Lakeport is located on the west shore of Clear Lake and has a population just over five thousand. It is the oldest incorporated community in Lake County – dating back to 1888 – and is the Lake County seat.
There are several commercial areas located throughout the city, including the historic downtown area, which has been designated a California Main Street City. Its relatively small population makes it possible for Lakeport to maintain small town character and a low-crime rate. Lakeport promotes that it provides “an opportunity for growth and a number of benefits for business and industry, including a pro-business community [and] affordable housing.”
Lakeport is known for its popular recreational activities, such as boating, bass fishing, wakeboarding, swimming, sailing, and kayaking and is a destination for many tourists. With direct access to Clear Lake at Library Park, named after the historic Carnegie Library in the center of town, citizens and tourists alike can access the lake via several free public boat ramps.
Besides water sports, Lakeport hosts several annual events throughout the year. Memorial Day weekend craft fair and parade, a seaplane fly-in, the Fourth of July fireworks and street faire, the Lake County Rodeo in July, the Lake County Fair each Labor Day weekend, several car shows, free Friday night concerts in Library Park during the summer, and the Taste of Lakeport are just a few of the community events held in the City.
The city has a total area of 3.2 square miles, located on a sediment-filled valley adjacent to Clear Lake. There are active faults within the vicinity of the City of Lakeport, including the San Andreas Fault, which is thirty miles to the west. Within the past 200 years, no major potentially damaging earthquakes have occurred.
Lakeport, as well as all of the Clear Lake area, has hot, mostly dry summers and cool, wet winters. Snow is relatively rare in Lakeport, but common in the surrounding mountains.
According to Lakeport’s official website, “With a charming atmosphere, beautiful environment, and great people, Lakeport is a great place to visit and an even better place to live.”
While Lakeport prides itself in its small town atmosphere and low crime rate, the drug threat is a real and present danger of the town falling into the “Lake County High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area” (HIDTA) region. This means rising levels of cocaine, heroin, and ice methamphetamine availability as a result of an expanded presence of Mexican drug trafficking organizations.
The distribution and abuse of crack cocaine have remained the most significant drug threat to the Lake County HIDTA region in recent years. However, heroin availability and abuse have increased significantly, contributing to rising levels of heroin abuse, treatment, and overdoses. Several other drugs are a concern: marijuana is widely available, including high-potency locally produced marijuana, the growing demand for which has resulted in higher indoor marijuana production, which will continue to increase because of high-profit margins.
Controlled prescription drug (CPD) availability and abuse, particularly abuse of prescription opioids, are increasing and are contributing to a recent surge in drug overdose deaths. As has been happening throughout the rest of the country, this feeds the demand for heroin as users who are abusing these opiates find themselves seeking a less expense and more easily available fix. Mexican ice methamphetamine availability is increasing, resulting in an increase in abuse and treatment admissions. MDMA availability and abuse have increased in urban areas of Lake County as indicated by increased seizures and lower prices.
Mexican DTOs supply most of the wholesale quantities of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and high-purity ice methamphetamine available in the region. Street gangs, such as Gangster Disciples, Latin Kings, and Vice Lords control most retail-level drug distribution in Lake County.
While this story of Mexican gangs and drug trafficking could lead one to feel comfortably distant from the problem, the demographics on abusers of prescription opioids, in particular, tells a disturbing story: increasingly, abuse of these substances is an affliction suffered by a more wide-ranging population, including young adults and urban professionals who got “hooked” through a legitimate medical condition where the drugs are originally prescribed by their doctor. It is an insidious threat. For those who find themselves showing signs of addiction, the first step is to recognize that there is a problem. The second is to get help. There are currently two drug abuse information and rehabilitation centers operating in the Lakeport, California area. The first is the Clear Lake Counseling Center, which specializes in addiction treatment for women, addiction treatment for men, court-ordered addiction treatment, and outpatient counseling treatment. The second is the Lake County Alc and Other Drug Services Center, which specializes in teen addiction treatment, court-ordered alcohol treatment for DUI/DWI offenders, addiction treatment for Spanish speakers, outpatient counseling treatment, holistic rehabilitation treatment, and alternate treatment.