100 residents of Oakland artists loft displaced after building red-tagged

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The residents of an Oakland arts community say they're being unnecessarily forced out of their homes by the city. (KGO-TV )

The residents of an Oakland arts community say they're being unnecessarily forced out of their homes by the city. The building at 1919 Market has just been red-tagged, and tenants have only a few days to get out.

The city said it could no longer ignore the many code violations in the building because the conditions are dangerous. Residents will have to leave while repairs are done. The management company said they will allow the tenants to move back in at the same rent once the repairs are completed, but that's little consolation to those who spend the weekend packing up and moving out.

It's an old warehouse bus barn that was converted to live-work spaces about 15 years ago. The building houses about 100 people, mostly artists, who now must pack up and leave by midnight Sunday.

Carolyn Valentine and Sam Code share their loft with two other people. Together they pay about $1,600 dollars a month. Their loft does have issues. Ones they say could or should've been fixed long before it got to this point.

"There's also apparently a carbon monoxide leak that was pointed out the other day," said Sam Code. "It's certainly safer than living in a tent underneath a bridge."

The city of Oakland has now red-tagged each and every unit saying the violations are too numerous to correct, at least with anyone living there.

"We did see a list of code violations, two pages long from the city, but in my unit the repairs would take less than half a day for a handyman. It's not worth kicking us out on the street," said Terbo Ted, a tenant.

"To displace over 100 artists into a situation where there is no housing," said Joy Newhart, a tenant.

The tenants have been offered two months rent, relocation money from building management, but they say it's not enough for even a down payment in a city where the average one bedroom rents for $2,500 per month.
Related Topics:
realestatehousingartbuilding code violationbuilding vacatedOakland
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