Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana has made it official: Walter Cohen, the embattled director of the Community and Economic Development Agency, will be leaving the city on October 28. "With nearly 20 years of experience working in planning and redevelopment in the public sector and 17 years of experience working in development and entitlements, the City organization commends Walter for his contributions," Santana said in a statement.
Cohen's agency came under fire earlier this year in a scathing report from the Alameda County Grand Jury, concerning blight abatement. He also has taken heat for a number of missteps, including the bungled roll out of Oakland's proposals for a new second campus for the Lawrence Berkeley Lab.will take over Cohen's responsibilities. Blackwell is coming to Oakland from San Francisco, where he was the well-respected director of that city's redevelopment agency.