Rising Oakland rents push artists, musicians to communal spaces

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By Peter Henderson

OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) – The two-story warehouse engulfed by a deadly Oakland fire at a Friday night dance party was typical of the collective spaces artists and musicians say they have increasingly looked for to cope with rising rents.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and a city building official told a news conference the building was most recently zoned as a warehouse. It was not approved as living space and had no concert permit.

The fire killed at least nine people and left about two dozen missing, raising fears the death toll would rise.

Officials have not confirmed whether people were living in the building, which had first floor spaces divided by home-made partitions and a staircase to a second level fashioned with wooden pallets.

However, high rents have forced many artists and musicians to overcrowd houses, take such accommodations and…

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