Living in Oakland: Lincoln Heights/Mormon Temple District
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We're planning to buy our first house and are currently looking all over Albany, Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda. We've got two kids (one in elementary school), aren't sure about a third, and are able to spend low to mid 600s for a three bedroom house. There's nothing in the archives about Lincoln Heights, which is an area where we keep seeing houses that could work for us. So far Albany, Alameda and Glenview are easier to get excited about, but the houses we like there are just a bit out of our range. Do people who live in the Mormon Temple area love it or is it just OK? Is it a kid-dense area? Are people neighborly? What's the crime (petty or major) and nuisance situation like? There's a lot of enthusiasm on BPN and greatschools.org for Sequoia elementary -- is that fairly universal or is it just the happy ones speaking up? Thanks for any and all comments! househunter
We've lived on the opp. side (north) of Lincoln for 5 yrs, and are VERY happy. Check out: http://oakland22x.org/ (our active/effective neighborhood group); http://shopdimond.com/ (about our shopping district); re:crime, see http://oakland.crimespotting.org/ (interactive maps for all over Oakland); http://www.dimondnews.org/ (community based volunteer group) http://www.oaktoberfest.org/ (our fun annual neighborhood festival) There's a 22xNCPC mtg. on Mon.22ndFeb, 7pm @ the Greek Church on Lincoln: everyone's welcome! --Love Living in Oakmore/Dimond/22x
I've lived in the area my entire life. You are looking in what we locals call the DMZ. You are better off crime and school wise to buy above 13. Below the Mormon Temple and Greek Church there are some (few) nice areas with less crime but walk just one block down or one street over the crime rate goes up. It really depends on street and the block. I use to take walks/run, but don't do that anymore just don't feel safe. As for shopping I almost always want to Diamond District but I don't feel safe going there anymore.
This really isn't a kid friendly area due to the hills, traffic and crime. I use to know all of my neighbors and we were quite friendly, but many have moved and the new ones are more reserved. As much as I like the view, this is not an area I would move to know especially if I had kids.
If you are looking for houses make sure you have the foundation checked. Over the years several houses have slid and some have been condemned others have had over a $100k in foundation damage. ANON
I've lived in the area you are asking about for over six years. We looked in many other places and were outbid many times before buying our home here. Although you might find it hard to get excited about, we've found there is quite a bit to love about this area: the views, the grow-anything weather, big yards, cute houses, the freeway access, the nearby trails in redwoods, great neighbors, the fantastic Dimond Library (my opinion: best children's librarians in Oakland), Dimond Park, and Sequoia Elementary School. Plus there are many great local businesses: Loka Yoga, Laurel Books, Full House Cafe, Kids n Dance, Farmer Joe's, StableCore Pilates, Paws and Claws, Food Mill, Peet's, and La Farine. There are also the things that aren't great, but I personally consider those to be big city/Oakland problems, not necessarily neighborhood-specific problems. So, to answer your questions, yes, the neighborhood is kid-dense. My street neighbors are neighborly, but my Sequoia-School-community neighbors are incredible. In the past few years, Halloween has become quite an event and it feels very small-town. There is a neighborhood Yahoo group for families that has over 140 members...we trade info on schools, gear, childcare, events, and more. Reported crime can be looked up...my feeling is that it is the same as many other similar parts of Oakland...car and home break-ins and the occasional more serious (and more disturbing) crime. The vast majority of families I know at Sequoia--and I know many, many of them--are very happy. It's a lovely little school with nice kids, great teachers, cool families, and solid programs. There are other families in the attendance area who aren't at Sequoia and, like almost any other reasonably well-off neighborhood in Oakland, they have opted into other OUSD schools, or have gone to any number of private schools (I don't know of any attendance area in OUSD where this same phenomenon isn't happening). They don't seem as connected to the neighborhood community as those with kids at the neighborhood school--again, I think this is a typical dynamic. It's really convenient to get to know your neighbors when your kids also happen to attend the same nearby school. I also can think of many families who used to live in the neighborhood, but like many others in Oakland, decided to move out of Oakland altogether prior to kindergarten. As far as specific streets, I've noticed that the one-block streets between Laguna and Lincoln are well-kept and many of those neighbors seem to know each other. Traffic moves more slowly on those streets. The streets running up and down the hills often have views but seem a bit busier. Lincoln seems to divide the neighborhood a bit although both sides are part of the Sequoia attendance area. All this said, all of the places you listed have plenty of happy residents as well...good luck! At Home in the Dimond
My brother has two kids who go Sequoia elementary and they love it over there. They moved there because of the school and the neighborhood. The area is very neighborly that I have observed and there are lots of kids. There is more crime near certain places...like major roads with lots of businesses. I am Pro Lincoln Heights
We have lived in the Dimond district, near Lincoln Heights and right next to Dimond Park, for more than ten years. We have a child at Sequoia Elementary and another who will start there in the fall. We love our neighborhood, and love the school. Here is why - The neighborhood is very walkable, with a great library, park, cafes, restaurants, and a great locally-owned supermarket. We hardly ever go anywhere in the neighborhood without running into a friend or neighbor. There are all kinds of families, including many families with school-age kids and babies. There is an active family yahoo group, where people share info, swap bikes, clothes and toys, and help one another. Crime is fairly minimal, and people seem to look out for each other.
As for Sequoia, we have found it to be a great school with a wonderful staff and a strong and welcoming parent community. The community events are fabulous, and the school offers a number of enrichment programs, such as garden, art, drumming, choir, instrumental music, and library. The school definitely has its challenges, mostly because they don't have the resources they need, but this is not unique to Sequoia. The funding for public education is horrific. However, despite this reality, we feel very lucky that we have such a wonderful public school in our neighborhood. Amy