No amount of expensive rebranding and impressive architectural renderings will change the stubborn fact that the only institution historically “rooted” to Oakland’s waterfront has nothing to do with Major League Baseball.
Since 1871, when the Central Pacific long wharf connected the transcontinental railroad to direct deep-sea access, Oakland’s working port has been a worldwide commercial shipping destination. Over 150 years, we have built the Port of Oakland into the economic linchpin for the city of Oakland and the undeniable center of gravity of international trade for the San Francisco Bay Area and all of northern California.
According to a 2018 study, the Oakland seaport supports some 27,000 jobs and $2.4 billion in personal income, and creates over $280 million in state and local tax revenues.
But its future commercial success is not inevitable. Now that the Oakland A’s are pushing their proposed housing/office/hotel/stadium project at the port via an onslaught of slick PR and constant lobbying, the threats to the existing operations at the port and to long-term growth on Oakland’s waterfront have been laid bare.