Oakland artists fear backlash following Ghost Ship fire

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Artists live and work in spaces like the Ghost Ship warehouse all over Oakland and some fear there will be backlash following the deadly fire. (KGO-TV)

The deadly Ghost Ship warehouse fire has many people calling for closer scrutiny of Oakland's warehouses. There are said to be at least 200 throughout the city. Some artists are worried about a crackdown.

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Oakland artists are already grappling with being priced out. For example, market-rate condos are being built right in the middle of West Oakland's art community. Now some, like photographer Styrous, have another fear following the warehouse fire. "I'm scared," he said. "I'm scared there could be a crackdown."

He thinks many places artists can afford could be subject to code violations. His own building seems in good shape. It was once a warehouse for boat manufacturers. There are 26 live/work units.

Chuck Diguida runs the Jingletown Art Studios, a work space for artists. He believes that most enclaves like his are following safety rules. He believes that most enclaves like his are following safety rules."All the owners, landlords all do a really good job," he said.

Cynthia Elliot tells us rules are being followed at the Ford Street Studios where she lives. The sprawling complex used to be a foundry, but is now has live/work lofts for dozens of artists. She wonders whether there will be a backlash following the warehouse fire. "Worried that there will be a knee jerk reaction," she said. "We have to close all of these down."

EXCLUSIVE: Ghost Ship founder's associates talk to I-Team

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf plans to unveil a plan Tuesday to help keep artists in Oakland. "I have been passionate about preserving and lifting up this incredible, creative community," she said.

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