Annual Report


Downtown Oakland Association
Michelle Lane, President CAC Real Estate Management Co., Inc. Sara May. Vice President Metrovation Jesse Nelson, Secretary CIM Group Martin Ward, Treasurer PSAI – Old Oakland Associates JC Wallace SKS Investments Bill Doak CIM Group Keira Williams City of Oakland Joseph Gallardo Madison Park Financial Michael McGuire California Capital & Investment Group – Rotunda Partners II Karissa Obeso-Govan CBRE Global Investors David Weltin Munda LLC Drew McGowan The Clorox Company Ke Norman Nailphoria Anagha Dandekar-Clifford Wendel, Rosen, Black & Dean

The Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) were launched in February 2009 after property owners voted to support a voluntary property tax to fund services that would improve the quality of life in downtown and uptown Oakland. The associations are governed by a talented and experienced board of directors and are jointly administered by an engaged and committed staff. The districts are  committed to revitalizing  Oakland’s historic downtown  by maintaining cleanliness and order in the public rights-of-way, improving district identity, building community, promoting business attraction, fostering cultural opportunities, creating and maintaining new public spaces, and advocating on behalf of the district stakeholders. Both of the CBDs work with property owners, the City of Oakland, and many other organizations to help fund and execute programs that provide much needed, highly visible improvements. A number of working committees and task forces set direction and oversee the execution of CBD initiatives. The primary committees include the Sidewalk Operations Beautification Order (SOBO) committee, overseeing the Ambassador program, beautification projects, and other capital improvements; the District Identity and Streetscape Improvement (DISI) committee, managing the branding, advertising, and public relations of the districts as well as the sponsorship of community events; and the Organization (ORG) committee, handling all matters related to district administration.

Lake Merritt-Uptown District Association
Deborah Boyer, President Swig Co./Kaiser Center Chris Curtis, Vice President Metrovation Robert Wilkins, Secretary YMCA of the East Bay Indrajit Obeysekere, Treasurer Kaiser Foundation Nola Montgomery CIM Group Andrea Kirkpatrick Swig Co./Kaiser Center Tanicia Jackson Brandywine Mike Brown Catholic Diocese Aliza Gallo City of Oakland Lorie Alemania Leamington Laurie Cooperman-Rosen Metro Estates Mike Huaco Kaiser Foundation Steve Douglas Douglas Properties Michelle Lane CAC Real Estate Management Co., Inc. Michelle Mansfield-Hicks CAC Real Estate Management Co., Inc Don Rogers CIM Group CJ Hirschfield, Community at Large Rep Children’s Fairyland

A Message from the Board Presidents:
We are pleased to present the annual report of the Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt-Uptown District Associations for 2012. The progress of our jointly managed CBDs, now in their fifth year of operation, continues to grow, thanks to the unflagging support of an array of strategic partners and district stakeholders. Collaborative relationships accelerated our success in 2012, and we thank our city and community partners for their vision and dedication to shared goals. Our long-standing Ambassador program is a signature success for the districts, providing the highest level of maintenance and hospitality/safety services. The enthusiastic community support for this program drives our commitment to continually improve service to ensure the program’s ongoing effectiveness. The districts’ beautification projects comprise our most visible accomplishments and include hanging plants, decorative planters at BART entrances, median landscaping, and storefront lighting and displays. Through the hard work of staff and the expertise of committed contractors, we have been able to transform the downtown corridor with color and vibrancy, creating an environment to foster business attraction and encourage visitors to the districts. This is an exciting time in Downtown and Uptown Oakland, and the District Associations are proud to play a role in the growth and revitalization that has commanded national and even international attention, as we endeavor always to meet and exceed the diverse and evolving needs of our district stakeholders. On behalf of the Boards of Directors, we hope you find our annual report informative and enlightening. We thank you for your investment in Oakland and, as always, we welcome your feedback. Sincerely,
Deborah Boyer (left) and Michelle Lane (right)

Deborah Boyer
Lake Merritt/Uptown District Association

Michelle Lane
Downtown Oakland Association

What People Are Saying:
“It is easy to take for granted these services during which nothing “bad,” “big,” nor “grandiosely impressive” happen; but I feel that is exactly what makes this program all the more impressive and crucial”
– Jessie P .

Back of BART Planters
With the support and collaboration of BART, the Districts installed 24 planters at BART entrances along Broadway, between 8th and 20th Streets. The impact of these new planters to enhance important points of arrival along the public rights of way has been tremendous.

Hanging Plants
220 hanging plant baskets have returned, after their greenhouse wintering, to light poles along Broadway and along Grand Avenue, 20th Street and 19th Street. Overflowing with spring blossoms like Alyssum, Begonias and Petunias, our hanging baskets transform the cityscape into a softer and more beautiful environment for all visitors to the districts.

BigBelly Solar Waste and Recycling Stations
The districts installed 11 solar-powered Big Belly Solar Waste and Recycling stations on high traffic street corners. These ‘Big Bellys’ hold more trash than a normal garbage can and offer a recycling option. Each of the 11 stations provide both real and historical trash collection data and digitally alerts the districts when the trash compactors need to be emptied, saving precious time and resources.

“Without a doubt our partnership with the community benefit districts is resulting in a positive collective impact for the Downtown and Uptown neighborhoods”
– Deanna Santana, City Administrator

“It is a pleasure to see them out patrolling the community and to have them directly involved in maintaining the safety of our artists with disabilities-a very vulnerable population.  Their dedication to their work is much appreciated by all of us here at Creative Growth.  Thank you Ambassadors!”
– Jordan D.

“The Street looks beautiful and I want to thank you for it. And for all of those of you who support the business improvement district either financially or through your efforts”
– Vitaly Troyan, Director of the Public Works Agency

Median Landscaping
Exemplifying the important public–private partnership between the City of Oakland and the Downtown and Lake Merritt districts, city and district staff worked together closely to create and then expand the encroachment permit that paved the way for the landscaping of 2,319 linear feet of medians through the downtown corridor along Broadway and Grand Avenue.

Street Level Planters
District Services Manager, Andrew Jones, and Office and Operations Manger, Tori Decker, combined their love of plants with their passion for Oakland to coordinate the planting and installation of 15 street-level planters on strategic corners throughout the districts.

Farley’s Parklet
What is a Parklet? A parklet is a small public urban park often created by replacing several parallel parking spaces with patios, planters, trees, benches, café tables and chairs, fountains, art work, sculptures and/or bicycle parking. In 2012, the Lake Merritt-Uptown District Association, along with Farley’s East and members of the community, helped fund the Farley’s East parklet.


Did you know? In 2012...

Maintenance Ambassadors


safety escorts

6,376 706
Hospitality/Safety Ambassadors Our Hospitality/Safety Ambassador team is made up of the friendly and approachable men and women that you see in bright orange and blue uniforms keeping our sidewalks safe and interacting with our neighbors, employees, tourists and residents. These individuals, many of whom are Oakland residents, work for our subcontractor, Block by Block, to improve the quality of life in the public rights of way. Safety Ambassadors are responsible for patrolling on foot and bike to serve as additional ‘eyes and ears’ of the Oakland Police Department, while serving as a visible deterrent. Ambassadors will report all activity that is deemed to be out of the ordinary to deter low level quality of life crimes. All Ambassadors engage with workers, residents and visitors daily to provide a sense of community and safety in both districts. Each of our ambassadors is equipped with knowledge of downtown’s businesses and entertainment venues and can provide visitors with directions and assistance to the many exciting downtown recreation and dining destinations.

umbrella escorts

business contacts







bags of trash

9,272 93

Our Maintenance Ambassador team members are the attentive and dedicated men and women, that you see in bright orange and blue, working six days a week to beautify and improve the neighborhood by providing critical services, such as pressure washing, litter removal, and graffiti abatement. These ongoing services result in increased economic activity, a lowered perception of crime, and a greater sense of pride in the community. The majority of these individuals are Oakland residents and are employed by our subcontractor, Peralta Service Corporation. In 2013, the CBDs, in cooperation with Peralta Service Corporation, expanded the Ambassador teams to include a Landscaping Ambassador position. This new position was created to assist with the growing number of beautification and landscaping projects implemented with 2012 funding, such as hanging plants, BART planters, and medians.

tons of garbage

instances of graffiti


hours to keeping the public rights of way free and clear of blight


Financial Information
FY 2012

Lake Merritt/Uptown District Association
Total budget $1,159,190.60

Downtown Oakland Association
Total budget $942,476.00

What People Are Saying:
“Creating a walkable and friendly downtown is essential to our continued economic development efforts.”
– Pat Kernighan, Oakland City Councilmember, District 2

Future Public Space Projects
We have always known that downtown had all of the elements to attract new residents, new businesses and visitors alike to our urban center. As is happening in other great cities, the development and management of public spaces has become increasingly important in establishing a welcoming pedestrian environment. Franklin Square, a public walkway at the corner of Broadway and Franklin St, where Franklin St. intersects Broadway, is an underutilized public space with great potential. Plans for this space contemplate repaving, uplighting existing oak trees, installation of attractive public seating, and the addition of new landscaping. The 13th Street Endblock project will revitalize and activate a key block in the central business district, a block that is anchored by the iconic Tribune Tower and serves as a key entry point from Lake Merritt to the Oakland City Center. This project is in line with the mission and vision of the Community Benefit Districts, a vision that includes beautification projects, retail attraction and public space development. Latham Square, located prominently at the intersection where Telegraph and Broadway meet, serves as the gateway to the Lake Merritt district. Flanked by the Rotunda and the Cathedral buildings, this historically important area boasts the Latham Square Fountain, dedicated in 1913 to commemorate the humanity of pioneer Oakland couple, James H. and Henrietta Marshall Latham. In late 2013, the City of Oakland, along with the districts and other community partners, will be making significant improvements to the area. We will be closing down the intersection to automobile traffic and installing public seating, wifi, flower planters and a massive mural on the street. The goal with all of our public space development projects is to activate these areas with vendors, art and live entertainment. The successful development of these spaces is dependent upon funding and the districts are actively working with city officials, board and community members to identify and secure grant dollars to turn our vision into reality.
Franklin Square

I was really impressed with their willingness and I was delighted to find out that Oakland has a community support system offering escort and general help.”
– Leela F.

The 13th Street Endblock

“I want to thank the Uptown and Downtown Association for your great partnership with the City of Oakland. It’s the work we have done together that’s made Oakland the most exciting city in America, the center of art and culture and an amazing world destination.”
– Honorable Mayor Jean Quan

Latham Square

Rebar Group Inc.

Sudhish Mohindroo, SZFM Design Studio

“Last Friday I encountered an unusual incident - my mobile phone fell down a drain as I stepped out of my car. I stopped Nick as he walked down the street and he put his thoughts as to how we could retrieve it.  Later that evening, after an ingenious use of sticks and duct-tape, he gave it back to me.

Sudhish Mohindroo, SZFM Design Studio

Company Profiles
Peralta Service Corporation
Peralta Service Corporation (PSC), a subsidiary of the Spanish Speaking Unity Council, was formed in 1975 for the purposes of creating employment and providing a living wage, good benefits, work experience, and training to Oakland residents. PSC’s mission is to provide an environment that fosters independence with a special emphasis on employment, to help break the cycle of poverty. In their effort to revitalize Oakland, the CBDs selected PSC, an Oakland-based company with a social mission, as their maintenance service provider. Both the districts and PSC prioritize providing employment opportunities to local residents. Since this collaboration began in 2009, PSC has been able to fill 11 full time, benefited positions with Oakland residents.

Oakland Venue Management (OVM) oversees and manages the day-today operations of the Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt-Uptown District Associations. OVM provides three full time CBD management positions:  District Manager, District Service Manager and the Office and Operations Manager as well as one, half time Administrative Assistant position. OVM’s primary mission as a company is to enhance the artistic, cultural and economic vitality within the city of Oakland. They have a strong commitment to community and youth development and seek to facilitate direct access to art, culture, employment, internships and education.

Block by Block
Block by Block provides safety, cleaning, hospitality, and outreach solutions for downtown improvement districts. Since they began providing services to improvement districts more than fifteen years ago, they recognized the importance of selecting not just hard working people, but friendly, engaging people to staff our Ambassador teams. The security ambassador team provides employment opportunities to residents of Oakland and the Bay Area. Currently they have on staff 15 team members that live in Oakland, and 6 that come from neighboring cities.

Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Community Benefit District? A Community Benefit District (CBD) is a publicprivate partnership formed under the same principle and legislation as a business improvement district, but whereas a BID focuses mostly on business within a district, a CBD acknowledges that all land uses, not simply businesses, benefit from the revenue flow generated by the assessment district. What services do the Community Benefit Districts provide? A CBD, as a property assessment district, provides special benefit services to real property owners. These services are geared toward order and cleanliness in the districts, such as daily sidewalk cleaning, trash and graffiti removal. Other services the CBDs provide include security, beautification, marketing and promotion, business attraction and administrative oversight. How are your organizations funded? Our CBDs are funded through a special assessment that is paid by the property owners within our district boundaries. As provided by local ordinance, the CBD assessments appear as a separate line item on the annual property tax bills prepared by the County of Alameda. The City of Oakland coordinates the collection of the annual assessment through an interagency agreement with the County of Alameda and the funds are then disbursed to the CBDs. The revenues from this assessment are directed back to the districts to finance the special benefit services, including security, maintenance, beautification, marketing, and economic development.

How long have the CBDs been around? Our two jointly managed CBDs, the Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt-Uptown District Associations, were formed in 2008. We are in our fifth year of operation and will be seeking renewal in 2018. What are your boundaries? The boundaries of the Downtown Oakland district run from Broadway and 8th Street in Old Oakland to Broadway and 17th Street, including side streets east and west of Broadway. The boundaries of the Lake Merritt-Uptown district are from 17th Street up to 25th Street, including side streets east and west of Broadway. (See Maps) Who do I call when I need the assistance of an Ambassador? For Safety and Hospitality assistance, call the Team Leader at 510.898.8592, who can be reached Monday-Wednesday from 7am-9pm, Thursday and Friday from 7am-12:30am and Saturday from 12:30pm-12:30am. For Maintenance assistance, call the Operations Manager at 510.719.6541, who can be reached Monday-Friday from 6:30am-3:30pm and Saturday from 8:00am-3:30pm.

Downtown Oakland District

Lake Merritt/Uptown District

Lake Merritt/Uptown District Association 510.452.4529 twitter: @uptownoakland

Downtown Oakland Association 510.238.1122 twitter: @downtownoakland

PHOTO CREDITS: i4Color, Inc.: Ron Essex – Cover, 2012 Projects: Hanging Plants, Big Belly, Financial Information, Company Profiles, Frequently Asked Questions, Back Cover i4Color, Inc.: Vanessa Solis – 2012 Projects: Median, Trappist and Great Wall TR Proz: Tiffany Shanel and Rene Caraballo – 2012 Projects: Street Level Planters, Ambassadors Nancy Amaral: Gallen.Neilly & Associates – Board Presidents GRAPHIC DESIGN: Aspire Visual Communications + Design