Building Inclusive Economic Development

As part of a plan to reduce racial disparities and promote economic opportunity for all communities, Oakland is working to revive the 7-mile International Boulevard Corridor, which crosses through the city’s lowest income neighborhoods, and improve the economic conditions in far East Oakland. In light of the impact of COVID-19, Oakland is also striving to help small businesses, especially those in vulnerable neighborhoods, survive and rebuild during and after the pandemic. Working with the Department of Economic and Workforce Development, FUSE Executive Fellow Marsha Murrington helped engage property owners, implement business recruitment strategies, and promote revitalization without displacement along the corridor. She also led work on a grant that resulted in the city receiving $28.2 million to implement a range of projects in East Oakland, and she is supporting the city’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.  To lay the groundwork for the grant, Marsha engaged with relevant city staff, grassroots organizations, and residents in far East Oakland to develop plans for improving their neighborhoods without displacing residents and businesses. The $28.2 million grant will create more than 60 jobs, 55 units of affordable housing, a health clinic, an aquaponics farm, a bike lending program, the planting of more than 2000 trees, and a Creekside trail linking the neighborhood to the shoreline. To sustain the transformative work in East Oakland, Marsha also helped two local Black nonprofits establish operations. During the pandemic, Marsha has helped the city in numerous ways, from applying for grants to support economic recovery to identifying partners that can assist with reopening, rebuilding, and recovery. Marsha is continuing to develop multiple small-business support initiatives, while also leading the implementation of the grant-related development projects in East Oakland.