ktvu – excerpt (includes video)
Tanya Retherford took KTVU inside a 90-year-old warehouse in West Oakland where she is working with the city of Oakland on a first-of-its-kind project to build a live-work space completely up to code at 30th West Street, with a special variance from the planning department.
Retherford is the architect and a future tenant of the flagship project.
“This is going to be an artist’s, co-living working space when it’s completed with 13 residential spaces and studio space, dance floor, and workshop,” Retherford said.
She was part of an art collective at another warehouse that was evicted by their landlord immediately after the Ghost Ship fire took 36 lives in Dec. 2, 2016.
“What we’re trying to do is shift the paradigm so that people can develop spaces like this and work with the city,” Retherford said.
With numerous people living in non-permitted commercial spaces, two non-profit organizations are offering support.
Jonah Strauss, executive director of the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, said the organization was formed after immediately in the wake of Ghost Ship…
At the beginning of the year, Mayor Libby Schaaf issued an executive order to improve safety at unpermitted buildings. It aimed to prevent unnecessary displacement, among other things. Strauss and Keenan said city leaders are supportive of making spaces safer, but the order has largely been ignored by code enforcement… (more)
It would be nice if more cities chose to help artist stay in place while they take care of safety problems as a response to dangerous living conditions rather than evict them and or fine them. Do it Yourself (DIY) projects are at the hart of the artists movements and have been for decades. Our city leaders should encourage that spirit of freedom to express ourselves instead of damping it down as they have done for as along as we can remember. This is the newest and only pioneering option we have left in this country, and any action to improve one’s life should be embraced. Make sure to share this with your local officials as a good way to combat dangerous living conditions without evicting people and adding to the homeless crisis.