At Alameda County eviction court, one judge tries to swim through a tsunami

OAKLAND, CA - After the Alameda County eviction moratorium expired, eviction cases exploded. After three years where lawsuit numbers never reached above 100 a month, there were 557 filings in May.

Now, the three cities that kept eviction bans in place longer—Oakland, Berkeley, and San Leandro—are sunsetting their policies too, and another spike is expected.

“The question was, are we going to get hit with a tsunami?” said Judge Victoria Kolakowski. “And we have been.”

But she said a “gigantic flood” would be a more apt metaphor. For every one case resolved in her courtroom, dozens more are being filed.

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