Stop Bay Area Artist Evictions: Call for Moratorium on Fire Inspections

  • by: Julie M.
  • target: Angus McCarthy, President, SF Board of Building Inspection; Joanne Hayes-White, San Francisco Fire Department Chief; ‎Teresa Deloach Reed, Oakland Fire Chief; Oakland Building Services Department, California
The Oakland Ghost Ship fire was absolutely tragic, and our community continues to mourn the loss of so many talented, inspiring individuals. Unfortunately, city governments in San Francisco and Oakland are making things worse in their response. These cities are conducting witch hunts of artist warehouse spaces, knocking on their doors and evicting the mostly low-income artists living there.

It's hard to get a number of how many evictions have occurred, but at least 9 have been inspected or evicted so far.

This is obvious and should not need to be said: the Bay Area has a crisis in affordable housing. Conducting fire inspections that result in evictions is NOT the answer in this environment. These cities have created ridiculous amounts of red tape that limit new building construction and code updates. Oakland rents are up 70% in last 5 years - the most of any city in the country. The city is largely responsible for the housing crisis, and now they are making it worse.

Many of my friends live in artist warehouses. I am so scared of them becoming homeless or needing to leave the Bay, the place they call home, entirely. Please sign this petition to call on the San Francisco and Oakland Fire Department and the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection to:
  • IMMEDIATELY CEASE unsolicited artist building inspections until more resources are in place for artists to either 1) bring their buildings up to code in an affordable way OR 2) access new affordable housing
  • OR Not be so heavy-handed in inspections and enforcement that evictions result
  • AND/OR Waive permit fees associated with upgrades like sprinkler systems, exits, etc. anywhere this is possible.
The folks conducting these inspections are well-intentioned and want people to be safe, but MUST consider the consequences. Many artists would rather take on the risks involved in living in a building that they or their landlord can't afford to bring up to code over being homeless or forced out of their community. Please sign to tell the city to work WITH, not against, artists.
The Oakland Ghost Ship fire was absolutely tragic, and our community continues to mourn the loss of so many talented, inspiring individuals. Unfortunately, city governments in San Francisco and Oakland are making things worse in their response. These cities are conducting witch hunts of artist warehouse spaces, knocking on their doors and evicting the mostly low-income artists living there. 

It's hard to get a number of how many evictions have occurred, but at least 9 have been inspected or evicted so far.

This is obvious and should not need to be said: the Bay Area has a crisis in affordable housing. Conducting fire inspections that result in evictions is NOT the answer in this environment. These cities have created ridiculous amounts of red tape that limit new building construction and code updates. Oakland rents are up 70% in last 5 years - the most of any city in the country. The city is largely responsible for the housing crisis, and now they are making it worse.

We the undersigned call othe San Francisco and Oakland Fire Department and the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection to:


  • IMMEDIATELY CEASE unsolicited artist building inspections until more resources are in place for artists to either 1) bring their buildings up to code in an affordable way OR 2) access new affordable housing

  • OR Not be so heavy-handed in inspections and enforcement that evictions result

  • AND/OR Waive permit fees associated with upgrades like sprinkler systems, exits, etc. anywhere this is possible.


The folks conducting these inspections are well-intentioned and want people to be safe, but MUST consider the consequences. Many artists would rather take on the risks involved in living in a building that they or their landlord can't afford to bring up to code over being homeless or forced out of their community. Please, San Francisco and Oakland: work WITH, not against, artists.
Update #2about a year ago
Today I gave a short speech and delivered nearly 10,000 of your signatures to the SF Board of Building Inspections asking them to stop the crackdown on artist warehouse spaces. The Board was incredibly sympathetic! View coverage on NBC here, and please continue to share the petition!
Update #1about a year ago
I will be delivering these petition signatures in person at the SF Department of Building Inspection public meeting at City Hall, Room 416, on Wed, Dec. 21st at 9 a.m. Please attend if you can. The more voices, the better! And share on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2h77WiG
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