The Jack London Improvement District is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to create, promote and maintain an inviting environment for people who visit, live or work in the Jack London District. Our vision is for a safe, clean, thriving Jack London District open 24/7, with flourishing businesses, vibrant events and an environment that ensures community members and visitors may be enriched by the District's distinct history, unique beauty and diverse assets. Through programs focused on beautification, safety and promotion, we foster economic vitality and quality-of-life in Oakland's unique, historic urban waterfront community.
what we do
Maintenance, Beautification, and Safety
Our Terrific Ambassadors!
Jack London Improvement District partners with the organization Block by Block to provide a hardworking team of ambassadors to keep our streets inviting, clean, and safe.
Neighborhood Crime Prevention
Jack London Improvement District is providing the ongoing support and outreach for Beat 1X NCPC. This group enables collaboration between the Jack London community and public safety officials through our Community Resources Officer and our Neighborhood Services Coordinator, sharing best practices and finding solutions for safety issues that affect businesses, residents, and visitors. Regular meetings are held monthly, on the fourth Tuesday at 6:00pm, at the Jack London Improvement District Office. We encourage you to attend a meeting, get to know your neighbors, and get involved in keeping you community safe. Ongoing projects and advocacy to address chronic blight and safety issues in the district
Marketing and economic development
Promoting and Strengthening District Identity
Connecting Oakland's Waterfront with its Downtown
Attracting and Shaping Great Development
2018 Projects and Initiatives
Broadway Corridor Improvements
We want to make Broadway more inviting, accessible, safe and vibrant. This effort is made up of a group of projects including tree pruning, median-scaping, seasonal installations, wayfinding, and underpass improvements the Broadway Corridor. Broadway Betterment page →
Expansion of Tactical Urbanism and Wayfinding
In 2017 we developed a community and business-supported informal wayfinding program that is quick and inexpensive to deploy. We are working with business representatives as well as Visit Oakland on this effort.
The Jack London Improvement District is working to incorporate art and culture into the urban fabric of the District.
The Building Art Program was initiated to attract artists and identify space and resources to create and show work. Works to date include wall art, pop-up exhibitions, and original paintings on utility boxes in the District.
Our goal is to replace 3 vandalized art-covered utility boxes, and match contributing funds from private property owners to fund the Building Art Program to facilitate art installations, wall murals and art-wrapped utility boxes.
Special Events Promoting Local Businesses
To keep the community informed and engaged we will continue the sponsorship, partnership, or direct hosting of community events such as launch events for publicity of projects, developer outreach forums. Connects workers, visitors, residents with neighborhood amenities, promotes unique retail character of district. Project includes District business events to drive foot traffic and exposure to participating businesses, create district-specific visitor collateral for local hotels, in addition to ongoing promotion and marketing efforts.
Embarcadero Safety Improvements / Train Quiet Zone
Rail transit is on the rise through Jack London, and so is activity, visitor foot traffic, residential population, employment, and businesses. Community stakeholders in Jack London have long been interested in improving the pedestrian and vehicular train crossings in Jack London to create safer streets and facilitate a Train Quiet Zone, and many even contributed funds to begin the technical work necessary to kickstart the project. This long term project includes updating the original study for the project and fundraising for the capital improvements required to implement safer crossings and pedestrian and vehicular interfaces, and considers a Train Quiet Zone in Jack London.
Formal Wayfinding Signage
In 2017, we completed the Wayfinding Signage design and placement Plan in coordination with City, Port of Oakland, Jack London Square, WETA, Amtrak, Caltrans and community stakeholders by contracting directly with MmM Design, City of Oakland's wayfinding signage design consultant. This year we seek additional funds to immediately install selected designs at the priority sites.
Quarterly interactive, educational events with local leaders and subject matter experts explore development in Jack London such as retail, history of development, industry, and other topics of interest. Talks promote community engagement and inform District priorities in various areas of land use, economic development, and policy advocacy. Go to Panel Talks page →
Wondering when our next panel talk is? Go to our events calendar →
National Night Out Block Party
Every year we celebrate National Night Out with a district block party! We provide sponsorship, partnership, and hosting to support National Night Out in coordination with participating businesses. This is a great way to promote community engagement and strengthen partnerships in areas of public safety, economic, land use, retail, community resilience, and business promotion.
Waterfront Warehouse District Project
The Jack London Improvement District seeks to enhance, promote, and preserve the integrity of the Waterfront Warehouse District to bring awareness to the historical importance of the district and it’s distinct role in the history of Oakland. We desire to create high-impact fixtures and interactive programing to engage residents, employees, and visitors within the District. There are two projects initiated: the Facade Improvement Program that provides matching grants for property owners with qualifying projects within the District, and enhancements to the current Historic Signage Program created in early 2000’s that includes a collection of trash receptacles. Here's a summary from our 2017 community charette. Here's our Halfway Point Community Presentation from June 29, 2018.
Want to get involved with any of these projects? Email us at email@example.com or sign-up to stay informed and let us know about your interests in the neighborhood!
Who We Are
Savlan brings 10 years of experience in urban design and development in Mexico City and the San Francisco Bay Area to her role as Executive Director of the Jack London Improvement District—Oakland’s newest—and geographically largest--business improvement district. Prior to her role in Jack London, Savlan worked on multifaceted revitalization efforts through two major Area Specific Plans as consultant to the City of Oakland. Savlan holds a degree in Architecture from UC Berkeley, is a LEED AP, and Urban Land Institute's Chamberlin Public Sector Leader Fellow 2017-2019. By the age of 6, Savlan was in love with vibrant, urban environments as a busker, playing her fiddle on the streets of great West Coast Cities while on family vacations.
Operations Manager, Ambassador Team
Kaylee is fresh out of UC Berkeley's Human Geography program and is a new addition to the Oakland community. She has recently traveled around India and Europe, and settled into the Dimond district neighborhood. While at UC Berkeley, she lived in student cooperative housing and held multiple leadership and management positions. Kaylee grew up on a ranch in the greater San Diego area, and was always fascinated by the prospects of urban life. She is so pleased to be able to support the beauty and vibrancy of the most interesting and dynamic neighborhood in Oakland. She is responsible for the day-to-day operational support of the District.
Our Board of Directors
Mark Everton -President & CEO of Visit Oakland
President of the Board
Prior to his role as CEO, Everton had been serving as Interim President & CEO of Visit Oakland after the departure of Alison Best. He brings along over 30 years of experience in hotel and hospitality management. Most recently, he served as the Area Managing Director at Commune Hotels & Resorts for their Silicon Valley and San Francisco hotels and the General Manager of the Waterfront Hotel in Jack London Square. Mark has managed three of Oakland‘s full service hotels during his tenure in the industry.
Everton is an established community leader in Oakland. He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the Visit Oakland Board of Directors, most recently holding the title of CFO. Mark’s involvement with Oakland’s hospitality and business communities is multi-faceted as he also co-founded the Oakland Restaurant Association. Visit Oakland has been a valuable marketing partner for Jack London Improvement District through our initial branding development as well as a number of marketing campaigns including the Urban Wine Trail and Ale Trail; as well as a key advocacy partner in tackling challenging small business and economic development issues in Oakland, and Jack London in particular.
Paul Thyssen- Property Owner
Secretary of the Board
Paul Thyssen has lived in Oakland since 2007 and the Jack London District since 2010. Paul is the Director of Sales for Gallery Systems, Inc., a company that specializes in developing database software solutions for museums, private and corporate collectors, artists, foundations, universities, governments and other international cultural institutions. Paul has his BS in Mechanical and Network Engineering and has been instrumental in obtaining some of the most prestigious museums and cultural institutions as clients for his company. Paul is active in The Ellington Community Association and was previously Vice-President of the Board of Directors. Paul previously served on the Jack London District Association Board of Directors, where he was Co-Chair of the Land Use and Transportation Committee. Paul and his partner enjoy walks along the Jack London waterfront, the Farmer’s Market and the growing dining and entertainment scene in the district.
Jennifer Koidal - Representative of Property Owner
Treasurer of the Board
Jenni joined the Jack London Improvement District Board of Directors in April 2015. As the General Manager of Jack London Square with CIM Group, Jenni oversees the management, marketing, accounting, engineering, janitorial, security and landscaping departments for more than 15 square blocks of mixed use commercial real estate and common area for Ellis Partners and the Port of Oakland. Prior to joining Cushman & Wakefield, Jenni spent over 9 years with Sunset Development Company as a Senior Property Manager at Bishop Ranch in San Ramon, an office park boasting over 600 thriving companies in more than 30 industries. In this role she acted as Portfolio Manager for over a million square feet of Class A office space, and oversaw all operations as well as capital and tenant improvements. Jenni has been particularly focused on District-wide improvements important to businesses and visitors, issues such as safety and illegal dumping.
Erin Coburn - Business Owner, Minimo Wine Shop
Erin is co-owner of minimo, a natural wine shop in Jack London which she opened in 2015. Erin previously had a 20-year career in museums, spending the bulk of that time working at the Getty in Los Angeles before moving to New York to run
the Met’s Digital Media Department. Throughout her time in New York’s art world, her roots in California were ever-present, and Erin knew she wanted to open a wine shop. Minimo is community-focused and Erin’s intent is that it serve as a model for retail in a diverse, changing neighborhood. Erin has worked collaboratively to build commercial community in Jack London through her business. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for two terms, Erin has been a dedicated volunteer focused on District projects of particular interest to Jack London merchants including branding, beautification, and development.
Peter Gertler - Property Owner
Peter has lived and raised his family in Oakland for over 30 years, and has been an owner and resident in the Jack London District for over 5 years. He has been a Board member of JLID for 3 years, and has served on the Executive Committee as Secretary and led the Train Quiet Zone Initiative during his tenure.
Peter has over 30 years of experience in the development, design and program management of transportation infrastructure and rail projects. He has held various leadership positions in major US based engineering consulting firms, global technology firms and with the Bay Area Transit District (BART). Currently he is a Senior Vice President for strategic sales and advisory services at HNTB, and previously was a Director of their High Speed, and Rail and Transit Practice. Peter leads strategic program business development and practice building in the transportation infrastructure market and serves as a subject matter expert on rail programs. HNTB is a national leader in transportation and rail projects and is currently leading major sections on the California High Speed Rail Program and other projects and program in the US.
Sam Nassif - Business Owner, Z Hotel
Sam W. Nassif is a Managing Principal at the Z Hotel, a remodeled and rebranded boutique hotel in Jack London. Sam currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Visit Oakland, is the Co- founder and past Chairman of the Oakland Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and has been a member of the Jack London Improvement District Board since 2015.
Sam is a hospitality veteran who spent 22 years with Hilton Hotels Corporation. He came to Oakland in 1987 as General Manager for the Hilton Oakland Airport, and in 1991, he left Hilton to pursue an independent hospitality career. He joined the Waterfront Plaza Hotel in 1993 as General Manager and became partner shortly after. In 1997, he founded Creative Hospitality Corporation, a hospitality consulting firm, and took the management contracts for the Waterfront Plaza Hotel, the historic Hotel Durant and the Park Plaza Hotel before selling the hotels prior to the economic recession. Sam is also a licensed California Real Estate Broker with a degree in Business Administration.
Sara May - Representative of Property Owner
Sara May is an Oakland Resident, California native and alumnus of San Francisco State University. In August she joined the board of the Downtown Oakland Association. Sara is currently Director of Operations at Metrovation, an Oakland-based specialty real estate company that conceptualizes, creates, markets and manages unique properties that bring new possibilities and new life to places. Metrovation creates compelling, energetic properties that stimulate growth while remaining true to the character of the communities in which they are located. Metrovation develops, owns, and manages six commercial properties located throughout the District totaling approximately 200,000 square feet, including majority ownership of the residential condo project at 200 Second Street. Metrovation has been a major property owner/operator in the District since the early 1980s.
Vivian Kahn - Business Owner and Property Owner
Vivian Kahn, FAICP, is a 40+ year resident of Oakland who has lived in the Phoenix Lofts at far-western end of the District for more than three years. She is an Associate Principal with Dyett & Bhatia, city and regional planning consultants, in San Francisco and is also a partner with her husband Larry Mortimer, AIA, in Kahn/Mortimer/Associates, a planning and architecture consulting firm based in Oakland. Vivian’s long involvement in Bay Area and Oakland civic activities includes serving on the Boards of the Greenbelt Alliance, Jubilee West, West Oakland Housing Corporation, and Eden Council for Hope and Opportunity and as president of the Metropolitan Greater Oakland Democratic Club. Vivian, Larry, and their bully dog Hennessy particularly enjoy Jack London’s many great drinking and dining spots including Bocanova, Heinhold’s, The Fat Lady, Urban Legend, Campovida and Venga Paella.
Chris Pastena - Property Owner & Business Owner of Chop Bar, Lungomare and Calavera Restaurants
Chris Pastena has been in the restaurant industry for 28 plus years . Over the many years of living and working in Oakland, Chris and his wife, Jana Pastena, have developed deep ties in the East Bay's hospitality community. A central tenet of their work is to actively support local growers and artisans of all types. Coupled with Chris’ passion for a wide variety of restaurant projects, this unwavering focus has resulted in Chris creating vibrant and welcoming restaurants that offer thoughtful menus highlighting the best ingredients the Bay Area has to offer. In 2009, Chris opened Chop Bar restaurant in Oakland, which quickly became wildly popular, receiving national acclaim for its food, cocktails, wine program, and décor. Lungomare opened in February 2013 with coastal Italian-inspired fare and a prime waterfront location in Oakland's Jack London Square . In 2015, Chris opened Calavera, a beautiful and stylish restaurant serving regional Mexican - inspired fare and the Bay Area’s largest selection of tequilas and mezcals. Chris and his wife, Jana, continue to actively give back to the community through special events and support of a variety of local organizations.
Greg has a degree in Architecture from Yale University and is currently Director of Development with Carmel Partners, leading entitlement and execution of multiple large-scale multifamily projects in the East Bay. In the entitlement and development of 4th Street East, Greg and his team worked with staff to engage the community. In Jack London he has worked closely with the Improvement District to advocate for over $300K of impact fees allocated towards façade improvement funds and the Waterfront Warehouse District Signage program. Greg also is working to address the condition of the I-880 underpass gateways to the District, having advocated for the change of a council ordinance to allow the project’s 1% for Art funds to be implemented for an installation at the Madison Street Underpass. Greg also advocates for better access to the District through attendance at the Oakland Alameda Access Project and Downtown Specific Plan project meetings.
Taj is VP of External Affairs, Office of the President of the Oakland Athletics. Prior to his role with the A’s, Taj has had leadership experience in global brand engagement, strategy, and external affairs with Toyota, Hilton Hotels, and Hyundai. Taj began community outreach to the District starting in 2017, before the A’s Headquarters moved to Jack London Square. Since bringing over 200 employees to Jack London Square, Taj has been collaborating with District staff to connect the A’s office to local businesses and organizations, and patronize Jack London merchants. Additionally Taj is leading the community outreach about a potential downtown baseball stadium at Howard Terminal.
Work With Us
Want to know about our volunteer opportunities? We would love to have you! Please fill out this form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
GOT AN EMPTY SPACE OR A BLANK WALL?
Jack London is initiating a pilot project to match temporary art installations with vacancies and building walls in the District. Working with local arts groups, the District is working to bring vibrancy and beauty to empty commercial spaces, blighted areas, blank walls, and graffiti hotspots while engaging Oakland's unparalleled visual and cultural arts community.
“Illuminate Jack London” Jack London Improvement District with The Great Wall of Oakland from The Great Wall of Oakland on Vimeo.
CALL FOR ARTISTS
Oakland Mural Festival 2018 seeks artists to participate for a one-week festival hosted in Jack London District in May! Application found here. Deadline: February 12, 2018.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS
Walk this Way: The Broadway/Webster Project
The City of Oakland invites talented, experienced, multidisciplinary Design Teams to submit qualifications and a conceptual design approach to redesign the areas around, under and through Broadway and Webster Street underpasses of the I-880 Freeway, and to develop a toolkit of design elements that can be applied to other underpasses in Oakland. More Information can be found here.
Board of Directors Application
Are you interested in serving on the Jack London Improvement District Board of Directors? We are seeking enthusiastic partners who will work to drive our projects and improvements forward.
An applicant may be a property owner within the boundaries of the district, a representative of a property owner (such as a property manager), or an Oakland Business licensee within the boundaries of the district. Applications accepted continuously. The Board of Directors meets on the second Monday of each month. A board member can expect to dedicate 50 hours annually, in addition to special projects and events of interest.
All eligible candidates will be brought as nominees before the Board of Directors for election of new directors at the annual meeting in November. Candidates will be considered based on their participation in Jack London Improvement District's programs and projects, and relevant expertise to the Board and organization.