Commercial areas in California can form Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) — also called “Community Benefits Districts” (CBDs) — to create a new tax assessment and pay for supplemental services that are traditionally provided by local government. This includes services as innocuous as additional street sweeping and graffitti clean-up, but also more substantial things like private security and public restrooms. CBDs/BIDs are created cooperatively between the local jurisdiction and local property owners, with the weighted majority of those paying the additional tax needed to form the district. All property owners that benefit from the additional services, including businesses, government, nonprofits, and residents, pay the additional assessment.

Downtown Oakland Association

downtown Oakland CBDThe Downtown Oakland Association is a Community Benefit District (CBD) 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.

Fruitvale Business Improvement District

The Fruitvale (BID) is a neighborhood commercial revitalization program focused on the International Boulevard & Fruitvale Avenue (Zone 1) and Foothill Boulevard (Zone 2) commercial corridors.  At the start of the program in 2001, commercial property owners voted to adopt a BID to continue revitalization efforts started under the Main Street Program, which the Unity Council had implemented since 1996.  In 2006, owners renewed their commitment to supporting revitalization activities for an additional five years.  The BID currently supports upwards of 350 businesses throughout the Fruitvale.

Koreatown/Northgate BID

KoNo LogoThe Koreatown Northgate district is a lively and diverse business district on Telegraph Avenue between 20th and 35th streets in Oakland, CA. The Koreatown Northgate district is situated in-between Oakland’s growing Uptown Arts and Entertainment District and the thriving Temescal-Telegraph business district. It sits adjacent to the Broadway Auto Row district and the MacArthur BART station, as well as to The Hive and HUB Oakland.

Laurel District Association

Laurel LogoThe Laurel District Association (LDA) is a 501(c)(3) property-based Business Improvement District (PBID) established to revitalize the commercial corridor. The property owners on MacArthur Blvd from 35th Ave to High Street voted to pay an additional assessment tax based on the square footage, useage, and frontage of the lot size. The assessments are managed by the Board of Directors according to the District Management Plan passed by City Council December of 2005.

jlda_logo_grey_150Jack London District Association

The Jack London District of Oakland has a long and rich heritage. Encompassing more than seventy blocks (aerial map) along the Estuary, it is the site of much of Oakland’s earliest history. Today, the district is one of the hottest locations for development in the East Bay. In addition to hundreds of apartments, condos and loft conversions built in the past few years, more than 300 new condos are under construction or in advanced planning in the district. A $300 million, 15-year redevelopment of Jack London Square is also under way. In order to ensure that development meets the needs of current and future residents and business owners, the Jack London District Association (JLDA) was formed in April 2005 as a non-profit organization. It was awarded 501(c)(3) non-profit status in July 2006.

Lakeshore Avenue Business Improvement District

lakeshore logoThe Lakeshore Avenue Business Improvement District was the first BID in the City of Oakland. In 1998 the property owners on Lakeshore and later Lake Park Avenues, joined together to form this non-profit by voting to assess themselves additional fees-based on a combination of frontage and square footage of their properties.

Montclair Village Association

montc_logoThe Montclair Village Association (MVA) is a Business Improvement District made up of approximately 210 retail and service businesses located in Montclair Village.  The MVA was previously known as the Montclair Business Association (MBA) for over 50 years. In 2001 the businesses located in Montclair Village voted to become a Business Improvement District by agreeing to pay an additional assessment each year to the City of Oakland based on their gross revenue.

Rockridge District Association

rockridge_logoThe Rockridge District is a commercial and residential neighborhood in North Oakland.  The Rockridge District Association is dedicated to enhancing Rockridge through public works as well as promotional and beautification initiatives to make a strong, vibrant, diverse business center.


temescal_logoIn August 2004, commercial and residential property owners along Telegraph Avenue and adjoining areas voted to form a special benefits assessment district along Telegraph Avenue from 40th to 66th Street (Berkeley border), including small portions of Shattuck Avenue, 51st Street, Claremont Avenue, and also Children’s Hospital. This is known as the Temescal/Telegraph Business Improvement District (“Temescal Telegraph BID”).

Lake Merritt/Uptown Association

uptownlogoThe Lake Merritt/ Uptown Association is Community Benefit District (CBD) which serves to revitalize a 37-block area in the heart of Oakland, California. The District was formed in 2009 by property owners who supported a voluntary property tax by a margin of almost 8 to 1 supporting a 10-year property tax designed to fund the additional services to the community over the next 10 years.

See a related story on CBDs here.


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.

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