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How much did Occupy Oakland cost the City of Oakland?

As Oakland struggles with budget crisis, Occupy protests have cost the city at least $2.4 million

on November 23, 2011

A week after Occupy Oakland protesters were evicted from Frank Ogawa Plaza for the second time, the city is still paying for the cleanup and security. Currently, the city provides 24-hour patrolled security to make sure no more tents are pitched in the plaza and has upgraded its security systems, as well. As things begin to calm down, many residents are left wondering:  How much did Occupy Oakland cost the city? And was it worth it?

Using information released by the City Administrator’s Office, city budget reports and our own reporting, Oakland North reporters have created an infographic that weighs the costs of Occupy Oakland.



  1. […] About Us « As Oakland struggles with budget crisis, Occupy protests have cost the city at least $2.4 mi… […]

  2. shane on November 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Decent coverage. However the final graph “spending & saving” seems to allude to Occupy Oakland being the cause of the city budget cuts rather than in response to them. Furthermore, it is safe to say that it isn’t Occupy Oakland that cost the city all this money but OPD’s response to it.

    • Punk Toad on November 24, 2011 at 11:06 pm

      Exactly! It’s all about the response. OWS citizens deserve just as much opportunity to express themselves as say Raider fans. The Raiders have cost the city much much more.

  3. Leonard Raphael on November 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    Shouldn’t be too hard to estimate the short term direct effects on for-profit and non-profit business’ here, but your method of asking retailers in the immediate vicinity is not going to capture the needed data.

    Short-term direct costs would include payroll for employees sent home early or told not to come to work. That’s probably several thousand employees for at least one full day, maybe two in total? Say 12 hours. Including employer payroll taxes and benefits, guestimating average hourly wage of $30 (City employee wage rates are much higher than most other employees earn here)

    City employees approx 3,000 people including cops and fire. So say 1,800 city employees got 16 hours of pay for not working. City fringe benefits including retirement and lifetime medical, say 50% of wages. So that alone is 1,800 x 12 hours x $45 = 972,000 for just non security city wage losses.

    How many DTO office buildings including the Fed and CA building gave paid time off? Probably some multiple of the $972k

    Next, you need to figure short term lost business tax revenue for lost sales of products and services from the employees of for profit offices, restaurants and retailers not working. Say, another 200k

    Then guestimate lost sales tax revenue.

    Next estimate costs to Port of Oakland in lost tonnage, fees, employee wages.

    None of that estimates the mid and long term effects on sales and employment in DTO and Oakland. Hard to say. But easy to say that Quan won’t be taking any more trips to China extolling the virtues of our Port.

    -len raphael, cpa

  4. […] out this info­graphic I made for Oak­land North, illus­trat­ing some of the costs incurred by the City of Oak­land as offi­cials attempted to […]

  5. Buster on November 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Could you compare it to what San Francisco has spent monitoring but not evicting their OWS encampment?

    Seems like Oakland could have saved a lot of money we don’t have by just letting it be rather than overreacting to a largely benign non-threat. What a poor use of my tax dollars.

    • Dave Bryan on November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

      City of Oakland could’ve saved a tons of money. Cause and effect. Jean Quan spends tax dollars without thought.

  6. Benjamin on November 24, 2011 at 12:03 am

    It’s such a waste that OWS-510 is more concerned with one upsmanship & tent raving than it is with actual reform of the financial sector. Vespa those skinny jeans all the way to arcade fire.

  7. Russ on November 24, 2011 at 10:27 am

    This is typical blame the victim thinking. The Occupy Oakland protests where costing the city zilch until they decided to use an unrelated crime near Occupy as just cause to evict it. The hiring of outside security may be seen as a cost containing measure. However it has already resulted in tactical and informational bifurcation from the police. They are not kept in the loop as the police are. They are not following the same orders as the police. In fact the hired security appears to have a different reading of the law than the OPD officers.
    Instead of trying to shift short term blame for Oaklands long term budget issues to Occupy. Why not an article on how much better Oakland would be doing if the banks had to pay property transfer tax when they foreclose.

  8. Gregor Dodson on November 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    May I suggest a slightly altered headline?

    “As Oakland struggles with budget crisis, over-reaction to Occupy protests have cost the city at least $2.4 million”

  9. Ann Nomura on November 24, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    As misguided and immature as Occupy Oakland may sometimes act; they are brain surgeons compared to the mayor and the Oakland City Council. The City Council can only appeal to hate and fear. Through Occupy attention has come to millions of City of Oakland tax dollars lost, do to a waiver which banks use to avoid the Real Estate Transfer tax. Instead of rushing to fix Oakland’s budget crisis through legislative action and fair taxation of banks, the City Council is pushing fear, hate and turkey.

  10. security services Oakland on November 30, 2011 at 12:53 am

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  11. Matt on February 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for listing sources!

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