A memorial near the live/work space known as the Ghost Ship, taken in December, 2016, shortly after the fire as rescue crews continued to search the building. Photo by Brian Krans

The jury considering allegations against two men connected with the 2016 Ghost Ship fire reached a verdict on Thursday afternoon, acquitting Max Harris, a former tenant and creative director of the Ghost Ship, of 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. But after the jury deadlocked, Judge Trina Thompson declared a mistrial regarding identical charges against Derick Almena,…

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Jonah Strauss, a lead organizer with the Oakland Warehouse Coalition, speaks during public comments. "We're here to talk about keeping people in their homes," he said. Photo by Abner Hauge.

On Tuesday night, the council heard reports by working groups created by Mayor Libby Schaff’s Executive Order 2017-1 on January 11, calling for improving building and fire safety in non-permitted spaces while avoiding displacing their residents if code violations aren’t life-threatening. Should tenants have to be relocated, the order calls for the city to provide more relocation assistance. The order also calls for more notice for inspections; strengthening the Just Cause Ordinance, which prohibits landlords from evicting tenants except for specific reasons like failure to pay rent and illegal activities; as well as steps towards legalizing non-conforming spaces and reforming the city’s events permits system.

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City of Oakland Economic Development Manager Aliza Gallo explains the Small Business Administration's emergency loan program to John McLeod of Acme Fire Extinguishers Company. Photograph by Abner Hauge

The city and the Federal Small Business Administration (SBA) are offering low-interest loans and technical assistance to business owners, nonprofits, homeowners and tenants in the vicinity of the fire. According to Economic Development Manager Aliza Gallo, anyone can apply but must show proof that the fire negatively impacted them physically or economically.

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