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Nonprofit 'Oakland Pride' Loses Headquarters To Gentrification

OAKLAND (CBS SF) -- The reality of gentrification has hit Oakland's LGBTQ community.

The non-profit Oakland Pride has been able to call the basement level its office for four years, thanks to Club BNB and Club 21 on Broadway and Franklin Streets. The LGBTQ nightclubs donated the space, saving the organization thousands of dollars in rent each year.

"This building itself has been part of the queer community for almost two decades, and to lose the space to gentrification, to office spaces, when the reality is we have a lot of space like that already in Oakland, it's a real tragedy," said Oakland Pride co-chair Carlos Uribe.

Uribe says the San Francisco-based real estate firm Ellis Partners intends to turn the property into shared tech space. Marketing materials feature more than 23,000 square feet on four levels, an open floor plan, and numerous amenities, in Downtown Oakland.

"Now that Oakland is cool, for lack of a better term, and everyone wants to be here, everyone wants to move in," said Uribe. "It's forcing a lot of long-term businesses, long-term residents and unfortunately the queer community out."

The annual Oakland Pride Parade and Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in September. The nearby office is where they store supplies, plan and hold meetings year round. For now, the volunteer-run non-profit has not found a new space.

"The Bench and Bar, which is the root of both of these clubs, they were founded 40 years ago, and they've been around through so much change in the community," said Oakland Pride Event Coordinator Katelyn Larson.

Outside the building, there are signs of gratitude and resistance to change. The group says the Oakland Pride Parade and Festival will still happen this year in September.

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