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Friday, September 14, 2007

Ronald Reagan Boulevard?

Dan over at Cafe Unknown takes an interesting look at the proposed change of the name of Portland's Interstate Avenue to Cesar Chavez Boulevard. As always, he approaches things from a historical perspective.

"For what it is worth," he writes, "the city code states that the City Council is allowed to change a streets name only to correct errors and eliminate confusion. A similarly ignored portion of the code allows street name changes only with a citizen based process that includes a petition and a panel of historians."

The whole thing is here.

Comments (18)

I always thought it would be easier to just cajole some developer to name one of the streets in his or her subdivision for the historical figure. It could be Cesar Chavez Court, running from Marcus Garvey Terrace. The individual would be commemorated and no existing property owner with an address would be inconvenienced - also existing history wouldn't be trampled upon.

yes, yes ... Marcus Garvey Terrace has a beautiful ring to it, just the thing that the expanding boomburbs need. Your suggestion merges nices with my long held belief that developers should name the roads after the trees they remove for their subdivisions.

So, will this "Cesar Chavez Blvd" terminate in some cabbage patch, tomato field, or vinyard as an indication of where his strugle began just be another sop to the whining liberal bedwetters to make the libs feel better?

What, you seriously think that crew down at city hall is going to follow the rules?

The unfortunate part is the unbelievable expenses involved for any business, but particularly the small business, to change all of the documents involved in their everyday activities. Long ago when I worked for a printing company these changes meant additional unexpected revenue for us. But we always felt sorry for the small business owners who had to spend thousands of dollars for all their letterheads, cards, envelopes, mailers, etc. to reflect the street name change. It always appeared that the change in name only served to satisfy someone's very selfish and egotistical motives at the expense of other decent hard working people.

I believe the Post Office honors the old address for quite some time after a change. That doesn't make it right, but it mitigates it somewhat.

That is true; in at least one city that I know of, mail sent to the OLD name for MLK Blvd is still delivered promptly, some 20 years later. The "it costs too much for businesses" line is just a crock.

To me, the issue is more who gets to say what the street in front of your home or business is called -- you and your neighbors, or somebody from nowhere around you who has friends on the City Council.

Maybe the better thing to do would be for the council to identify all streets in town with names that are sufficiently generic that some day, they might conceivably be changed. Broadway, Baseline Road, Macadam Avenue, etc. Then when a good idea for a new name comes up, go to all those streets and see which neighborhood (if any) jumps up and wants it.

On a largely unrelated note, I'm curious -- I don't remember too much controversy when Front Avenue became Naito Parkway. Was I not paying close enough attention? Maybe for that one, as there were only people on one side of the street, things went down easier.

There was a bit of controversy about Front/Naito. You'll note that it doesn't extend down to the industrial area - they raised hell about it.

I always felt it was a bit unseemly. His family hadn't even stopped fighting over the will, and the city was falling over itself to rename the street.

I'm glad they held off on Goldschmidt Drive...

p.s. There's no link over at Cafe Unknown to the portion of city code that's referenced. That sure would be interesting to look at.

Of course, members of the Council *are* allowed to vote on amendments to the code itself... the oldie-but-goody "Notwithstanding" type clause...

Portland had held fast for years to renaming streets to honor only local people. We have, for example, no Franklin D. Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy Avenue, unlike many other big cities. It's fine (as Urban Planning Overlord implies) to name streets after out-of-staters, just not to rename them. Streets are also renamed to conform to the city street grid, or to make navigation easier; for example, a frontage road that had been named Terwilliger Boulevard was renamed to be 4th Avenue some years back, for that reason. The last road I recall being renamed after an out-of-stater before King and Parks were renamed was SW Edison Street, renamed Wright Street in maybe 1910, after the Wright brothers. (Flight beats electricity.)

I didn't like the renaming of Union Avenue or Portland Boulevard as the individuals honored had no special connection to the city. Neither did they (unlike the people for whom the Banfield and Baldock freeways, the Glenn Jackson bridge, and Barbur Boulevard are named) have a connection to roads and highways.

Ask and ye shall receive!

(p.s. There's no link over at Cafe Unknown to the portion of city code that's referenced. That sure would be interesting to look at.)

"...in at least one city that I know of, mail sent to the OLD name for MLK Blvd is still delivered promptly, some 20 years later. The "it costs too much for businesses" line is just a crock."

That is not the point. Would you represent your business on paper with a street name that had been changed 20 years ago? What about all the brochures, the ads in various media, the logos, the image, etc. I'm saying the business has expenses forced upon it to change their representation of their address. What does that have to do with some bonehead sending a letter to an old address? It's is not a difficuolt concept.

Sorry, It's is not a "difficult" concept.

Streets I can live with.

It is when they start naming things after politicians that they claim to "build" that strikes me as self-serving.

Example - Vera Katz Esplanade. Excuse me, the taxpayers paid for this. Why do I need to encourage Vera/Sam to start building stuff to stick their name on?

Following the law isn't important if YOU ARE the law.

It's a government of the liberals, for the liberals. If you don't like it, move to Beaverton.

I have put together a petition against changing the name of Interstate Ave. Please visit http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Keep_Interstate_Ave_Alive/ and sign it to show the Mayor of Portland that you do not want to change the name of a historical street. It is unnecessary, it places a financial burden on the businesses and residents located on the Avenue, and it's a poor use of Portland's tax funds during a time when we could be spending the money on our public school system (or other well deserving opportunities). This change will cost over $100,000 of our hard earned tax money and it's something that we, the tax paying citizens of Portland, should refuse to pay for.

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