ABOUT DIA

Our Vision

For Oakland’s Dimond District to be a vibrant, safe, and beautiful place for everyone to live, work, shop, and play.

Our Mission

We are a community-based, non-profit organization, with membership and participation open to all. We bring together residents, businesses, agencies, and other groups to engage in collective efforts to beautify our neighborhood, promote a thriving commercial district, improve public safety, and build a stronger sense of community and belonging.

Our Values

Inclusiveness: We seek diversity on our board and in community involvement, with openness to all voices and interests.

Respect: We treat each other, and the community, with consideration and kindness.

Collaboration: We prize teamwork, transparency, and the sharing of opportunities to shape our work.

Leadership: We each take initiative and responsibility for aspects of the organization, and aim to inspire each other and the community to make a difference.

Impact: We focus on making significant and meaningful contributions to the community, continually assessing and improving our effectiveness.

Our Motto

Involvement Builds Community

Volunteering

The Dimond Improvement Association has many committees and projects to benefit the community. Take a look at our Projects & Committees page and see what might interest you! There are opportunities to volunteer from once a year to once a week.

Serving on Our Board

If you are interested in becoming a board member, please contact our chair, Ryan Romaneski, at  RyanR@DimondNews.org. Our board election takes place every April, with nominations open several months in advance. New board members may also be appointed by the board at other times of the year if there are vacancies. See more about joining the board.

Public Information

  • Our board meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at the Dimond Branch Public Library at 3565 Fruitvale Ave., Oakland, CA, 7-9pm. (Note: During the pandemic, the board is meeting via Zoom.) Committee meetings take place as determined by the individual committees.
  • The public is invited to our board meetings. If you would like to request an item added to the agenda, please email our chair, Ryan Romaneski, at RyanR@DimondNews.org.
  • Board meeting minutes are posted to the website approximately one month after the meeting, following board review and approval. See elsewhere on this page for minutes dating back to 2015, when we became an incorporated nonprofit.

General Meetings

DIA General Meetings are held approximately five times a year, on the first Wednesdays of Feburary, April, June, August, and October, unless otherwise announced. The meetings are typically at the Dimond Branch Public Library, 7-9pm. See the Events Calendar for upcoming meetings and topics. Note: During the pandemic, general meetings are being held virtually via Zoom

Newsletters

October 2022
August 2022
June 2022
April 2022
February 2022
December 2021
October 2021
August 2021
June 2021
April 2021
February 2021
November 2020
August 2020
April 2020
February 2020
November 2019
August 2019
May 2019
February 2019
November 2018
August 2018
May 2018
February 2018
November 2017
August 2017 (Fall)
May 2017 (Summer)

Board of Directors 2022

 

Jay Ashford

Jay has lived in the Dimond district since 2005. Since moving to Oakland, Jay has served on several City of Oakland boards and commissions, including the Public Ethics Commission, the Budget Advisory Commission, and the Community Policing Advisory Board. He has been active in his daughters’ elementary and middle school PTA organizations, and volunteered for several local and statewide political advocacy organizations. Professionally, he is the founder of ATS Partners, Inc., which provides technology project management and business process improvement consulting services to its clients. 

Jay’s vision for the Dimond is to create a vibrant, inclusive destination commercial district that draws residents from across Oakland, and to strengthen a shared sense of community among local residents.

Lindsey Berking

Lindsey has lived in Dimond with her family since 2017, and in various parts of the Bay Area since 2005. Lindsey has spent her professional career in brand and growth marketing, and now runs her own agency, which focuses on helping independent businesses in Oakland grow and thrive.

Lindsey’s vision for the Dimond is for existing businesses in the district to reach their full potential, usher in interesting new occupants in the vacant spots, and for residents to feel empowered and invested in creating a beautiful, vibrant neighborhood that is safe, clean, and inclusive for all.

 

Zandile Christian

Zandile has been a resident of the Dimond for 26 years and has served on the DIA board for eleven years. She has participated in many efforts and on many committees, including Executive, Finance, Database, Membership, Keep Dimond Clean, Oaktoberfest, Crime & Safety, Dimond Public Art and Art in the Street.

Zandile’s vision is to have the Dimond be clean and safe for all and to maintain the district’s charming characteristics.

Charlie Deterline


Charlie (and his wife, and their cat) has been a resident of the Dimond since September 2020. A Bay Area native, and East Bay resident for over 21 years, Charlie spent the first 20 years of his career in restaurants, and has a strong desire to build community and see local business thrive.He is the Executive Director of SOS Meals on Wheels, which produces and delivers over 500,000 meals to homebound seniors each year, including over 280,000 meals annually to Oakland seniors.​

 
Charlie’s vision for the Dimond is of engaged, connected residents supporting a thriving local business community, with safe streets that are welcoming to pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair and scooter users, and other non-vehicular modes of transport.
David Gross

David has been a resident of the Dimond since 2006.   Both of his children attended Sequoia Elementary, where he has been active as a volunteer parent for the Dad’s Club and after-school chess classes.   He has also served as a baseball coach in the NOLL / SOLL Little League for the past several years.   Professionally, David is a practicing attorney specializing in commercial real estate transactions in California and throughout the United States.   

David’s vision for the Dimond is to support and grow a thriving business district, maintain clean and safe parks and public spaces, and to encourage the involvement of all residents in making the Dimond a safe and welcoming neighborhood for everyone. 

Chris Harper

Chris remembers visiting the Dimond as far back as 1972 when his grandmother lived on Dimond Avenue. In 1986, as a young teacher he made the Dimond his permanent residence, and in subsequent years he married and raised two children. In 1998, Chris joined the faculty of Head-Royce School, where he has taught Physics, Astronomy, and Robotics ever since. Chris served on the DIA board from 2011 to 2015, and rejoined in 2018. Most of that time he has served as Board Chair. Improving the fiscal management within the DIA and transitioning to a new listserv have been two significant achievements for Chris.

Chris’ vision for the Dimond is to further its growth as a community built by involvement. This means facilitating communication between community members, DIA members, merchants, visitors, and the many organizations that have the Dimond as their focus.

Heather Harris

Heather is a Northern California native, resident of Oakland for the past 12 years and Dimond resident since 2017. Heather has spent her career as a genetic counselor helping individuals and families affected by genetic conditions. As a Product Manager for Quest Diagnostics, she helps bring genetic testing to those who need it. She loves spending time outdoors hiking East Bay trails with her husband and dog or training for the Oakland Half Marathon. Heather has volunteered with the DIA since 2021, helping to bring community events to life and participating in litter pick-ups. Heather deeply believes that Oakland should be a beautiful place for all.

 
Heather’s vision for the Dimond is that it represents and reflects the rich and diverse cultures of its residents. And, that it is a safe, beautiful, and fun place for family and friends to gather and share in community. 
Anoush Jackson-Satler

Anoush is an Oakland native and has lived in the Dimond/Oakmore area since 2009. She is an attorney and also helps run Micah Electric Co. with her husband, Micah. Her older kid attends St. Paul’s Episcopal School near Lake Merritt, her middle kiddo is up the hill at Escuelita del Bosque forest school, and her littlest child is 1 month old. Anoush loves living in the Dimond area and can be found at Dimond Park, the library, grabbing coffee or food at one of our many awesome local restaurants, or cruising the neighborhood with her pup. Anoush looks forward to joining the board and further supporting our community.

 
Anoush is grateful to be able to live in the Dimond, a safe, diverse, and supportive community that includes public spaces, awesome neighbors and local amenities. She hopes that by joining the DIA she can help support the neighborhood and its path forward.  
Julie Johnson

Julie was born in Oakland and is a 25-year resident of the Dimond, where she raised her two daughters. She loves Oakland and working to benefit our community. A DIA board member for 14 years, she is currently Treasurer, Finance Committee member, and Beautification Committee member. She has also been active on the Economic Development Committee and Oaktoberfest Committee. In the accounting field for 30+ years, Julie works as finance department head at Ray’s Electric. Her hobbies include masters swimming, gardening, hiking, travel, cooking and baking, sewing, decorating, and paper collage.

Julie’s vision for the Dimond is a thriving business district with a variety of cool offerings, including interesting retail and dining experiences. She would love to help usher in more public art and is passionate about retaining some of Dimond’s architectural aspects from the past.

Judy Klinger


Judy is a recently retired high school teacher and union leader. She has lived in the Dimond for 20 years and is delighted to finally have the time to be actively involved in our neighborhood! What she loves about the Dimond is that it has personality — it has amenities, but isn’t gentrified. As a union president, she has experience with organizing and pushing levers within political systems to create change.  She and her dog, Crumpet, enjoy neighborhood walks and hikes in the woods. Pip, the cat, enjoys whatever he darn well enjoys.

 

Judy sees an opportunity to figure out, then use City and County systems to help Dimond be even more vibrant. 

Chris Palomares


Chris is a Bay Area native who has lived in Oakland since 2015 and moved to the Dimond with his family in 2018. Over time, he has developed a profound appreciation for the City of Oakland and is looking for a platform to give back to his neighborhood. Chris has worked in residential/commercial real estate since 2010 and has also been cooking professionally since 2013. He thoroughly enjoys helping and providing in any way to support his community and peers. His family includes his wife Estefania, their newborn daughter Camila and their first born son Whiskey(Dog). Hobbies include cooking, wood working, photography, heavy metal music and Jiu Jitsu.

 
Chris’ vision for the Dimond District is a safe and clean environment where local business and families can thrive.
Alex Park

Alex has been a Dimond resident for most of his life, beginning in the early 1990s. He’s worked as a journalist and researcher in the Bay Area and around the country. You can read some of his work at his website, www.alexcpark.com. Alex has volunteered with the DIA’s beautification committee since 2018 and has been involved with most of its major projects in that time. 

Alex’s vision for the Dimond is a refuge for in-person connection with friends and neighbors of all backgrounds, where people feel welcome and all who live, work, and enjoy the neighborhood can be confident their voice is heard and their wants and needs are recognized. 

Erica Perez

Erica has lived in the Dimond since 2013 and in Oakland since 2009. She and her husband John founded Oaktown Spice Shop in Oakland in 2011, and Erica works full-time as co-owner. The shop provides fresh, small-batch spices and herbs for home cooks and chefs alike. She currently has two children at Sequoia Elementary School. She enjoys good food, spending time with friends and family and going for runs in the neighborhood.

Erica’s vision for the Dimond is a safe, inclusive and welcoming neighborhood where residents of diverse backgrounds feel they belong, and where a thriving, attractive business district adds to the joy of everyday life.

Bret Peterson

Bret has lived in the Dimond with his wife since 2015, where they are raising their growing family. He moved to the Bay Area in 2010 from Hawaii, where he worked on a submarine in the Navy. After completing his PHD at UC Berkeley he now works as a microbiologist at a cancer immunotherapy company in Berkeley. He is a daily bike commuter and loves taking trips on AC transit with his son on the weekends. Bret cares deeply about homelessness and housing affordability and spends time volunteering to promote pro-housing policies and zoning reform.

Bret’s vision for the Dimond is a healthy, bustling and diverse commercial and residential center where the pedestrians’ pleasure and safety is prioritized over expediency for privately owned vehicles, and where enough housing exists to support a diverse range of Oakland residents that have a shared stake in their neighborhood.

Ryan Romaneski

Ryan moved to the Dimond in 2016, after three years working in Oakland and living in San Francisco. Originally from Washington state, Ryan has worked in technology, real estate, and community development, including as Executive Director of the Pioneer School Community Association and the Pioneer Square Business Improvement District in Seattle. Ryan is currently Regional Director of Operations for KIPP Public Schools, an Oakland-based nonprofit network of 17 charter public schools operating across the Bay Area and Northern California. Ryan joined the DIA board in 2017, and has served as Chair since 2020.

Ryan’s vision for the Dimond is a robust, safe, and highly walkable commercial district, with increased density and mixed-use development that brings more residents to the transit-rich neighborhood, and a DIA that is an engaged and responsive voice of the community.

Michaela Sangalli Guiliano


Michaela was born and raised in Oakland and feels deeply connected to the city.  She and her husband are raising two kids in the Dimond and are proud Sequoia parents.  After completing her Master’s in Organizational Development, she worked for the City and County of San Francisco and Accenture, delivering human capital strategies to improve the effectiveness and experiences of employees.  Michaela currently works for the Clorox Company where she designs and implements key moments that matter in an employee’s life cycle.  She loves bringing people together, hosting large meals with friends and family and cheering on the Warriors.

Michaela’s vision for the Dimond is a place where all Oaklander’s feel they belong, have a safe place to live and are excited to visit the growing shopping district, beautiful parks and restaurants.    

May Seto-Wassem


May, along with her husband David, own and operate Grand Lake Kitchen.  Soon after the first location of GLK opened in Adams Point, she started looking for a second location that could offer more space and a shorter wait.  She quickly fell in love with Dimond, even when neighboring areas were more in fashion. When renovations began on the exterior of the building, she thought that she had missed the chance, but thankfully that was not the case and GLK will be celebrating its 3rd anniversary this spring.  May also enjoys celebrating with family and friends, all animals especially dogs and horses and pursuing the perfect chile relleno.

May’s vision and greatest hope for the Dimond is to be a vibrant, safe, and prosperous neighborhood where local business owners, big and small, can come together to help each other help themselves through networking and the use of existing resources.

Victoria Wake

Victoria is an East Bay native and 20-year Dimond resident. She is retired from AC Transit, where she managed service information, marketing, and outreach programs. Her long-time interests include the environment, public transportation, and history. She joined the DIA board in 2006, and currently serves on the Beautification and Public Safety committees. She is very concerned about the community’s (and the city’s) urban forest, seeing street trees dying at an increased rate and current city restrictions preventing equivalent replanting. 

Victoria’s vision for the Dimond includes people walking and taking the bus more, and driving less, and generally knowing each other and local businesses better. She would like to see greater environmental stewardship and a flourishing greenscape. She hopes more of the community will get engaged in local projects and activities because it’s gratifying and fun!

Kevin Whittinghill

Originally from Santa Cruz, Kevin has lived in New York and San Francisco before becoming a homeowner in the Dimond district in 2019. He has a background in theater, film, stand-up, and graphic design, and currently works as a publisher for Horsley Bridge Partners, a global private equity fund-of-funds, in San Francisco. He’s also produced live theater and comedy events, including the nerd comedy shows “Eureka!” and “You Should Know This!” When he’s not spending time with his wife and baby daughter, he loves to cook, travel, and write. Kevin joined the DIA board in 2020.

Kevin’s vision is to continue the work of others in creating a thriving and prosperous commercial district and making sure the Dimond is a safe and beautiful place for those in the community.

Marty Wunsch


Marty is from Michigan. When she came to California 45 years ago, with a California native, she knew she wanted to live here someday. A retired pediatrician who later focused on those suffering from addiction, Marty finally moved to Oakland in 2013 to be closer to her daughters. She currently volunteers in the Santa Rita Jail, has been pleased with nearby business development, and and is thrilled to get more involved in the neighborhood in which she lives.

Marty believes in shopping and playing near home and believes deeply that the community can do more to make it a livable community for all.

DIA Accomplishments 

Dimond Branch Library

In the 1980s, the DIA worked with the City of Oakland to move the Dimond Library to a new site with improved facilities, a larger space to house the library collection, and a community meeting place. The Dimond Library is now an extremely busy branch library and provides educational and fellowship programs for all age groups, also hosting community meetings and events in the large meeting room. The Dimond Branch Library celebrated its 100th year Anniversary in 2015. Website: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/locations/dimond-branch.

Closure of Hillcrest Motel
In 2003, a group of DIA members and neighbors were able to work together in closing the Hillcrest Motel. The DIA partnered with Boston Avenue neighbors, the Oakland Police Department, our Oakland City Council members and other supporters to shut down a motel that had become a mecca for drug traffickers and prostitutes. In 2004, the motel was leveled and a senior housing facility, Lincoln Court, was built at the former Hillcrest Motel site. The DIA continues to work with the directors and residents of Lincoln Court to include these seniors in Dimond activities.
Dimond Public Safety Council / 22X NCPC

The DIA formed the Dimond Public Safety Council incorporating the Oakland Police Department Beat 22X into a neighborhood crime prevention council. After a number of years of working with the City, this council became its own organization encompassing several surrounding neighborhoods. It is now the Neighborhood Council 22X (NC22X). Both the DIA and NC22X work to address crime issues in the Dimond District including burglaries, robberies, aggressive panhandling, and quality of life issues. Website: http://ncpc22x.org.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SUPPORT THIS ONGOING PROJECT

Fruitvale Alive Project & Champion Transit Plaza
Between 2004 and 2013, the DIA worked with the City of Oakland and Alameda County to create a pedestrian and bike friendly corridor starting in the Dimond District and continuing south along Fruitvale Avenue. The Dimond District is an Alameda County transit hub providing accessible means of travel for residents and visitors. The Fruitvale Alive Project was completed in 2013 with the dedication of the Champion Transit Plaza, a dramatic transit structure that now stands in the middle of the Dimond District surrounded by a garden area maintained by DIA volunteers.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SUPPORT THIS ONGOING PROJECT

Dimond Gateway Garden & Beautification in Dimond
DIA volunteers created a mini-park at the major intersection at MacArthur Blvd and Lincoln Avenue, supported by both the DIA and Dimond merchants. This is known as the Dimond Gateway Garden. The land is owned by the City of Oakland, but maintained by community members. In addition, DIA volunteers have established and continue to maintain many planted pots and flower containers on various corners and sidewalks in the Dimond District.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SUPPORT THIS ONGOING PROJECT

Economic Development

From 2002 to 2013 the DIA has surveyed residents, built relationships with commercial property owners, and has actively encouraged businesses and merchants to establish their businesses in the Dimond District. As a result, Farmer Joe’s, a major family-owned market; La Farine Bakery; Peet’s Coffee & Tea; Paws & Claws; and, additional coffee spots, a variety of restaurants, a copy shop, and a purveyor of handmade ice cream have energized the neighborhood. With the opening of Oaklandish in 2013, there is hope with combined effort between the leadership of the DIA and the merchants, more businesses will choose to locate in the Dimond District. The Dimond’s economic development is an ongoing focus of the DIA. If you are a DIA member and would like to help the Dimond’s economic growth, you can do so by joining the DIA board and serving on the Economic Development Committee.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SUPPORT THIS ONGOING PROJECT

Public Art
The DIA fosters and encourages Public Art and is supportive of many local artists. The Dimond is home to several large public murals depicting its history, diverse cultures, and vibrancy; and, a mural featuring the diverse cultures in Dimond. In addition, there is an exhibit created by children “Stars of Dimond”; a photographic exhibit featuring residents and local scenes; directional sidewalk mosaics; and, mosaics on several of the City utility structures. DIA–A Nonprofit, continues to work with local artists to bring more Public Art to Dimond.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SUPPORT THIS ONGOING PROJECT

District Maintenance

DIA’s Keep Dimond Clean (KDC) program came to exist when the City of Oakland could no longer provide maintenance beyond garbage can pick-up and street sweeping. KDC was organized in 2009 as a volunteer-driven project to remove litter, graffiti, cigarette butts, and debris. Some 30 volunteers pick up about 12,000 pounds of sidewalk litter each year. Volunteers also remove graffiti from signs, posts, newspaper stands, utility boxes, etc. Starting in 2012, DIA and the Dimond Business & Professional Association (DB&PA) pooled resources to hire a paid crew to remove litter and debris five days a week, supplementing the volunteer teams on Saturdays and Wednesdays. In 2019, graffiti removal from public infrastructure and storm drain clearing were added to the paid services. Since 2012, an annual fundraiser has raised about one-third of the paid-crew cost from residents and merchant contributions. DIA believes that a clean commercial district is key to economic vitality, livability, and safety.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION ON HOW TO SUPPORT THIS ONGOING PROJECT