Oakland Port Scale, a small business that provides 24-hour truck scales, bathroom facilities and a convenience store for truckers and longshoremen at the Port of Oakland, will have to close its operations in October if the port cannot provide a more permanent location for the business.
The local business received an eviction notice from the port a few weeks ago, and negotiations to resettle the business somewhere else on port property fell through after the company requested that they be provided a longer-term lease that would give it some stability.
The port has only been willing to offer Oakland Port Scale a month-to-month lease.
According to West Oakland community leaders, the 24-hour business has been vital in providing services that keep dozens of large trucks off West Oakland streets ever day and reduce traffic pollution at the port.
The company’s efforts were also recognized this week when it was certified as a Bay Area green business by the California Green Business Program for following environmentally friendly practices.
“Our whole mission is to be close to the port to keep trucks out of West Oakland,” said Bill Aboudi, co-manager of Oakland Port Scale (OPS).
“If we shut down, then we’re dragging all those trucks through the community looking for a shower or something to eat,” he said.
On average, 180 truckers use OPS scales and 500 people visit their mini-mart per day, said Aboudi.
According to Aboudi, the port met with OPS last week to reopen negotiations on a lease on port property, but once more failed to secure a deal on any lease longer than month-to-month.
Due to projected moving costs amounting to $300,000, the possibility of OPS having to move again in the near future would be economically unfeasible for the small business.
The two parties reached a mutual agreement that the business would vacate the property by Oct. 15.
Mike Zampa, director of communications for the Port of Oakland, told the Post that the 24-hour truck scales and mini-mart’s departure would not result in migration of truck traffic to West Oakland neighborhoods.
“The port has other scales, (truck) parts vendors, restrooms and food available,” said Zampa.
“Our feeling is that truckers can find what they need within the port property and we don’t foresee them migrating into the community,” he said.
The services currently at the port, however, are not located in one convenient area like they are at OPS.
Furthermore, other services that OPS provides, such as showers and laundry machines, are not available for truckers and longshoremen at the port.
“I’m not sure how necessary the showers are anyway, since most of the truckers are just coming in and out,” said Zampa.
According to Brian Beveridge, co-director of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project, the conflicts between the port and small businesses continue to happen “because the port has never had a comprehensive plan to accommodate trucks and the needs of truckers.”
“Whenever truck services are abruptly displaced, we see more port trucks on neighborhood streets,” Beveridge said.
“It’s not surprising that trucking and warehousing have had a heavy impact on West Oakland,” he said.