OAKLAND (KCBS) – A community effort to save Cascos, a martial arts studio that has been a bright spot in East Oakland for 40 years had been recently threatened with foreclosure, has succeeded.

Former students prevailed on Bayview Loan Services to delay auctioning the two buildings at 74th Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard where owner Bill Owens has introduced thousands to karate and other far eastern disciplines.

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KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

Owens got into trouble when the economy turned sour after a risky refinancing deal.

“They really tried to work with me. I just didn’t have the funds,” he said.

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When the call came around noon on Friday that the auction set for Sept. 11 had been delayed for a month, Owens was moved to tears.

“We got a chance now,” he said, acknowledging his money problems were by no means solved.

Community members, current and former students and elected officials have come together over the past several weeks to develop a strategy that would make the studio financially self-sufficient once again.

City officials have proposed converting Cascos into a community center, a plan Owens said he supports because he sees it as a way to keep teaching martial arts in the area.

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