In October 2011, Occupy protesters set up tents and encampments in Frank Ogawa Plaza as a way to show solidarity with the global Occupy movement. By October 12, the city of Oakland had taken note and, on October 25, the encampment was cleared out by Oakland police and other law enforcement agencies.  During that action, Iraq vet Scott Olsen was hit in the head by a metal canister and suffered a fractured skull and brain swelling; more than 100 people were arrested that night and Oakland was suddenly in the spotlight once again.‎

During the year or more that Occupy Oakland raged through and within the City, our non-profit news site Oakland Local devoted time and resources to both covering the events and posting opinion pieces by community members about their views. Our coverage was self-funded until it became obvious we needed to supply more news than we could afford:  at that point, we ran a crowd-funding campaign and local residents–and  some of  those reading from afar–kicked in the $3,000 we needed to expand our coverage pool.

During this most recent anniversary and look back at Occupy Oakland–an event that truly helped shape the Oakland of today and many of its community leaders–we thought it would be good to revisit some of the news coverage from that time that reflected our evolving understanding of what was going on.  You can read a list of the most-read stories from 2011 in our 2012 coverage round-up , but what we’ve done this time is to go all the way back to the early days and share some of the pieces that best reflect community views and Oakland Local’s in-depth coverage. We’re including both the date the story ran and the author’s name, so you can see the timeline evolve.



During the year(s) of Occupy, we watched the city and its residents become weary, furious, and resigned, as if Occupy’s colonization of Oakland was some sort of chrysalis or incubator representing what a working-class city looks like when its government and resident Occupy-istas feed on its soul. We’d love to hear more about what you think the legacy of Occupy is for Oakland–both the lessons learned and the scars, the amazing discoveries and triumphs and the hopes that failed.

View more images of Occupy Oakland here.  Oaklanders share their feelings on the two-year anniversary here.  Read a history and analysis of the movement here.

Editor’s Note: You can follow coverage and discussion of the Occupy movements at and at our archive: and please keep in mind that many of our more serious reporting beats are funded by individual donors and contributors.

If you’d like to make a tax deductible contribution to fund our city hall beat, reporting on police accountability and public safety, and/or our coverage of education in Oakland schools, we’d be thrilled–and make your dollars go far. Click here to give and for more information.

About The Author

Susan Mernit is editor & publisher of Oakland Local ( a news & community hub for Oakland, CA. A former VP at AOL & Netscape, & former! Yahoo Senior Director, Mernit was consulting program manager for The Knight News Challenge, 2008-09; was a 2012 Stanford Carlos McClatchy Fellow; and is a board adviser to The Center for Health Reporting at USC, Annenberg School of Journalism. She has consulted with many non-profit organizations on strategy, product development and social media/engagement, including, TechSoup Global, Public Radio International and the Institute for Policy Studies/Economic Hardship Reporting Project, led by Barbara Ehrenreich.

4 Responses

  1. Larry Marcus

    It is my personal belief that any attempt to glorify Occupy Oakland is a true tragedy to the City, residents and businesses of Oakland. Occupy Oakland was a blight on this City. On the same week that the City was putting up new signs everywhere in the City saying “Invest in Oakland” “Prosper in Oakland” “Live in Oakland” the City was kowtowing to a group that was in fact trying to bring civility and prosperity down in Oakland.

    This was distructive and ugly chapter in Oakland’s history. You don’t have helicopters circling a city all through the night for a peaceful demonstration. You don’t have the trashing of businesses, the breaking of windows, to encourage investing in Oakland. Nothing good came out of this episode. And a lot of harm was done to the reputation and good will that others in Oakland have been working hard for years to develop.

    It was a sick feeling I had each morning walking by the bank where I do business and seeing that the doors were closed, the atm’s closed down, windows broken. This is where I depend to have access to my hard earned money, that I rely on completely to go about my daily life in this City.

    Occupy Oakland went a long way confirming to everyone outside of Oakland why they don’t come to Oakland or would never think of coming to Oakland. Other Cities just don’t put up with this kind of hoodlumism and destruction. Money that went towards rebuilding the City after Occupy Oakland, should have been spent on making the City a better place, with better schools and better police, fire, and parks systems. Not to pay for helicopter surveiliance, and repairs to public and private property.

    That is my opinion and I am an Oakland Resident

  2. Hugh

    Well said Larry…thank you.

    I don’t see what positives came out of the movement. I’m not aware of any laws on Wall St that was change as a result of the movement. Those who participated with the movement were trying to vent their frustration on a vulnerable target…and Oakland just happen to weak target to were praying on, similar to how Reginald Denny was the weak target the “LA Four” peak on during the beginning of the LA Riots.

    Those in New York (the Wall Streeter’s) didn’t even know that was a movement in Oakland where they were supposedly the main target.

    What did the movement accomplish? Nothing really.

    Who was the biggest loser of the movement…Oakland.

  3. Bernadine horne

    There was no value added by the movement. It was awful for our city and the youth of Oakland. The movement had no care for the people of Oakland. I am still angry about how they were allowed to take over our city and blame the OPD for their issue when in fact they were the problem. I still can’t believe that they got away with turning our city upside down. I hope that are never allowed to return.


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