23 May 2009
Renaming 39th Avenue
This past April there was an article “Don’t rename 39th Avenue” published in the Oregonian editorial section opposing the renaming of 39th Avenue in downtown Portland. This editorial’s claim is that this 7.2 mile arterial stretch of road is essential 25,000 to 30,000 motorists to find their way through the City of Portland. It also claims that the 655 single-family homes do not want the name change either.
The editorial supports this claim by stating that even though 39th Avenue does not have significant historical value or meaning, renaming the street would cause many people would get lost. The author of the editorial suggests instead of renaming 39th Avenue, name TriMet's new pedestrian, transit and light-rail bridge over the Willamette. The editorial states that this would honor Cesar Chavez as much or more than renaming 39th Avenue (The Oregonian).
This issue seemed to hit the media in October 2007 when the then Mayor of Portland, Tom Potter, suddenly left a street renaming meeting regarding Cesar Chavez (Mayer). Since then, this issue has continued to gain more media attention. However, Tom Potter later defended his actions stating that the commissioners were discussing alternatives to the renaming proposal, which was disrespectful to the Hispanic community (Redden).
The City of Portland has a city code that took effect in 1989 and it explains the criteria for renaming a street. According to the code, any individual or organization may apply to the City to rename a City street. Only a prominent person who has achieved prominence because of his or her significant, positive contribution to the United States of America and/or the local community qualifies. The prominent person must be a real person and someone who has been deceased for at least five years (City of Portland).
According to the City of Portland, the deciding group in this matter is the Portland Planning Commission.... [continues]
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