The Port of Oakland’s maritime industry is raising red flags over the Oakland A’s new waterfront ballpark plan,
saying the 34,000-seat stadium and housing project would pose both a safety risk to ships and a threat to the port’s future as a major, regional economic engine. “Between the traffic congestion it will bring, the navigational risks it will pose to shipping vessels and the land-use conflicts it will create, there’s no way for this project to proceed without doing irreparable harm to Oakland’s working waterfront,” said Mike Jacob, vice president at the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association and a leader in the coalition of port workers, bar pilots, truckers and cargo terminal operators who are bringing their concerns to the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners.
The A’s counter that the ballpark and housing project wouldn’t endanger any port jobs or adversely impact the port’s shipping business.
“In fact, it will create 5,000 new jobs, alongside the hundreds of jobs that currently exist there now,” A’s spokeswoman Catherine Aker said.
In the middle of the debate are the port commissioners, who are negotiating with the A’s, who want to acquire Howard Terminal on the Oakland Inner Harbor.
In addition to a real estate deal, the commission finds itself having to balance the needs and future of the third-largest port on the West Coast with the desire of Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Oakland A’s to create a new neighborhood — with the ballpark as the centerpiece — along the waterfront.