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Downtown Business Improvement District

Working for Oakland

Oakland City Center is a part of the Dowtown Oakland Association.

The Downtown Oakland Association is a Community Benefit District (CBD) which is revitalizing a nineteen block area in the heart of Oakland, California by providing special benefit services such as district maintenance, safety and security management, and community and cultural enrichment.  The District was formed following a vote of property owners in 2009 to support a voluntary property tax to fund these additional services over the next 10 years.

The Downtown Oakalnd Association is a non-profit corporation with a Board of Directors, who are adamant in the belief that Oakland is a great City, deserving of national recognition for its assets—not its liabilities.

The district seeks to fund special services which will:

  • Provide supplemental security services through a seven-day a week ambassador program;
  • Provide maintenance services including: ongoing cleaning of sidewalks and gutters, graffiti removal, removal of abandoned news racks and parking meters, and new landscaping services throughout the district;
  • Promote programs and events that create a positive district identity;
  • Create safe havens to and from BART stations, particularly during the rush hour periods, and
  • Create new, dynamic and attractive public spaces that make property owners, businesses, employees, residents and visitors proud to be part of these two districts

The Downtown Oakland Association fosters an environment where businesses thrive, art flourishes, and residents and visitors alike can enjoy all that downtown Oakland has to offer. 

Ambassador Program

The Downtown Oakland Association has contracts with Block-by-Block, a national provider of security services, and locally-based Peralta Services Corporation to assist in maintenance efforts that improve the overall look of the district.  These contracts have resulted in the creation of more than two dozen permanent jobs in the District. The District also supports an internship program which provides summer jobs, sometimes leading to full time employment for young ambassadors.

On a typical day Security Ambassadors tour the district during business hours Monday through Saturday from 7:00 am until 9:00pm, with additional coverage for special events within and around the district.  Security ambassadors are skilled at resolving minor incidents and they keep an eye out for more serious issues, which they quickly report to local law enforcement.  Security Ambassadors serve as a direct liaison to the Oakland Police Department and their presence alone thwarts crime and enhances public safety.

While Security Ambassadors make sure that the districts are friendly and safe, Maintenance Ambassadors work diligently to create a clean and welcoming environment.  Sidewalk pressure washing, sweeping, recycling and trash management and graffiti removal are some of the ways that Maintenance Ambassadors work to improve the district. Maintenance Ambassadors work on beautification projects from 7:00 am until 3:30 pm Monday through Saturday. All Ambassadors are trained in customer service skills and are instructed to get to know property owners, employees and merchants.  Ambassadors act as a source of information to the public by offering assistance, answering questions, and providing directions.