Oakland’s Measure Q Boosts Parks, Homeless Services

by on January 7, 2020

The City of Oakland has placed Measure Q on the March 3, 2020 ballot.  Measure Q is a Parcel Tax that will raise $21 million dollars annually for Parks Maintenance, Homeless Services and Water Quality improvements.

Oakland desperately needs new revenue for both parks and homeless services.

Our homeless population has increased to an all-time high and services are stretched thin.  Parks have been living off a funding stream that was put in place in 1989 and has had no increase since then (If that 1989 funding stream had a CPI in place, it would no-doubt generate double the current funding).  The deficit in funding has resulted in major reductions in services to Oakland Parks.  Measure Q will bring specific deliverables to improve Park Maintenance.

Oakland’s homeless services are in high demand as the numbers have surged to over 4,000 in the last count, a 47% increase in two years.  Oakland is completing the Permanent Access to Housing (PATH) Strategy with housing and homeless policies.  New, steady funding is critical to assuring that Homeless services can expand with the increased demands.  Many of the encampments are in the Parks and the combination of increased funding for parks and homeless will assist with providing support to both.

Measure Q contains strong accountability, Annual Financial Audits, City Auditors Audits, Oversight Commission, clear deliverables and a special fund.

Here is the official ballot argument  for Measure Q:

Measure Q will clean up our local parks, waterways and recreation areas while also addressing Oakland’s homelessness crisis. It will provide our most vulnerable populations with access to support services that help them find shelters and housing, and help to ensure that all Oakland parks, estuaries, and recreation centers are clean, safe, and equitably well-maintained.

Oakland’s parks and recreation centers are critical to our community, hosting after-school programs, arts instruction, community meetings, senior events, and a variety of sports and other activities valued by residents.  But while use of our parks and recreation centers has grown tremendously, the investment required to keep these areas clean and protect our water supply has not increased.

At the same time, Oakland’s homelessness crisis continues and the park system is not equipped to provide the necessary services for our unsheltered communities.  Our neighbors struggling with the high cost of housing in the Bay Area need assistance to avoid homelessness, and those who’ve become homeless need pathways into housing.

Specifically, Measure Q will:

  • Provide programs to help homeless individuals, including those living in or near parks, move into shelters and obtain housing and support services.
  • Increase removal of trash and debris from city parks and recreation areas.
  • Increase restroom cleaning at parks and recreation centers.
  • Mow playing fields more frequently.
  • Protect the water quality in Oakland’s creeks, streams, Lake Merritt and the Estuary.

Please read Measure Q (available at www.yesforoakland.com) to see specific projects and services that will result from its passage. Independent community oversight of Measure Q is required.

Measure Q specifically exempts seniors, low-income Oaklanders, and affordable rental housing.

Join civic leaders, park users, homeless advocates, and residents from every Oakland neighborhood who’ve joined together to show that Oaklanders value our parks and all our residents!

Vote Yes on Q.


Ballot Signatories: 

  1. Chris Jackson, Sierra Club, SF Bay Chapter
  2. Deborah Shefler, President, League of Women Voters of Oakland
  3. Rue Mapp, Founder and CEO, Outdoor Afro
  4. James Vann, Oakland Tenants Union
  5. Barbara Leslie, CEO, Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce


Brooke A Levin is the former Director of Oakland Public works and long time Oakland resident.  She has worked to enhance stewardship of the community through hands on efforts and action.

Filed under: Bay Area / California