The smoking section at The Uptown Nightclub on Telegraph Avenue. California banned indoor smoking in 1995. Photographs by Rian Dundon.

Who’s Burning Down Oakland?

After a fire destroyed the only place I could afford to live, I knew it was time to leave for good

A construction site at 19th and Harrison, 2018. Oakland’s skyline is being reshaped by new office towers and luxury housing developments.
Left: A parking lot behind the Kaiser Center, Oakland’s tallest building when it was completed in 1960. Right: A concert-goer at the Uptown nightclub, 2019.
Left: Judy lives in Downtown Oakland, which has become a magnet for artists driven out of San Francisco by the high cost of living. Right: Gantry cranes at the Port of Oakland as seen from the West Oakland BART train station, 2018.
Left: Flowers left at the site of the Ghost Ship fire, where 36 young artists and musicians died on December 2, 2016. Right: A local artist spray paints the vehicle of a new scooter company, one of many flooding the Oakland market with its app-based services.
The Alta Waverly, an unfinished 328,000-square-foot residential development, burned under mysterious circumstances on July 7, 2017. The $35 million project was quickly rebuilt and is scheduled for completion in late 2019.
The smoldering remains of the Alta Waverly.

Photographer + writer. Former Timeline picture editor.

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