not enough seoul for oakland neighborhood

Some news out of Oakland... Under pressure from Koreatown's thousands of non-Koreans, the neighborhood's new "Oakland's Got Seoul" welcome banners are coming down: Seoul searching for new name in Oakland.

It's just as well -- there's more to the neighborhood than Seoul. While the banners were an attempt to give the area some character, they just weren't accurate. The 14-block stretch of Telegraph Avenue is also home to Ethiopians, Afghans, African Americans, artists and others who don't identify as Korean.

By the numbers, according to the 2000 census, the area is predominantly African American, followed by white, Asian and Hispanic. Sounds like whoever dreamed up the banners weren't really thinking about the true face of the neighborhood.

The cost to install the original banners: $12,000, covered by a city redevelopment grant. The cost to take them down: $5,000. The Koreatown merchants association will hold a series of meetings to decide how to better define the area. Hopefully, it'll be something more inclusive this time.

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