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Homeless advocates intervene in closure of Oakland recycling center

Image from the movie Dogtown Redemption


Glass King, a recycling center in West Oakland that's a source of income and safety net for roughly 400 daily walk-up recyclers, is set to close on August 20th. That is, unless supporters of the center successfully petition the city to withdraw its orders to shut the center down. The Center exchanges $5 million each year with recyclers, according to the owners. But, it’s amassed complaints from neighbors and tens of thousands of dollars of fines, mostly for obstructing the right of way with recyclers' shopping carts.

The City of Oakland agreed to wave $17,000 of fines on the condition that the center close for good. Assistant City Administrator Claudia Cappio says ….

Supporters of Alliance Metals launched a petition last week asking the city to “find a compassionate solution” and grant the center extra time to relocate. In a letter to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff, the ACLU's Alan Schlosser wrote:

“Government actions that have such an adverse impact on vulnerable groups deserve special scrutiny—not just from courts but from local governments.” (Senior Council of the ACLU in an open letter to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff)

Activists were galvanized by Amir Soltani, whose film Dogtown Redemption documents Alliance Metals, the people who rely on it and the pressure of the gentrifying neighborhood around them.

AMIR SOLTANI: "They embody so much of what we—as members of the middle or upper class—fear, right? What happens when you lose your home? What happens when you lose your family? What happens? That's what happens. And still there's humanity. There's humanity in that recycling center."

Listen to the complete interview with Amir Soltani here.

Read more original reporting about Alliance Metals at the East Bay Express.