francisco was initiated. It became an incorporated city with an elected mayor and council two years later. During this period the Peralta land case continued through the American legal system. By the time the land claim was finally confirmed in 1877, the Peraltas had sold most of their property to pay legal fees and taxes.

The completion of the Southern Pacific railroad line in 1869 transformed Oakland, which had been chosen as the terminus of the transcontinental railroad, into an important part of the Metropolitan Bay Area, second only to San Francisco. For the next several decades the railroad controlled the city's political and economic life. The railroad also stimulated economic development and the creation of an electric street car system which spurred rapid population and territorial growth.

Originally, the area of the city was quite small, but annexations in 1872, 1891, 1897, and finally in 1910 brought the city to its present size. Along with the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, which resulted in a sizable number of new residents in-migrating, Oakland experienced a rapid rise in population that reached over 150,000 people by 1910 and continued its growth through World War II. By the 1920s Oakland had become the core city of the East Bay, the Alameda County seat, and a rival to San Francisco for leadership in the Bay Area as a whole.

Oakland experienced great losses from the 1989 Loma Preita earthquake, which caused the upper deck of the Nimitz freeway in West Oakland to collapse, killing 41 people. The earthquake also caused part of the San Francisco Bay Bridge to fall down on the Oakland side, and a number of buildings in the business district and residential areas suffered severe damage. In 1991 Oakland was struck by a firestorm, which burned more than 3,000 homes to the ground, killed 25 people, and accrued $1.5 billion in damage. The fire remains one of the most damaging firestorms in the history of the state.

By the end of the 1980s, Oakland was the sixth largest city in the state with a highly diverse and integrated population of more than 350,000 residents. Population growth continued into the 1990s, when Oakland began to experience an increasing vitality. In 1998 former California Governor and presidential candidate Jerry Brown was overwhelmingly elected mayor of Oakland. Brown has brought sweeping change to the city, ranging from fixing potholes to increasing the size of the police force to forcing the resignations of entrenched managers and department heads, and encouraging business development in the city. In March 2004, Oakland voters approved a measure which affirmed the "strong mayor" system by altering the city charter to give the mayor chief executive power rather than the city manager as had been the case.

As the city entered the new millennium, it was faced with mounting challenges of crime, and school and housing problems. In 2003 the state of California took over control of the financially strapped Oakland Unified School District and appointed a State Administrator to oversee the district's operations. While property values soared in Oakland and surrounding areas in the early part of the new millennium, the challenge became lack of affordable housing necessary to attract new residents to the city. Mayor Jerry Brown's 10K Downtown Housing Initiative was developed to attract 10,000 new residents to downtown Oakland by encouraging the development of subsidized housing units. By 2005 more than 5,100 units towards the goal of 6,000 had been built.

Historical Information: Oakland History Room, Oakland Public Library, 125 14th Street, Oakland, CA 94612; telephone (510)238-3222

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Oakland: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is the eleventh largest school district in the state. The district has a rich ethnic diversity with a little more than one-half African American students and the rest a mixture of Hispanic, white, combined Asian, and other students, including Native Americans. It has recently suffered a decline in student enrollment due to a changing job market and migration to nearby communities with lower housing costs. In 2003 the district's financial crisis led to a takeover by the State of California and the appointment of a State Administrator. OUSD has made gains in academic achievement and even surpassed the state's averages for the 2003-2004 school year. However, the district continues to face substantial academic and financial challenges. Oakland Unified is the only district in the state to allocate funds directly to each school based on enrollment and student demographics. Recently, Oakland's 20 charter schools have made significant improvements in student achievement, with nearly five times the growth of Oakland's district schools from 2003 to 2004. The district's graduation rate for 2003-2004 was 85.7 percent.

The following is a summary of data regarding Oakland's public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 52,501

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 60

junior high/middle schools: 20

senior high schools: 12

other: 20 charter schools

Student/teacher ratio: 18.2:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $37,090

maximum: $66,680

Funding per pupil: $8,410 (2001-2002)

Oakland has about 53 private schools.

Public Schools Information: Oakland Unified School District, 1025 Second Avenue, Oakland, CA 94606; telephone (510)879-8200

Colleges and Universities

Mills College is a private liberal arts school with an enrollment of more than 1,100 students that serves female undergraduates but admits men to its graduate school. The college grants bachelor's and master's degrees, and offers courses leading to California teaching credentials. Two of the four Peralta Community College District campuses are located in Oakland; they are Merritt College, a publicly supported coeducational junior college with an enrollment of nearly 6,000 students and Laney College, which offers associate's degrees in arts and science, pre-apprenticeship programs, and job retraining to its more than 11,000 students. The school offers liberal arts, technical-vocational, and general education programs in both day and evening schools. Holy Names College is a Catholic, liberal arts college that enrolls more than 900 students, primarily women. The college provides both bachelor's and master's programs. More than 700 students are enrolled at Patten University, a private co-educational school affiliated with the Christian Evangelical Churches of America, Inc. Patten awards associate and bachelor degrees. California College of the Arts is a four-year independent college of art and design. Its Oakland campus houses undergraduate art students. Naropa University of Boulder, Colorado, maintains a branch campus in Oakland; it offers an accredited Master of Liberal Arts in Creation Spirituality.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Oakland Public Library contains more than 1.3 million items and serves more than 430,000 area residents. The library has 15 branches, 1 bookmobile, a Second Start Literacy Program, Teen Homework Assistance Program and PASS! Homework Assistance Program. Bilingual collections include Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Cambodian, Thai, Laotian, and Vietnamese collections. Special collections cover African American history, business, gay/lesbian issues, Oakland history, and religion; a unique feature is a tool lending library. The main library is also a government documents repository.

Oakland has two research centers associated with the University of California: the California Agricultural Experiment Station and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program. Another major research center in the city is the Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. It is one of the top ten federally funded pediatric research facilities in the nation. Other research institutes in the city encompass the areas of art, third world development, child care, health, community economics, earthquakes, mental health, labor, Hispanic education, and disabilities.

Public Library Information: Oakland Public Library, 125 Fourteenth Street, Oakland, CA 94612; telephone (510)238-3134

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OAKLAND , city located on the east shore of San Francisco Bay, California. The 1969 metropolitan Jewish population (including Alameda and Contra Costa Counties) of Oakland was 18,000. It is estimated that the 2005 metropolitan Jewish population (including Alameda and Contra Costa Counties) of the East Bay was 60–80,000.

The first Jewish organization was the Oakland Hebrew Benevolent Society (1862), which owned a cemetery and served the religious and cultural needs of the Jewish community until the founding of the First Hebrew Congregation (now Temple Sinai) in 1875. These two organizations merged in 1881. The Oakland lodge of B'nai B'rith was founded in 1875 and many local relief societies followed. The Jewish population of the city in 1880 was 227, with 68 in the suburbs. Congregation Beth Jacob, Orthodox, was founded by Eastern Europeans in 1887 and Temple Beth Abraham, Conservative, by Hungarians in 1907. The Jewish Welfare Federation of Alameda and Contra Costa Counties was organized in 1918 and the Oakland Jewish Center was built in 1958.

The Jewish Community Federation of the Greater East Bay has its main office in Oakland and an auxiliary office in Walnut Creek. The East Bay Jewish community covers a two-county area (Contra Costa and Alameda) and is comprised of both urban as well as suburban areas, including the cities of Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Fremont, Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, and Pleasanton. The East Bay is an active Jewish community. There are now four synagogues in Oakland (one Reform, one Conservative, one Orthodox, and one Renewal), as well as four in Berkeley and 17 in the surrounding areas. Many of the congregations maintain religious schools. There are three day schools, 12 Jewish pre-schools, and a successful Midrasha program (grades 8–12) that offers weekly educational classes as well as retreats. The Center for Jewish Living and Learning of the Jewish Community Federation coordinates the four Midrashot, special education programs, Holocaust education as well as professional development for both the congregational and early childhood educators. The Jewish Community Federation sponsors a Volunteer Action Center, an Israel Center that runs the largest Federation-based teen trip to Israel each summer, and an active Young Leadership Division. The Federation also supports Building Jewish Bridges, that helps interfaith couples find their place in the Jewish community.

The East Bay Jewish community maintains a mikveh, kosher butcher and bakery shops, a synagogue council, a home for seniors and local chapters of the national Jewish organizations. Most of the Jews are in the professions or in mercantile activity. The East Bay Jewish population participates in the social and cultural life of the region and is especially active in social action/Tikun Olam issues as well as those that address educational and environmental concerns. The Jewish community is noted for the good relations between the different religious movements as well for its diversity of population, which includes Jews of different racial and religious backgrounds. To the north of Oakland is Berkeley, containing the main campus of the University of California, which has a Hillel Foundation and many distinguished Jews on the faculty and an important Judaic Studies Program including such scholars as Robert *Alter and Daniel *Boyarin. Also located in Berkeley is the Judah L. Magnes Memorial Museum, which was organized in 1961, and the headquarters of Lehrhaus Judaica, the Bay Area's largest adult school for Jewish studies.

[Riva Gambert (2nd ed.)]

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OAKLAND. Located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay, Oakland is the eighth largest city in California, with a population of 399,484, according to the 2000 census. While the city is racially and ethnically diverse, African Americans constitute its largest group. Oakland is a major industrial center for the state, and boasts extensive port facilities that serve a growing trade with Asia. The city was originally incorporated in 1854, on land carved out of a Spanish-era land grant. The city's fortunes began to rise in 1869 with its selection as the western port terminus of the first transcontinental railroad. By the early twentieth century, Oakland increasingly rivaled San Francisco as the key urban center for the bay area. During World War II, federal investments in shipyards and manufacturing plants sparked economic expansion and attracted large numbers of African Americans seeking industrial employment. In 1962, Oakland's economy was bolstered by extensive harbor renovations, making it the first U.S. port capable of handling containerized shipping. During the same decade, however, the city witnessed growing social tensions, and became the birthplace of the radical Black Panther movement. In the 1980s and 1990s, Oakland had some serious setbacks. Major plant closures shrank the city's industrial base. In addition, the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and wildfires in 1991 caused considerable infrastructure damage.


Bagwell, Beth. Oakland: The Story of a City. Novato, Calif.: Presidio Press, 1982.

Johnson, Marilynn S. The Second Gold Rush: Oakland and the East Bay in World War II. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.

Eric Fure-Slocum

Daniel J.Johnson

See alsoBlack Panthers ; California ; San Francisco .

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Oakland: Geography and Climate

Oakland lies at the center of the Pacific Coast between Canada and Mexico. It is located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, and is connected to the city of San Francisco by the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Oakland boasts 19 miles of coastline to the west and magnificent rolling hills to the east. The flat plain of San Francisco Bay comprises about two-thirds of the city and the remainder of the city's terrain lies in the foothills and hills of the East Bay range. Residents and area visitors can take advantage of one of the most beautiful views in the world the San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate and Oakland Bay Bridges, and the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Cities adjacent to Oakland include Berkeley to the north; San Leandro to the south; Alameda across the estuary; Piedmont, a small city completely surrounded by Oakland; and Emeryville, a city that lies on the bay between Oakland and Berkeley. Oakland is the only city in the United States with a natural saltwater lake, 115-acre Lake Merritt, wholly contained within its border.

Oakland has earned the nickname "bright side of the Bay" because of its sunny skies and moderate year-round climate. Humidity remains high while precipitation is low. Almost all the city's rainfall occurs between October and January. The temperature usually reads about five degrees warmer than San Francisco, and the warmest months are September and October. The area's climate has been ranked number one in the country by Places Rated Almanac.

Area: 56 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 42 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 49.9° F; July, 62.1° F; annual average, 56.7° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 23 inches

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Oakland: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (PMSA)

1980: 1,762,000

1990: 2,108,078

2000: 2,392,557

Percent change, 19902000: 12.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: 5th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 4th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 5th (CMSA)

City Residents

1980: 339,337

1990: 372,242

2000: 399,484

2003 estimate: 382,369

Percent change, 19902000: 7.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 43rd

U.S. rank in 1990: 39th

U.S. rank in 2000: 50th (State rank: 8th)

Density: 7,126.6 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 125,013

Black or African American: 142,460

American Indian and Alaska Native: 2,655

Asian: 60,851

Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 2,002

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 87,467

Other: 46,592

Percent of residents born in state: 47.1% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 28,292

Population 5 to 9 years old: 30,134

Population 10 to 14 years old: 26,502

Population 15 to 19 years old: 24,664

Population 20 to 24 years old: 28,958

Population 25 to 34 years old: 72,315

Population 35 to 44 years old: 63,310

Population 45 to 54 years old: 53,865

Population 55 to 59 years old: 17,188

Population 60 to 64 years old: 12,468

Population 65 to 74 years old: 20,662

Population 75 to 84 years old: 15,145

Population 85 years and older: 5,981

Median age: 33.3 years

Births (2002, Alameda County)

Total number: 21,802

Deaths (2002, Alameda County)

Total number: 9,564 (of which, 91 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $21,936

Median household income: $41,055

Total households: 150,971

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 19,896

$10,000 to $14,999: 9,891

$15,000 to $24,999: 18,541

$25,000 to $34,999: 18,380

$35,000 to $49,999: 23,009

$50,000 to $74,999: 25,333

$75,000 to $99,999: 14,056

$100,000 to $149,999: 12,955

$150,000 to $199,999: 4,437

$200,000 or more: 4,473

Percent of families below poverty level: 16.2% (43.1% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 29,875

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Oakland: Introduction
Oakland: Geography and Climate
Oakland: History
Oakland: Population Profile
Oakland: Municipal Government
Oakland: Economy
Oakland: Education and Research
Oakland: Health Care
Oakland: Recreation
Oakland: Convention Facilities
Oakland: Transportation
Oakland: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1820 (incorporated, 1854)

Head Official: Mayor Jerry Brown (since 1998)

City Population

1980: 339,337

1990: 372,242

2000: 399,484

2003 estimate: 398,844

Percent change, 19902000: 7.3%

U.S. rank in 1980: 43rd

U.S. rank in 1990: 39th

U.S. rank in 2000: 50th (State rank: 8th)

Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)

1980: 1,762,000

1990: 2,108,078

2000: 2,392,557

Percent change, 19902000: 12.6%

U.S. rank in 1980: 5th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 1990: 4th (CMSA)

U.S. rank in 2000: 5th (CMSA)

Area: 56 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 42 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 56.7° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 23 inches

Major Economic Sectors: Trade, services, government

Unemployment Rate: 8.44% (September 2004)

Per Capita Income: $21,936 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 29,875

Major Colleges and Universities: Holy Names College, Mills College, Patten College, Merritt College, California College of Arts & Crafts

Daily Newspaper: Oakland Tribune

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