The fallout, both legal and logistical, from the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland in early December is going to continue for years to come. But in the initial wave of complaints and inspections in San Francisco, the impact appears to be somewhat minimal so far, even if it has meant the eviction of a handful of people who were living in what the city considers to be dangerous and unlivable conditions. The Examiner reports on three warehouses that have received orders from the San Francisco Fire Department for residents to vacate the premises. One situation involved "a basement packed with beds and styrofoam walls," and another had a "plank" that was used to connect people to a "makeshift mezzanine."
The story comes on the heels of an announcement Wednesday by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf that all landlords of such dwellings need to come forward themselves, to the city, and present an action plan for bringing their spaces into compliance without evicting tenants something which sounds good on paper but doesn't necessarily protect artists who have been getting by in substandard spaces, for cheap rent, that landlords might not want to invest any money in. They might just rather evict everyone and sell.
There was also a gathering in SF's Mission district for warehouse dwellers and landlords just after the new year in which city officials tried to ease people's minds that they were not on a witch hunt, and that some safety fixes might be relatively easy to do.
No doubt, though, the situation is one that could be used to landlords' advantage if they're looking to get rid of people, or if some third party wants a property for some other purpose.
The Ex speaks with Bernadette Bohan who runs the nine-year-old Box Factory arts space in the Mission, who recently had a scare with inspections from the SFFD and Department of Building Inspection who both arrived at her door days before Christmas, the result of a complaint from someone she'd worked with. On Facebook she relays the tale of how a retaliatory complaint from a person who had used her space for an event and who was trying to get out of paying some sum of money led to the inspections, and that the inspectors were very kind and said this happened all the time. Now, she tells the Ex, after having her sprinkler lines cleared and fire alarm tested, "We’re good to go and we’re safe. It’s just really unfair that people are complaining and freaking out the people who are living here. It’s just not fair."
She goes further on Facebook saying, "This is very telling of the pressures that everyone is feeling in our rapidly changing city, the state of affairs of our country and the world. Turning on each other, greed, people are in severe survival mode and in states of fear and aggression even though we live in abundance. We are all affected by this."