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The Gentrification Chronicles: The E12th Homeless Encampment Goes Up In Smoke (Again)


For the second time this year, the ever-growing homeless encampment on E12th in Oakland California caught fire Friday afternoon.

Despite the quick work of Oakland firefighters and first responders, the quick moving fire destroyed a significant portion of the encampment.

This fire comes just weeks after a suspicious fire destroyed a new housing development in West Oakland last month.

Although the local media failed to cover the fire or its social impact, numerous Oakland residents wondered if the fire at the E12th encampment may of been set by members of the development community; perhaps looking for payback after recent fires to their developments.

Although there’s no evidence to support the “payback theories,” it should be noted that developers and homeless advocates (notably not the homeless themselves) have come to blows over the issue of gentrification and the homeless encampments in Oakland and surrounding communities.

Some of the issues causing contention were the actions of the city of Oakland when it started closing many of the well-known homeless camping locations in Oakland.

On the flipside, the city drew the ire from developers (and many residents) when the city of Oakland started placing portable toilets at the illegal encampments attempting to mitigate environmental issues.

It should be noted that the E12th Street encampment “exploded” in less than a year after the city began cracking down on the homeless camping on private property and in the downtown area. As our screen grabs show, just a year ago there was no extensive collection of homeless at the E12th location.

That is no longer the case.

To date, the city has not released a cause of the fire.

Stay tuned…

Credit: Oakland Photo Vault 2018


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