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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 29, 2007 5:20 AM. The previous post in this blog was Boom times in southern Oregon. The next post in this blog is Back from the dead. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Something to cheer about

One of the mysteries of the latest Renee Mitchell incident was exactly what it was at a recent public meeting on the proposed Interstate Avenue name change that made the audience cheer the loudest. Ms. Mitchell originally indicated that it was someone refusing to call MLK Boulevard by its right name, but she later confessed that that wasn't it.

Of course, in the course of making her non-apology, she didn't say what indeed it was. A reader writes in to fill us in:

"Does anyone know what comment elicited the loudest cheers?"

At the 1st public comment meeting, the pro-name change group had a few minutes to present its arguments. The no-name change group did not get a chance to present their opposition. Individuals pro and con were then allowed mike time to state individual opinions.

The 2nd public meeting (described in Mitchell's column) began with presentations from BOTH groups, pro and con name change. Then individuals, pro and con, got to speak.

The comment that got a big cheer at the the 2nd meeting was someone pointing out this difference in meeting formats.

Full disclosure: I didn't attend the entire length of either the 1st or 2nd meeting. But since then I've spoken with many who did. Attendees tell me that the 1st meeting felt like a one-sided sales pitch in favor of the name change. The crowd seemed happy in the 2nd meeting to have someone describe the perceived bias in the 1st meeting. Thus the big cheer.

So there you have it. According to this reader, it was a complaint about the distorted view of "public input" that the bureaucrats of Portland have adopted. For years, they have used the public -- pointing to their sentiments when it suits the bureaucrats' and politicians' agendas, ignoring them when it doesn't.

They're not getting away with it so easily any more. Yay.

UPDATE, 9:10 a.m.: A commenter below questions whether the "second meeting" referred to in the e-mail was the one Mitchell wrote about in her first column, which was published on Oct. 8.

Comments (11)

Well Gosh Gomer!! I guess that means a new Transparency at city hall??

I doubt it. Leonard and Adams balked, but I suspect it wasn't the angry neighbors who swayed them. Angry neighbors don't typically get their way in Portland.

Some developer probably did a marketing study and determined that it will be harder to sell cheesy condos on Interstate if it's renamed after Chavez. Now that will get Sam the Tram's attention in a hurry.

I still like your idea to rename Council Crest Drive, Malcom X Drive best, Jack!
Or...how about renaming the street on which Opie lives!

Great discussion between Amanda Fritz, "doretta" (who apparently served on the commission), and a Merc reporter over at Amanda's blog.

The three posters seem to agree that if process one merits criticism for violating city ordinances, the the Adams/Leonard "solution" is open to precisely the same criticism.

Actually the first Renee Mitchell column about the Interstate controversy pre-dated the 2nd meeting. So it doesn't make sense that anything in the original October 8th column, referred to happenings at the October 9th meeting regarding the renaming.

A very important observation! If the reader's "second meeting" was on October 9, then indeed there's no way the first Mitchell column (which was published on October 8) could have been about it.

I will let the reader who sent me the e-mail message respond.

Stacking the Deck, as many of us know, applies to many other endeavors of CoP bureaucracy. Sam the Tram/Trolley also uses it every time at one of his PR "open houses". Take for example the tram open houses where the "lets not build it" side isn't given a chance to make a presentation. Same goes for "the-next-trolley-in-your-neighbrhood" meeting. Only the "lets-do-it" side presents but Sam will summarize the opposition and why it is not relevant. The Parks Bureau employs the same methods as well as PDOT.

The Mayor could name the new day-laborer center for Ceasar Chavez, but wait that won't work. UFW AND CEASAR long oppossed illegal aliens being used to bust farmworkers attempts to organize. Chavez was a great man and very very humble, a trait some of the politicians and street naming supportors could do well to pratice or this is headed for ANOTHER TRAIN WRECK

I would cheer if Gabriel Garcia Marquez were to offer his thoughts on how (and who) to celebrate regarding the further blending of the peoples of the Americas; that is of the people who largely share European ancestry but remain separated more by language than anything else. I am, after all, not brushing up on Quechua, but Spanish.

why do we need to name streets for "famous" people at all?

why does naming a street after somebody qualify as an honor?

we sure love our memorials, don't we?

They're afraid we're going to take over the governmental institutions and other institutions. They're right. We will take them over . . . We are here to stay." Richard Alatorre, Los Angeles City Council.

" California is going to be a Hispanic state. Anyone who doesn't like it should leave." Mario Obledo, California Coalition of Hispanic Organizations and California State Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare under Governor Jerry Brown, also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton.

Can the same be said for PDX?

Hey, if the shoe fits...they wear it.

Please hold your ground PDX neighborhoods.


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