OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Over the past eight years, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has guided Oakland through scandals and a pandemic. On Wednesday, in her final State of the City address, she reflected back on her eight years in office.
"Welcome to my final state of the city address!" Schaaf said to the crowd as she began her remarks. "Tonight I'm going to more than just talk about the state of the city in this moment. I'm going to look back on all eight years that we have been in office."
Mayor Schaaf says those years have been forged by "partnerships, potholes and promises," as she dealt with crime, homelessness and rising cost of living.
She accepted full responsibility for the current spike in crime, and acknowledges that it will be a challenge for the next mayor.
"We had in our first five years in office, seen the most sustained period of fewest murders in Oakland's history. What a tragedy to lose that incredible progress," said Schaaf.
Despite the homelessness encampment that plagues city streets, according to the mayor's statistics, Oakland has made big strides in recent years.
She says the city has quadrupled its shelter capacity, decreased outdoor homelessness by 16%, and helped 36,000 low-income residents avoid evictions and rent hikes.
"In the last eight years, we have created almost 20,000 new homes in Oakland," said Schaaf. "City staff tells me that this is the biggest housing building boom Oakland has ever had since the 1906 earthquake."
The mayor says when she took office, Oakland's roads ranked the second worst in the country. She says she created the city's first-ever department of transportation and setup the 311 system to help fix the decaying infrastructure.
"In eight years, we have paved 161 miles of roads in Oakland," boasted Schaaf to a round of applause.
But Mayor Schaaf also reigned over the city as it lost two professional sports teams, scandals at the Oakland Police Department and a growing racial wealth gap.
Critics point out that Schaaf was able to meet big goals by raising private money, and not through the city budget, which some say is a reflection of declining city revenues.
But it is a point she refutes.
"The city budget has grown tremendously over the last eight years. And, in fact, Oakland has its best credit rating that it has had in modern times," explains Schaaf.
She is leaving office following two consecutive terms, which is the maximum an Oakland mayor can serve.
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