In West Oakland, buildings keep popping up. It’s the city’s oldest neighborhood, and it’s always had a blue collar reputation—until recently. Now longtime residents fear the fast pace of tech boom-fueled gentrification threatens to erase the enclave’s history as a black and arts community.
Meanwhile, new commerical projects thrive, and hum, beep and whir. Developers are erecting condos and turning old warehouses into tech offices.
At one dirt lot on Wood Street surrounded by old and new homes, a construction worker drives a tractor carrying soil on roads that the city once neglected. His crew shouts over the engine’s grating noise. The wood frames they built stand in the background.
Around the corner, a security guard patrols one of the newer housing complexes. Its hip sculptural landscaping and gray walls contrast the graffiti and peeling paint on Victorian and Edwardian homes nearby.
A few blocks away, tattered tent after tattered tent lean against a chain link fence. A woman carrying plastic bags disappears behind a blue tarp. Someone sits in an old station wagon filled with his belongings. A janitor sweeps up litter that’s blown across the street.