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Vietnamese refugees hope to establish Little Saigon in East Oakland

East Oakland
Volunteers from the U.S. Navy work with staff of the East Oakland Youth Development Center to spruce up the neighborhood

Vietnamese Refugees want city officials to officially make their neighborhood in East Oakland, California, a Business Improvement District and call it Little Saigon, reports Oakland North. A Business Improvement District, or BID, is a geographic area where additional taxes are collected from property owners to fund community projects, events, maintenance, marketing, business development and advocacy.

There are about 8,000 Vietnamese people who make up the second largest Asian American group in Oakland, according to the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce. The Chinese are the largest group . Many from the Vietnamese community are refugees from the Vietnamese War who came to the United States in the 1970s. Little Saigon would honor the capital Saigon, which was renamed Ho Chi Minh City in 1976 after the communist leader who over threw it, making Saigon disappear from the map . Additionally, it would help bring in business and tourists to experience the culture.

Dozens of Vietnamese owned businesses humbly thrive in the community, such as restaurants, print shops, fruit stores, and jewelry shops. Business owners put up shop signs that both English and Vietnamese patrons can understand and hang silk Vietnamese flowers in their windows called Mai.

East Oaklands Little Saigon’s proposal is still in the early stages of development. Formal approval could take as long as a year.

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