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The Lagoon District label sparks gentrification concerns

The branding of a portion of Santa Barbara’s Eastside led to a meeting between marketers and community activists.

They discussed a The Lagoon District website at the Rose Cafe on Haley Street on Thursday afternoon.

Oniracom CEO Jacob Tell created the website and agreed to listen to critics of the plan.

“Our whole thing is to shine a light on stories that don’t get social media,” said Tell.

The website offers membership for free.

Community organizers with Poder have questioned why the website is only in English and why the area is being called The Lagoon District rather than Laguna or another name.

Michael Montenegro compared it to an improvement plan along Milpas St.

“Gentrification is a complex issue. It is important we have a conversation to challenge it and don’t let it just be rubber stamped,” said Montenegro. “

He is concerned raising rents could harm mom and pop businesses that serve the local working class community.

Poder hopes to organize a community meeting to further discuss the issue.

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