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Oakland North’s 2019 year in review — our top stories

2019 brought a new group of student reporters to Oakland North from across the country and the globe. We covered a city that is always changing, but where tensions about city finances, policing, housing and the fate of the public schools run deep. We also produced three new episodes of our Tales of Two Cities podcast, which covers audio stories from Oakland and Richmond in collaboration with our sister site, Richmond Confidential. Click here to check out all episodes of the Tales of…

Donated and forgotten: The problem with second-hand clothes

The Goodwill’s Greater East Bay headquarters on International Boulevard is a clothing reseller’s dream and a garbage system nightmare. This block-long facility is, despite its size, an inconspicuous treasure trove for resellers sifting for secondhand goods they will leave with by the cartload. The white cinderblock interior has an almost clinical feel: Clothes lie sprawled in plastic carts the size of operating tables, pushed together in a maze that only the regulars know how to navigate. This kind of retail…

Oaklanders remedy the housing crisis one home at a time

On a quiet fall day, Noni Session parked next to a two-story apartment building in North Oakland. It was a simple, white mid-century structure with a turquoise door and grey trim on the windows. Across the street, a BART train whizzed by on its way to MacArthur Station. Session is the executive director of a nonprofit called East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative, or EBPREC. Several months ago, the organization purchased this building in a bid to protect tenants after…

Small batch composters are digging deep to find big waste solutions

At Bishop O’Dowd High School in the Oakland hills, gardener Ned Lange is making small-batch vermicompost from the school’s food scraps. He takes scraps like leafy greens, peels, and stems that won’t make it into the cooked lunch, and blends them into a smoothie that he feeds into an 8-by-4-foot corrugated steel bin that is home to 100 pounds of worms. He lifts the roof off and carefully peels back pages of damp newspaper that are beginning to disintegrate. Underneath,…

Labor unions at odds over West Oakland hotel development

Every theater seat was occupied in Oakland’s city council chamber on Tuesday night, with more community members spilling into the hallway, as members of two of the city’s biggest unions turned out to take opposite sides on a proposal to build a hotel in West Oakland. In November 2016, Architectural Dimensions, an Oakland architecture and planning firm, filed an application to build a six-story 220-room hotel on what is currently an empty lot on Mandela Parkway along Oakland’s border with…

Oakland group connects youths with disabilities to internships

On Tuesday evening, about 15 new high school graduates with various developmental and intellectual disabilities gathered in an echoey elementary school auditorium in Oakland for an event called Ramping Up Independence. For many, it was the first time meeting staff from the organizations that would help them transition out of special education classes and into the next phase of their lives. The event was organized by East Bay Innovations (EBI), a nonprofit that helps disabled adults work and live independently….

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