Odessa’s Catacombs: Same Strange Bomb Shelter, Different Enemy

Young Ukrainians are transforming a network of underground tunnels in Ukraine’s southern port city into bomb shelters.

Five stories below the streets of Odessa, there’s a labyrinth of tunnels. 1,500 miles of them have provided, in the best of times, a challenge for urban explorers like Roman Mauser. 

In the worst of times, it’s been a sanctuary for the unthinkable.  

“In Soviet times, it was decided to make bomb shelter inside the catacombs because they lay very deep underground,” said Mauser. 

The foe then was the United States and the fear of nuclear bombs dropping on Odessa.  

“It was designed to protect from nuclear blast wave to doors,” said Mauser. 

The Cold War thawed, the Soviet Union dissolved, Ukraine gained its independence and the catacomb’s relevance slid into that of a rusty, dusty curiosity. 

But then Putin trained his missiles on the prized seaport city above it. Since February, strikes have killed more than 30 people. 

And with frontline fighting just 90 miles away, the city remains under constant threat. 

ROMAN MAUSER: The idea to use this place as a bomb shelter came almost immediately when the first shock from the first cruise missiles came. We understood that it will be a long term war.   

NEWSY’S JASON BELLINI: What did you have to do to prepare it for people to be down here?   

MAUSER: First of all, build places people can rest.  

BELLINI: This doesn’t seem very comfortable. 

MAUSER: It’s comfortable enough. If you hide from cruise missiles. 

Mauser and his friends hauled down wood, and plastic crates, to build beds, benches and a dining table.  

MAUSER: For me when the war started. I donated almost all my resources I could. 

An electrical engineer by profession, Mauser established a way to maintain contact with the world above. And he strung electrical wires down into the dark depths. 

MAUSER: The waves go through this cable and you will have internet. I brought more than 200 meters of my own cable here. 

BELLINI: You brought electricity down here where it wasn’t before? 

MAUSER: Nothing. It was completely abandoned. We cleaned this place.  

BELLINI: All this stuff down here. The water, these plastic bags. Who do those belong to?

MAUSER: This supplies were brought by people who live nearby, and everybody has his own place here.  

Back in May, on Russia’s victory day, more than 100 people sought shelter in the catacombs. 

MAUSER: People with children, dogs, cats, old people, everybody. Because people are really afraid that Putin will launch lots of cruise missiles.

In finding safety beneath their city, they became part of a long line of the underground’s hiders and seekers. 

MAUSER: During the time of the Russian empire, catacombs were used by criminals to hide from policemen and [for smuggling]. During the time of the Second World War, catacombs were used by partisans as shelters to fight with Nazi invaders. And now, in 2022, we again make a bomb shelter in this place. So every period of time, catacombs were used somehow. These drawings are very old. Made by miners, I think.  

Miners of the 19th century who excavated the limestone with which Odessans built their city by the sea into a world-renowned metropolis.  

Eventually, 20th century highrises caused the collapse of some sections of the catacombs. Other parts can only be accessed with specialized equipment.  

BELLINI: Past this point it gets a lot narrower and a lot less headspace. And I’m told if you keep walking for about an hour through these tunnels, you’ll eventually come to an area where it’s flooded and a natural lake under the city exists.  

MAUSER: It’s very difficult to live in catacombs, very difficult for one week, maybe for one month is some sort of hell — for one year it’s like a post-apocalypse game.  

Despite the dangers of war, Mauser continues his YouTube channel documenting his Odesian underground odysseys.

MAUSER: We do not know what will happen in this war. We do not know what Putin will do. We also, we are really afraid of nuclear attack. If he will get a lack of conventional weapons, the only power he will still have is his nuclear weapons. And this place can save you for a long time. The underground world will save lives if there will be a need for it.  

Source: newsy.com

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Odesa’s Catacombs: Same Strange Bomb Shelter, Different Enemy

Young Ukrainians are transforming a network of underground tunnels in Ukraine’s southern port city into bomb shelters.

Five stories below the streets of Odesa, there’s a labyrinth of tunnels. 1,500 miles of them have provided, in the best of times, a challenge for urban explorers like Roman Mauser. 

In the worst of times, it’s been a sanctuary for the unthinkable.  

“In Soviet times, it was decided to make bomb shelter inside the catacombs because they lay very deep underground,” said Mauser. 

The foe then was the United States and the fear of nuclear bombs dropping on Odesa.  

“It was designed to protect from nuclear blast wave to doors,” said Mauser. 

The Cold War thawed, the Soviet Union dissolved, Ukraine gained its independence and the catacombs’ relevance slid into that of a rusty, dusty curiosity. 

But then Russian President Vladimir Putin trained his missiles on the prized seaport city above it. Since February, strikes have killed more than 30 people. 

And with front-line fighting just 90 miles away, the city remains under constant threat. 

ROMAN MAUSER: The idea to use this place as a bomb shelter came almost immediately when the first shock from the first cruise missiles came. We understood that it will be a long-term war.   

NEWSY’S JASON BELLINI: What did you have to do to prepare it for people to be down here?   

MAUSER: First of all, build places people can rest.  

BELLINI: This doesn’t seem very comfortable. 

MAUSER: It’s comfortable enough. If you hide from cruise missiles. 

Mauser and his friends hauled down wood and plastic crates to build beds, benches and a dining table.  

MAUSER: For me when the war started. I donated almost all my resources I could. 

An electrical engineer by profession, Mauser established a way to maintain contact with the world above. And he strung electrical wires down into the dark depths. 

MAUSER: The waves go through this cable and you will have internet. I brought more than 200 meters of my own cable here. 

BELLINI: You brought electricity down here where it wasn’t before? 

MAUSER: Nothing. It was completely abandoned. We cleaned this place.  

BELLINI: All this stuff down here. The water, these plastic bags. Who do those belong to?

MAUSER: This supplies were brought by people who live nearby, and everybody has his own place here.  

Back in May, on Russia’s victory day, more than 100 people sought shelter in the catacombs. 

MAUSER: People with children, dogs, cats, old people, everybody. Because people are really afraid that Putin will launch lots of cruise missiles.

In finding safety beneath their city, they became part of a long line of the underground’s hiders and seekers. 

MAUSER: During the time of the Russian empire, catacombs were used by criminals to hide from policemen and [for smuggling]. During the time of the Second World War, catacombs were used by partisans as shelters to fight with Nazi invaders. And now, in 2022, we again make a bomb shelter in this place. So every period of time, catacombs were used somehow. These drawings are very old. Made by miners, I think.  

Miners of the 19th century excavated the limestone with which Odesans built their city by the sea into a world-renowned metropolis.  

Eventually, 20th century high-rises caused the collapse of some sections of the catacombs. Other parts can only be accessed with specialized equipment.  

BELLINI: Past this point it gets a lot narrower and there’s a lot less headspace. And I’m told if you keep walking for about an hour through these tunnels, you’ll eventually come to an area where it’s flooded, and a natural lake under the city exists.  

MAUSER: It’s very difficult to live in catacombs, very difficult for one week, maybe for one month is some sort of hell — for one year it’s like a post-apocalypse game.  

Despite the dangers of war, Mauser continues his YouTube channel documenting his Odesian underground odysseys.

MAUSER: We do not know what will happen in this war. We do not know what Putin will do. We also, we are really afraid of nuclear attack. If he will get a lack of conventional weapons, the only power he will still have is his nuclear weapons. And this place can save you for a long time. The underground world will save lives if there will be a need for it.

Source: newsy.com

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Firefighters Face Heat Wave As They Battle California Wildfires

About 400 firefighters aided by aircraft managed to quell the explosive growth of the Route Fire, which had scorched more than 8 square miles.

Firefighters battling a Southern California wildfire were pulled back at times to find rest and shade on Thursday, a day after seven were sent to the hospital in the midst of a grueling heat wave.

Progress on the Route Fire in northwestern Los Angeles County gave strike team leaders the luxury of splitting and rotating their crews for breaks, fire Capt. Sheila Kelliher-Berkoh said.

“There’s no stand-down work order but they’re really pacing the work,” with some firefighters able to take 20-minute breaks and find shade back of the fire line before returning to the job of stamping out hot spots, Kelliher-Berkoh said.

Firefighters are “industrial athletes” who might be hauling up to 50 pounds of gear in addition to their boots, clothing and helmets, and keeping them safe is a priority, especially as they work in steep terrain in extreme heat, Kelliher-Berkoh said.

No one suffered heat exhaustion on Friday so “the strategy seems to be working,” she said.

The blaze in Castaic was 27% contained Thursday night.

Progress also was made on a fire in eastern San Diego County near the U.S.-Mexico border that left two people hospitalized with critical second- and third-degree burns, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The victims were burned after apparently crossing the border, and five other people had to be rescued, Tony Mecham, Cal Fire unit chief in San Diego County, said at a news conference.

“Those people ran for their lives,” he said. “”They had a very close call.”

The blaze also destroyed three homes and seven other buildings.

“It wiped everything out, the only thing I have left is the clothes on my back, so far I saved one of my dogs and two of the cats,” Ronnie Fukuda, who lost his home in the community of Potrero, told KSWB-TV.

The Border 32 Fire in the Dulzura area grew to nearly 7 square miles on Wednesday and prompting evacuation orders for about 1,500 people in hundreds of residences. However, the fire had stalled on Thursday. It was 14% contained and some people were allowed to return home, fire officials said.

The fires erupted as California broiled under a heat wave that was expected to last through Labor Day, sparking concerns about the threat of new blazes in tinder-dry brush. Triple-digit forecasts also prompted worries about straining the state’s electrical grid as people turned to their air conditioners. The California Independent System Operator, which oversees the grid, issued a “Flex Alert” call for voluntary conservation between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday — the third alert in a row.

At the Route Fire in Castaic, seven firefighters were sent to the hospital on Wednesday with heat-related problems before being released. Temperatures remained torrid on Friday, topping out at 112 degrees in Castaic.

However, about 400 firefighters aided by aircraft managed to quell the explosive growth of the blaze, which had scorched more than 8 square miles and destroyed a house. No homes remained threatened and evacuations were lifted, fire officials said.

The fire closed Interstate 5, a major north-south route but some lanes had reopened, although the highway remained jammed, especially by big-rigs.

Wildfires have sprung up this summer throughout the Western states. The largest and deadliest blaze in California so far this year erupted in July in Siskiyou County. It killed four people and destroyed much of the small community of Klamath River.

Scientists say climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the last three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Firefighters Partially Surround Deadly California Fire

The fire broke out last Friday and has charred nearly 90 square miles of forestland, left tinder-dry by drought.

Firefighters have gotten their first hold on California’s deadliest and most destructive fire of the year and expected that the blaze would remain stalled through the weekend.

The McKinney Fire near the Oregon border was 10% contained as of Wednesday night and bulldozers and hand crews were making progress carving firebreaks around much of the rest of the blaze, fire officials said at a community meeting.

The southeastern corner of the blaze above the Siskiyou County seat of Yreka, which has about 7,800 residents, was contained. Evacuation orders for sections of the town and Hawkinsville were downgraded to warnings, allowing people to return home but with a warning that the situation remained dangerous.

About 1,300 residents remained under evacuation orders, officials said.

The fire didn’t advance Wednesday, following several days of brief but heavy rain from thunderstorms that provided cloudy, damper weather.

“This is a sleeping giant right now,” said Darryl Laws, a unified incident commander on the blaze.

In addition, firefighters expected Thursday to fully surround a 1,000-acre spot fire on the northern edge of the McKinney Fire.

The fire broke out last Friday and has charred nearly 90 square miles of forestland, left tinder-dry by drought. More than 100 homes and other buildings have burned and four bodies have been found, including two in a burned car in a driveway.

The blaze was driven at first by fierce winds ahead of a thunderstorm cell. More storms earlier this week proved a mixed blessing. A drenching rain Tuesday dumped up to 3 inches on some eastern sections of the blaze but most of the fire area got next to nothing, said Dennis Burns, a fire behavior analyst.

The latest storm also brought concerns about possible river flooding and mudslides. A private contractor in a pickup truck who was aiding the firefighting effort was hurt when a bridge gave out and washed away the vehicle, Kreider said. The contractor had non-life-threatening injuries, she said.

However, no weather events were forecast for the next three or four days that could give the fire “legs,” Burns said.

The good news came too late for many people in the scenic hamlet of Klamath River, which was home to about 200 people before the fire reduced many of the homes to ashes, along with the post office, community center and other buildings.

At an evacuation center Wednesday, Bill Simms said that three of the four victims were his neighbors. Two were a married couple who lived up the road.

“I don’t get emotional about stuff and material things,” Simms said. “But when you hear my next-door neighbors died … that gets a little emotional.”

Their names haven’t been officially confirmed, which could take several days, said Courtney Kreider, a spokesperson with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.

Simms, a 65-year-old retiree, bought his property six years ago as a second home with access to hunting and fishing. He went back to check on his property Tuesday and found it was destroyed.

“The house, the guest house and the RV were gone. It’s just wasteland, devastation,” Simms said. He found the body of one of his two cats, which he buried. The other cat is still missing. He was able to take his two dogs with him to the shelter.

Harlene Schwander, 82, lost the home she had just moved into a month ago to be closer to her son and daughter-in-law. Their home survived but her house was torched.

Schwander, an artist, said she only managed to grab a few family photos and some jewelry before evacuating. Everything else — including her art collection — went up in flames.

“I’m sad. Everybody says it was just stuff, but it was all I had,” she said.

California and much of the rest of the West is in drought and wildfire danger is high, with the historically worst of the fire season still to come. Fires are burning in Montana, Idaho and Nebraska and have destroyed homes and threaten communities.

Scientists say climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the last three decades and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive. California has seen its largest, most destructive and deadliest wildfires in the last five years. In 2018, a massive blaze in the Sierra Nevada foothills destroyed much of the city of Paradise and killed 85 people, the most deaths from a U.S. wildfire in a century.

In northwestern Montana, a fire that has destroyed at least four homes and forced the evacuation of about 150 residences west of Flathead Lake continued to be pushed north by winds on Wednesday, fire officials said.

Crews had to be pulled off the lines on Wednesday afternoon due to increased fire activity, Sara Rouse, a public information officer, told NBC Montana.

There were concerns the fire could reach Lake Mary Ronan by Wednesday evening, officials said.

The fire, which started on July 29 in grass on the Flathead Indian Reservation, quickly moved into timber and charred nearly 29 square miles.

The Moose Fire in Idaho has burned more than 85 square miles in the Salmon-Challis National Forest while threatening homes, mining operations and fisheries near the town of Salmon.

And a wildfire in northwestern Nebraska led to evacuations and destroyed or damaged several homes near the small city of Gering. The Carter Canyon Fire began Saturday as two separate fires that merged.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Flooded Kentucky Area Now Hit With Rain As Air Crews Continue Search

Perry, Knott and Letcher Counties are some of the poorest in the U.S., and they continue to be under a flood advisory after streams drenched the area.

The Kentucky National Guard has rescued hundreds of people from the floods in the state, with authorities saying they’re still looking at every inch of every stream from the air. But as the days go on, the search for the missing is increasingly a recovery effort.

Water is moving through Troublesome Creek in Perry County, Kentucky at a troubling rate — a sign a true reprieve from danger is yet to come. 

Gov. Andy Beshear says the death toll from the floods has now rose to 37, with hundreds still unaccounted for.

In hazard, many flood victims are now homeless.

“You just feel helpless, you know?” said Larry Stacy, a survivor of the flood. “Helpless, ain’t nothing to describe it.”

Stacy sheltered at one baptist church since being hauled out of a torrent of mud from a helicopter. 

“If it wasn’t for this church, I don’t know what we’d be doing,” Stacy said.

Carol Campbell was also airlifted.

“There was at one point four to six feet of water,” she said. “We couldn’t go anywhere. The power was out.”

Campbell is helping her grandchildren care for their cats. 

“It was terrifying, man,” said Toby Campbell, Carol’s grandson. “It was six inches from getting to the top of the roof. We got airlifted out of there by a helicopter. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve been through.”  

One member of Congress pledged to get  federal dollars for flood-ravaged constituents.

“There are bridges that are gone, water services, electric,” Rep. Hal Rogers said. “So all of the infrastructure we’ve spent so much time and money on has been destroyed or damaged heavily.”

The federal government is committing $1 billion to states hit with extreme weather.

While the damage totals in Kentucky aren’t fully tabulated, thousands remain without power, and thousands remain without safe drinking water.

“We’re just grateful for everybody who helps and grateful we have shelter over our heads,” said Russell Daugherty, a survivor of the flood.

To rebuild, the fiercely proud and independent people of coal country are going to need a lot of aid. Four more inches of rain fell there Sunday, with many creeks still swelling with rapidly flowing water.

The National Weather Service warns slow moving showers and thunderstorms could mean more flash flooding through Tuesday morning. 

Source: newsy.com

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Polish Institute Classifies Cats As Alien Invasive Species

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
July 30, 2022

The database already had 1,786 other species listed with no objections.

A respected Polish scientific institute has classified domestic cats as an “invasive alien species,” citing the damage they cause to birds and other wildlife.

Some cat lovers have reacted emotionally to this month’s decision and put the key scientist behind it on the defensive.

Wojciech Solarz, a biologist at the state-run Polish Academy of Sciences, wasn’t prepared for the disapproving public response when he entered “Felis catus,” the scientific name for the common house cat, into a national database run by the academy’s Institute of Nature Conservation.

The database already had 1,786 other species listed with no objections, Solarz told The Associated Press on Tuesday. The uproar over invasive alien species No. 1,787, he said, may have resulted from some media reports that created the false impression his institute was calling for feral and other cats to be euthanized.

Solarz described the growing scientific consensus that domestic cats have a harmful impact on biodiversity given the number of birds and mammals they hunt and kill.

The criteria for including the cat among alien invasive species, “are 100% met by the cat,” he said.

In a television segment aired by independent broadcaster TVN, the biologist faced off last week against a veterinarian who challenged Solarz’s conclusion on the dangers cats pose to wildlife.

Dorota Suminska, the author of a book titled “The Happy Cat,” pointed to other causes of shrinking biodiversity, including a polluted environment and urban building facades that can kill birds in flight.

“Ask if man is on the list of non-invasive alien species,” Suminska said, arguing that cats were unfairly assigned too much blame.

Solarz pushed back, arguing that cats kill about 140 million birds in Poland each year.

Earlier this month, the Polish Academy institute published a post on its website citing the “controversy” and seeking to clarify its position. The institute stressed that it was “opposed to any cruelty towards animals.” It also argued that its classification was in line with European Union guidelines.

As far as categorizing cats as “alien,” the institute noted that “Felis catus” was domesticated probably around 10,000 years ago in the cradle of the great civilizations of the ancient Middle East, making the species alien to Europe from a strictly scientific point of view.

The institute also stressed that all it was recommending was for cat owners to limit the time their pets spend outdoors during bird breeding season.

“I have a dog, but I don’t have anything against cats,” Solarz said.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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A Northern California Wildfire Has Forced Residents To Evacuate

Heat and dry conditions prompted an out of control wildfire in Northern California, near Yosemite National Park.

“The fire’s been coming towards us faster and faster,” said Wes Detamore, a Mariposa resident. 

A wildfire is out of control in Northern California. 

The nearly 17,000 acre Oak Fire exploded over the weekend into the state’s largest active fire.  

It forced evacuations in California’s Mariposa County near Yosemite National Park. 

“We made it out, the animals. I can always rebuild,” said Rodney McGuire, a Mariposa, California resident.  

Heat and dry conditions prompted an unprecedented growth of a fire that just started Friday.  

“It’s it’s really heartbreaking because it’s been year after year, you know, and just to think about the entire state here and everywhere else, you know, there’s been so many fires and so many homes,” said Boone Jones, a Mariposa, California resident. 

Firefighters are struggling to contain a fire burning in steep, rugged terrain. 

“It’s not giving people a lot of time and they sometimes they’re just going to have to evacuate with the shirts on their back,” said Jon Heggie, the Battalion Chief of Cal Fire.

Firefighters say a handful of homes have been destroyed so far — as thousands get orders to leave. 

Lori Wilson is the executive director at the American Red Cross Central Valley chapter. 

“You have a lot of uncertainty. You have a lot of fear. Of course, we have a place for people to sleep, to get food and to get some information. We have nurses here in case there’s any health issues,” Wilson said.  

Amber Blalock and her kids were among the evacuees. 

“We had to quickly get as much as we can. And so we were able to get one dog and one cat and we had to just open the gate to let our chickens save themselves. But we couldn’t find Coda,” Blalock said.  

One of the family’s cats got left behind as the flames grew closer. 

“And my sweet daughter was outside calling his name and calling his name. And I finally had to tell her that we had to go,” she said.

But as crews battle by land and air to save life and property, there’s victory amid the flames. 

“We got the word today that animal control went out and they found Coda the kitty. And so he is at the shelter right now and we’re actually hoping to go get him right now,” Blalock said.  

It’s a much-needed shot of good news in a place staring down the barrel of a hot, dry climate, ripe for spreading fire. 

“I feel like we’re going to do what we can to at least have a chance,” said Jerry Cal, who was ordered to evacuate.

Source: newsy.com

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The Oakland A’s Mull A Last Stand Against Pro-Sports Owners

The Oakland A’s could be leaving the city for Las Vegas if they don’t get a new stadium at Howard Terminal in the port of Oakland.

Melvin MacKay has been dreaming of turning his work into a family business for years, working to get his son and grandson employed at the port of Oakland right alongside him.

“It’s not a job most people would think of, but it’s a job that most of the people would love to have,” MacKay said.

But now, he worries the work that made him the man-about-town could be staring down the beginning of the end.

He’s standing on the bedrock of his hometown team’s vision for its own future. The Oakland A’s are the last remaining major league sports team in a city once buzzing with the electricity of game nights.

If they don’t get a gleaming new stadium at Howard terminal in the port of Oakland, they could abandon the bay for the high desert of Las Vegas. 

Dave Kaval is the president of the A’s. 

“The concrete is crumbling, and then the seats break and you can’t actually sit in them,” Kaval said. “We’ve had issues with feral cats, a moth infestation, mold.”

Few will argue that the Oakland A’s need a new stadium, and many there would hate seeing Oakland’s last team leave the city that shaped it decades ago.

What’s gripped Oakland’s social and political debate is where they need a new stadium.

Susan Ransom works for SSA Terminals, a neighbor to the much smaller “Howard Terminal” that would become site of the new ballpark.

“We’re at 91% capacity, and the reason that Howard Terminal is so successful is because it is a relief valve for the terminals,” Ransom said.

She doesn’t see any space to grow there if the new park comes in. 

“There’s great concern that if you mix commercial land with industrial land, the industrial land normally doesn’t make it,” Ransom said.

In a city with a pre-existing housing crisis, the project offers the opportunity to unlock thousands of new living units. But amid rising homelessness, the city has drawn a red line on the number of those units that need to be affordable. 

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is a champion of the project. 

“15% of the units that get built on the project site itself need to be affordable,” Schaaf said. “That is a non-negotiable for me. To let a sports deal also generate 18 acres of new waterfront public parks, new infrastructure, safer and cleaner infrastructure, as well as all that affordable housing and good union jobs.”

She insists taxpayers wouldn’t foot the bill, and that instead, any cost to the city would be paid for with tax revenue from the project. 

“These are new taxes that the project itself will produce, that if the project doesn’t happen, those dollars would never exist for the city, so it’s not like they’re available for something else,” Schaaf saaid.

But the project has a big price tag, and since the developers can ask the city to reimburse anything considered “public infrastructure” some Oakland residents worry about how much the city will really be on the hook for and if it’s all worth it. 

NEWSY’S JAMES PACKARD: It is a $12 billion proposal, and the A’s have secured a billion dollars in funding for the stadium itself. So that $11 billion gap may scare people…

OAKLAND MAYOR LIBBY SCHAAF: No, no, no, no. None of that is true. You can’t frame it that way. People have been throwing that number around. We don’t even know where it came from.

PACKARD: Which number?

SCHAAF: $12 billion.

It came from the A’s themselves.

Their estimation of full project cost, including all infrastructure development — condominiums and the stadium itself — is exactly that: $12 billion. 

“It’s about 6 or almost 7 billion in construction costs — including the billion dollars for the stadium and then the remaining billions — about 6 billion is the economic impact of the project, so that’s everything from the tax dollars to the surrounding area, the increase in property taxes and value for everybody involved,” Kaval said.

It’s no question that, if this comes together — however it comes together and whoever pays — bringing a stadium to the bustling center of industrial shipping has the serious potential to disrupt business, if not send it downstream entirely. 

PACKARD: What about the half dozen to a dozen or so people who work on that land right now who are really worried that this project goes through, they’re not going to have a job?

SCHAAF: I honestly don’t know who you are talking about.

PACKARD: They would love to talk to you, actually, because we were down there today. 

SCHAAF: There’s a temporary activity that’s being used because of the supply chain problems caused by the pandemic. That land is a giant parking lot. It’s storing boxes. It has a ship that is literally parked there, but there has not been any terminal activity, no real economic development there for a decade.

But the people who work at Howard Terminal say its importance to shipping operations there aren’t temporary: Ships don’t load or unload there, but trucks that take goods to and from the port do. Workers there say it’s a vital piece of the puzzle. 

“The talk became: This is just a parking lot, which is untrue,” MacKay said. “This is the commodity that goes out into the community. Without this here the mom and pop stores don’t get filled up. Safeway doesn’t get filled up. Lowe’s don’t get filled up. Home Depot don’t get filled up, because of these containers.”

They fear a stadium would be a potential death blow to the vitality of a port that drives the economic engine of Oakland.

“We will suffer,” MacKay said. “It’s already been said by the shippers. You put a ballpark there on maritime, we ain’t gonna bring our ships here. We want our ships to be loaded and offloaded.” 

“I believe that Oakland will be able to show that it can be a win-win, that these sports stadiums, privately financed, can be the anchor for an incredible community serving development,” Schaaf said.

Source: newsy.com

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