Downtown Oakland

Association
Michelle Lane, President
CBRE
Sara May, Vice President
Metrovation
Monika Picardo, Secretary
CBRE
Steve Shanks, Treasurer
SKS Investments
Andrew Altman
CIM Group
Keira Williams
City of Oakland
Karissa Obeso-Govan
CBRE
David Weltin
Munda LLC
Mike Guerra
Lincoln University
Kirsten Melton
Girls Incorporated of Alameda County
Anagha Dandekar Clifford
Wendel, Rosen, Black, & Dean

The Downtown Oakland and Lake MerrittUptown 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 Uptown & Downtown 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 through
our popular Ambassador program, 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,

Lake Merritt-Uptown
District Association
Deborah Boyer, President
Swig Company
Chris Curtis, Vice President
Metrovation
Robert Wilkins, Secretary
YMCA of the East Bay

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;

Laurie Cooperman-Rosen, Treasurer
Rent-A-CFO

the District Identity and Streetscape Improvement (DISI) committee,

Andrea Kirpatrick
Swig Company

managing the marketing, branding, and public relations of the districts as

Aliza Gallo
City of Oakland
Lucinda Alipio
CIM Group
Steve Douglas
Douglas Properties
Don Rogers
CIM Group
Ben Weinstein
Citrine Advisors
Samantha Stires
CBRE
Cortney Shadel
CIM Group
CJ Hirschfield
Children’s Fairyland
Ke Norman
Nailphoria
Ramsey Wright
Colliers International

well as the sponsorship of community events; and the Organization (ORG)
committee, handling all matters related to district administration.

A Message from the
Executive Director:
2014-2015 have been tremendous years for Downtown Oakland and the Uptown &
Downtown Community Benefit Districts. With Oakland’s strong sense of community, doit-yourself spirit, and innovative entrepreneurship, we continue to attract new businesses
and visitors to the Districts, making our City an attractive destination for both business
and pleasure. Downtown Oakland is the jewel of the Bay and its arts, entertainment and
delectable culinary scene invite you to be part of its cultural renaissance.
Since we launched the districts in 2009, we have welcomed over 250 new, ground
floor businesses into the greater downtown area. The creativity with which Oakland
businesses have embraced and developed new business concepts and services has gone
beyond anyone’s expectations and is having an extremely positive impact in the commercial real estate market.
During the third quarter of 2015, companies moved and expanded their presence in the heart of Oakland by
more than 592,000 sq.ft. of office and retail space. This continued growth and growing interest in Downtown
Oakland exemplifies a solid return on our collective investment and we are excited to see what the future holds.
Our organizations continue to evolve their role in the community as it grows and evolves. In 2015 we instituted
significant changes to our programs to address the growing environment. The Districts transitioned from
two cleaning and safety service providers to one, contracting exclusively with Block by Block to manage our
Ambassador program. We also successfully launched our Oakland Central marketing campaign and website,
a culmination of over two years of work. These changes have resulted in higher efficiency practices and better
community engagement.
Lastly, by drawing upon the Districts’ clearly articulated mission, vision, values and our profound desire to
preserve Oakland’s greatest attributes, we have sought to thoughtfully engage in the ongoing community
discussions about the importance of maintaining the qualities that make Oakland great. With this in mind, we
engaged in the creation of SPUR’s “Downtown for Everyone” report as well as the Plan Downtown community
charrettes. We also helped facilitate conversations between active community stakeholders and the organizers
and leaders of these important projects.
We are witnessing exciting growth in our Districts as we welcome new businesses and watch existing businesses
expand and thrive. This growth, coupled with the collective commitment to preserve Oakland’s unique
character, ensures that this is truly Oakland’s time to flourish. We look forward to building upon this momentum
and continuing to provide the critical services that have no doubt played a role in the positive transformation of
our community. In an effort to further highlight many of our recent accomplishments, we are pleased to present
the 2014-2015 Annual Report.
In Community,

Steve
Steve Snider

What People
Are Saying:
“I’d like to express
my greatest esteem
in the services you
provide! It is truly
amazing to see how
hard each of your
members work to
make our city a
better place.”
– Warren L.

“Guadalupe
impressed me with
her warm, engaging,
down-to-earth, and
non-intimidating
demeanor as
she established a
very friendly and
supportive rapport
with the [people
she was helping]…
Most importantly,
Guadalupe
demonstrated
compassion,
sensitivity, cultural
competence and a
sincere commitment
to assisting someone
in need.”
– Greg V.

Vendor Transition
In early 2015 the districts
embarked on the process of
conducting a national search
for the best Maintenance and
Safety providers to operate
our Ambassador program.
We undertake this process
every three years in order
to ensure we are engaged
with the best vendors, and
that we are getting the most
out of our flagship program.
Through this process we heard from a number of vendors, however only one
submitted a complete proposal for our review: Block by Block our incumbent
Safety provider.
Block By Block submitted a detailed and
thoughtful proposal that addressed our
maintenance, landscaping and safety needs in a
comprehensive and cost effective manner. Their
approach utilized their decade of industry specific
knowledge, and incorporated technologies that

New
Equipment
As part of our new
approach we have invested
heavily in the addition of
specialized equipment and
technology to assist our
ambassador staff in the
field. We have added 80
hours a week in pressure
washing, which utilizes
2 new pressure-washing units. We have purchased an All-Terrain Litter Vehicle
(ATLV) and created a new position to operate this vehicle. The ATLV is a ride along
litter vacuum that is deployed nightly, and has made a tremendous difference for
our daytime staff and in the general cleanliness of the districts. When staff arrives
on site each day, the ATLV
has already driven through
the entire district removing
dozens of bags of litter,
setting the stage for staff to
focus on graffiti abatement
and other important special
projects.

we had never used before. Both of these added
significantly to our ability to be effective and
address the ever growing needs of our districts.

Our New Approach
After the board selected Block By Block to be our
sole vendor for Maintenance and Safety services,
we needed to make big changes internally. The
shift to one vendor was strategic and important,
but through the process we lost several colleagues
that had been with the program since inception. The new structure allowed for
shared workloads, better communication, consistency in stakeholder experience
and sense of a coherent team amongst
the Ambassadors themselves. We
adopted one uniform for both
districts for increased visibility; we
started to cross train maintenance and
safety staff so that each ambassador
would have the ability address issues
regardless of what type. This new
approach has allowed us to do more
with the staff we have.

The reporting and tracking
application that all ambassadors are now using is
called the SMART system.
This allows all of our
Ambassadors to create and
track work orders in the field;
track interactions with the
public and with stakeholders;
and keep tallies on the work
they complete. We use this
information to refine deployment schedules, schedule special projects, to keep
track of how resources are being allocated and to demonstrate the effectiveness
of the program as a whole.

Conclusion
While the transition has been labor intensive for staff, committee members and
ambassadors alike, we feel very strongly that it was the right decision and that
the program is stronger for it. We look forward to working with Block By Block
on new innovative programs that will continue to make our Ambassador team the
strongest it can be.

What People
Are Saying:
“I have worked
[in downtown] for
almost two years
and I can honestly
say that all of the
ambassadors that
I have met are
professional, kind
and passionate about
their job.”
– Katiana L.

“I am always
generally thankful
for your services
and I feel safer
and more at ease
knowing that your
company has people
on the look-out in
the neighborhood,
especially when I
walk to BART when
it is dark out.
It instills a sense
of community and
a feeling of safety
that I think helps
support the thriving
downtown Oakland
area.”
– Kirsten S.

Over the years there has been a lot of press
about Oakland, but there is still a bigger story
here, a story that’s already being told by
extraordinary artists, vibrant small businesses,
community organizations, residents and the
people who work in this area every day. In 2014,
the districts were presented with a challenge:
How do we tell that story of Downtown Oakland
to the greater Bay Area and beyond?
Our answer: Oakland Central, a brand that
unites downtown from the Uptown Arts and
Entertainment District to the Jack London
waterfront, from Lake Merritt to Old Oakland
and everything in between. Oaklandcentral.com,
the website at the cornerstone of the new
campaign, is the place to...GET THE SCOOP, FIND
OUT WHAT’S HAPPENING, EXPLORE and GET
AROUND DOWNTOWN, CATCH THE BUZZ, and
FIND YOURSELF in the heart of Oakland!

Oakland Central is not a specific neighborhood,
or a new name for downtown, it is the heartbeat
of Oakland’s central business district and a
portal to all things Downtown Oakland.
When a visitor from Walnut Creek comes for
dinner and needs to find a parking garage...
When a couple is thinking about moving to
Oakland...When a few friends BART over from
San Francisco to attend a concert at the Fox
Theater...When an employee stuck in an office
tower craves a new and interesting place to
eat...Oaklandcentral.com is the place to discover
the heart of Oakland.
We hope that this new website becomes a
resource for you, your tenants and colleagues.

LEARN MORE AT

OAKLANDCENTRAL.COM

Being a part of Oakland is very exciting for us as we see the
development of not only the community, but also the food
scene. There is so much pride, loyalty, and growth here
we are just fortunate to be a part it.

It is no secret that the best thing
about Oakland is her people. We have the
best customers and a wealth of super
creative local artists.

— Charlie Parker, Executive Chef, Haven

— Alyah Baker, Show & Tell

The diversity of our city is hands
down the best thing about doing
business in Oakland.

— Tracy Parker and Fernando Carpenter,
VAMP vintage • art • music for the people

Company Profiles

Financial Information
FY 2015

Block by Block
Miscellaneous
<1%

Beautification
Marketing 8%
Fees and Permits <1%
Accounting 1%

Community
Sponsorship
3%

Lake Merritt/Uptown
District Association
Total budget $1,117,635.76

1%

Shipping, Printing & Supplies 1%

Block by Block offers first class safety, cleaning, hospitality, and
outreach solutions for downtown improvement districts all over
the country. Since they began delivering these services more
than fifteen years ago, Block by Block has continually worked to
bring additional value to its customers. In 2015, BBB was excited
to expand their contract in Uptown & Downtown to include the
management of both the Maintenance and Safety Ambassador
programs.

Insurance <1%

Did you know?
In 2015,
Maintenance
Ambassadors...
Collected

Abated

10,045

instances of graffiti

Rent & Utilities 2%

Emptied

OVM
Ambassador &
Administrative Services
83%

Miscellaneous
1%
Beautification
8%
Marketing

Fees & Permits
Accounting
Shipping, Printing & Supplies
Insurance
Rent & Utilities

Community
Sponsorship
3%
<1%
1%
1%
<1%
3%

Downtown Oakland
Association
Total budget $930,096.49

Oakland Venue Management (OVM) oversees and manages
the day-to-day operations of the Downtown Oakland and Lake
Merritt-Uptown District Associations. OVM also provides the
administrative services for the new Jack London Improvement
District. OVM’s primary mission is to enhance the artistic, cultural
and economic vitality within the city of Oakland and the wider
Bay Area. OVM pursues staff development opportunities by
exploring best practices in other districts and by attending
the annual conferences put on by the International Downtown
Association and the California Downtown Association.

90

tons of trash

5,545

trash receptacles
Cleaned out

tree wells

2,329

16,477 escorts

provided, business
contacts made and
directions given

Looking Forward

2%

Over the next 12-18 months, CBD staff will continue promoting our Oakland Central
marketing campaign to new audiences throughout the greater Bay Area and
beyond. We will actively build upon our Strategic Partnerships with local, likeminded organizations that will assist us in our efforts to share the great stories
about Downtown Oakland. We will also continue to work towards increasing our
income streams as an organization through Fundraising and securing additional
Ambassador &
Administrative Services
81%

service contracts. We will ramp up our Community Engagement efforts assisting
with business and stakeholder outreach around the Downtown Specific Plan, the
BRT project, public space activation, and organizing and supporting our local retail
community. Lastly, we will begin to lay the foundation for Renewal and Expansion
of the Community Benefit Districts for another 10 year term.

Downtown
Oakland
and
Lake
Merritt/Uptown
The
Downtown
Oakland
and
Lake
Merritt-Uptown
Community
Districts
Community Benefit
Benefit Districts
Jayn
e
Ver
non
St

Lenox Ave

Dr

LAKE
MERRITT

19th St

t
19th S

t
18th S

18th St

17th St

Lakeside Dr

Harrison St

t
16th S

16th St

Webster St

Franklin St

e
Av
lo
ab
nP
Sa

17th St

For safety, hospitality, and maintenance assistance,
call the Team Leader at 510.898.8592. They can be
reached Monday-Friday from 7am to 10pm, and on
Saturdays from 9am to 12:30am.

Park View Terr

Lak
esi
de

St
William

19th St

Who do I call when I need the assistance of an
Ambassador?

20th St

ph Ave
Telegra

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)

t
21st S

LAKE MERRITT
UPTOWN

20th St

d
amma
a Muh
Rashid

20th St

n St
Harriso

er St
Webst

lin St
Frank

t
22nd S

t
21st S
rkley
s L. Be
Thoma

h St
27t

y St
Waverl

Broadway

t
22nd S

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.

Mon
tec
ito
St

St
Valdez

er St
Webst

Ave
Grand
St
Valley

d Ave
W Gran

15th St
15th St

14th St

DOWNTOWN

13th St

Oak St

10th St

Madison St

11th St

Jackson St

12th St
Alice St

Broadway

Clay St

Jefferson St

Martin Luther King Jr. Way

Castro St

Brush St

Washington St

Our CBDs are funded through a special assessment
that is paid by the property owners within our
district boundaries. As provided by local and state
ordinances, 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.

t
24th S

Van Buren Ave

Gran
d Av
e

t
23rd S

Jefferson St

How are your organizations funded?

t
25th S

t
24th S

I-980

A CBD, as a property assessment district, provides
special benefit services to real property owners.
These services, such as daily sidewalk cleaning,
removal of trash and graffiti removal, are geared
toward order and cleanliness in the districts.
Other services the CBDs provide include security,
beautification, marketing and promotion, business
attraction and administrative oversight.

ore St
Sycam

ph Ave
Telegra

Our two jointly managed CBDs, the Downtown
Oakland and Lake Merritt-Uptown District
Associations, were formed in 2008. We are in
our seventh year of operation and will be seeking
renewal in 2018.

Vernon
Terr

t
26th S

te Ave
Northga

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.

Lee
St

t
27th S

. Way
MLK Jr

How long have the CBDs been around?

What services do the Community Benefit Districts
provide?

t
28th S

Merrimac St

What is a Community Benefit District?

Ada
ms

it
Summ

MID-BROADWAY

28th St

Frequently Asked
Questions

Hamilto
n

t
28th S

er
Webst

29th St

10th St
Downtown Oakland and Lake Merritt/Uptown Community Benefit Districts

9th St

8th St

7th St

The New Parkway

Lake Merritt/Uptown District Association
510.452.4529

Downtown Oakland Association
510.238.1122

info@lakemerritt-uptown.org

info@downtownoakland.org

www.lakemerritt-uptown.org

www.downtownoakland.org

facebook.com/lakemerrittuptown
twitter: @uptownoakland

facebook.com/downtownoak
twitter: @downtownoakland

PHOTO CREDITS:
Greg Linhares: City of Oakland
Andy Hang: Operations Supervisor, Ambassador team
Ron Essex: i4Color, Inc.
GRAPHIC DESIGN:
Aspire Visual Communications + Design