The recent closure of Esta Noche and the rumors about the Elbo Room possibly shutting down got us thinking: what place closing would signify the end of the Mission for you?

We will be asking elsewhere, but since Dolores Park would soon be closing — at least parts of it — took a stroll through the park to hear what this crowd had to say.

Follow Us

Rigoberto Hernandez

Rigoberto Hernandez is a journalism student at San Francisco State University. He has interned at The Oregonian and The Orange County Register, but prefers to report on the Mission District. In his spare time he can be found riding his bike around the city, going to Giants games and admiring the Stable building.

Join the Conversation


Please keep your comments short and civil. Do not leave multiple comments under multiple names on one article. We will zap comments that fail to adhere to these short and very easy-to-follow rules.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. The Mission changed when the Dovre Club was evicted from the Womens Building. The same people who are now decrying evictions for greed across the neighborhood, threw Paddy Nolan out of his pub as he was dying of cancer so they could rent the space for a few more $$$. Karma is a bitch.

    1. The Women’s Building put a child care center in the former Dovre Club space. Dovre relocated, remaining in the Mission, to Valencia. ACT-UP/SF folks used to hoist pints at the Dovre after our meetings.

    2. You are exactly right. Everything started changing then. The “new” Dovre was in no way the same.

  2. Dozens of new businesses open, housing is built, creative people move in, crime goes down, and this site focuses on negativity and the so-called “end of the Mission.”

    1. Bob, the problem is that stories of greed and envy sells newspapers and attract eyeballs.

      This is one of those stories that the media loves to play up and, when enough of them do so, the perception is created that there is a huge social crisis happening rather than the reality that you and I observe – the gradual upgrading of a neighborhood over time, along with a manifestation of social and economic mobility and capital investment in the future.

      The peddling of contrived outrage is journalistically easier to report than an objective analysis. But we should hold the media accountable to produce more of the latter and less of the former.

      1. SF’s spytech fueled real estate greedfest is all cooked up by the media… NOT.

        Somebody is trying to rationalize being a blood-sucking tick on 2 legs. It’s not working.

        1. Are you sure? Ordinary people I know do not talk about this at all. I just read about it as if it were some vast disembodied conspiracy theory.

          The end of the Mission? More hyperbole.

          1. It’s all “ordinary people” in the Mission ARE talking about, John. Try leaving your cave once in a while.

          2. Michael, I suppose it depends how you define “ordinary people” and what circles you move in.

            But most folks I know are too busy living their lives to worry about such vague, nebulous concepts as gentrification.

            There’s a media frenzy but I don’t see much supporting it.

  3. There’s no “tipping point” or particular place.

    The destruction of an urban ecosystem composed of a complex assortment of people by replacement with a monocrop of obedient corporate drones is a slow, gradual process.

    1. Are you opposed to all mono-cultures? Or just affluent white ones?

      Is the Marina too white? If so, Is Chinatown too Chinese? Is North Beach too Italian? If so, can the Mission be too Hispanic?

      Could you outline the optimal socio-economic and ethnic mix that a neighborhood should have in order to meet with your cultural correctness approval?

        1. Many of us have lived in the Mission for decades. Sure there was some grumbling around the time that I arrived 25 years ago but no pitchforks and torches, we did not out-bid locals for housing.

          This is not happening organically. The ruling elites have effected pro-cyclical economic policies that throw more gasoline on the fire. This is done to benefit everyone BUT existing San Franciscans, newcomers and businesses, at the expense of long term residents.

          Not only have they gone pro-cyclical, they’ve repealed countercyclical policies to further bring on the tsunami. This is not happening by accident.

          1. marcos, if you had “out-bid locals for housing” you would not know it.

            When you bought your condo, you presumably out-bid the other buyers.

            When you rented whatever place you had before that, you presumably outbid the other applicants.

            You are a part of the process that you criticize.

          2. No, you are wrong and have no empirical data with which to substantiate your increasingly outlandish conservative asset ions.

          3. If you bid for a condo, the chances are that there were lower bids that failed.

            The question you are ducking is this: How do you know that was not the case? Realtors typically do not disclose to buyers what the others offers were.

            Your statement is implausible and unknowable.

          4. We moved here well before we worked for 12 years and were able to purchase our home with the help of relocation assistance. I was speaking to the housing situation that we found when we moved here in 1989.

            Libertarian capitalism had not been exalted at that point, landlords were not nearly as cutthroat as Asco.

          5. OK, so when you stated that “we did not out-bid locals for housing”, you were specifically excluding your purchase of a condo when, presumably, you did out-bid the other bidders, some of whom may have been locals?

          6. When my friends & I were renting in the Mission 20-25 years ago there was no “out-bidding” others to rent our apartments. There were vacancies with a set rent & we moved in, While I was not in the purchasing market, I paid some attention to it. There were not bidding wars for places in the Mission then. If you wanted a place you bid under asking & probably got it for something close to asking. So, no, people like Marcos & me & many people I knew did not displace people, we replaced them as they moved on. It’s very different now. People are clearly being displaced, forced out.

  4. The question ostensibly being asked is, “The closure of which place would be the death of the Mission”. This is an absurdly leading question for a ‘journalist’ to pose.

    1. Bombay Ice Cream used to be a big Indian food & general products store. I kind of think “my” Mission disappeared when that Indian store closed (actually became the much smaller ice cream shop). That is when all the new restaurants & shops started moving in. The ouster of the Dovre was also a death blow to “my” Mission.

  5. The closing of Val 16th Market may have been the tipping point – it really was the “anchor store” of that part of Mission/Valencia. What follows in that space will set the tone of 16th Street thereabouts for the next few years.

  6. The mission will have changed for the better when a weekend goes by without someone being mugged.

  7. The mission changed when The 500 Club removed their nasty carpet… after that moment the mission was never the same.

  8. Artist Television Access – The Marsh – Seigels – San Francisco Media Archives/Oddball Films – McCarthy’s (oh wait McCathy’s closed 20 years ago)

  9. The Mission is such a large and diverse area that it is hard to designate any one entity or institution or building as being the essence of the Mission.

    But I think the question is misleading and presumptive. The Mission isn’t “ending”; it is merely changing. And all neighborhoods undergo change. Whether it is good or bad is highly subjective and, in any event, change typically can incorporate both.

    So here is a question for you. What signified the “end” of the old Mission, when it was populated by Irish, Italians etc?

    If you cannot in retrospect identify one factor for that then it is unlikely that you can do so now.

    Change is opportunity. You either seize it or passively complain about it. Your choice.

    1. This suggests that place and people don’t matter and yet they do. We become attached in odd but important ways. When we moved to our block there were the grandchildren of two immigrant Irish families. When one left, it was sad. Our block lost that continuum and their stories. David’s list below is interesting. ATA would definitely be a tipping point for me and I don’t even go there that often, but there is something about seeing/experiencing the crowd that gathers out in front during a break in the show or afterwards. It is part of my Mission landscape and yes, it will probably change someday and I’m sure others will bring different memories, but still, we are human, we hold on.

      1. Lydia, I wasn’t suggesting that there is nothing of meaning or value here. Nor that the loss of institutions cannot be sad.

        But the phrasing of the question was ambiguous. The title asks what signifies “change” but then the text asks what signifies the “end” of the Mission.

        My point was that nothing signifies the end of the Mission, because it continues to be vibrant and creative. While what might signify a material change will vary because, as you note, they are very personal and subjective factors.

        Reports of the Mission’s death are greatly exaggerated.

      2. The issue is not one of preempting all change. Rather how can change proceed respectful of what was there before as the new arises? Instead of n = n + 1, we’re seeing n = n + m. Instead of A, B, C, we’re seeing jumps by increment, A, I, M.

        There are many boosters and conservative politicos who are champing at the bit to build the progressive diversity out from under the Mission for their own political and economic benefit.

        1. Marcos has a point. Yes – change is inevitable but the concern is rate of change, the variables causing the change, and the those impacted by it.

          The current situation as we know is fueled by the tech industry and it’s employees with higher incomes. They are received with open arms by the real estate sector. That wouldn’t be so bad but the truth is that GREED is driving force with the real estate sector. To get the higher rents or the highest purchase price also means that unjust evictions and widespread speculation is taking place. The impact to those in vulnerable housing situations are significant to warrant policy intervention. We cannot just assume that the market will take of itself and level out at some point. That point might be too late.

          The conservative groups and greed driven real estate sector will continue to advocate for less city intervention and primarily because it’s not in their favor.

          Most of us understand it but the advocacy from those like John and his ilk will just continue without an ounce of compassion or concern for those impacted. We’ll hear the “move if you can’t afford it here…there is Oakland, control is ruining the City..” and so on.

          Basic greed for the troll.

          1. Most change is organic and natural. It doesn’t require intervention and, moreover, intervention can just make it worse.

            I can almost agree with you that transition is OK as long as it is gradual. And in fact it is gradual – for all the whinery about Ellis evictions, in 30 years they have affected less than 1% of SF’s buildings. That’s a footnote.

            I disagree that tech is causing all change in SF. Tech is still only about 10% of the local economy. Rather, tech is just a convenient scapegoat and it seems that the backlash is already receding. If a white male tech worker like marcos buys a condo in the mission and makes 300K profit on it, as he has done, I see no problem with that.

            The Mission has always been changing and always will. The question is this. Is your concept of the Mission frozen in time and do you want to preserve it like a historic theme park? Or do you wish to see a vibrant, flexible neighborhood that can take in its stride whatever the passage of time throws at it?

            I have enough faith in the mission and its denizens to know that we will all be just fine, even if some baseline level of social mobility persists.,