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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Glenn Avenue lives on

A couple of months ago, in blogging about the impending change of a numbered street (39th Avenue) to a named street (César Chávez Boulevard), we told the story of another Portland eastside street that went the other way -- from a name (Glenn Avenue) to a number (32nd Place) -- around 75 years ago. We ended the discussion by noting that a lot of the corner curbs along the latter street have been, and are still being, changed out for modern wheel-friendly cutouts, and we lamented that all traces of Glenn Avenue would be obliterated when the they tore up the old curbs, in which that name had been stamped.

Not so! The city crews laying the new curbs are preserving the Glenn name. At least they did at the corner of "Glenn" and Wygant, which we passed through the other day as part of our pedestrian detour from the wonderful but somewhat bike-manic Sunday Parkways:

Three cheers for the city crew who preserved that little history lesson at ground level.

For more on the story of a bunch of streets in the Alameda neighborhood, including "Glenn," you can go to this excellent site. But who was Glenn? And for that matter, who was Laura? No one seems to know.

Comments (7)

Is that a cobble stone in the picture?

Over here in SE, we had Marguarite, amongst a few others, which are now the numbered "Place" streets, like 35th Pl.

I've noticed this in other cases around Portland too. When a curb is replaced to allow wheelchair access, whatever name that was on the original curb is retained, even if that name has long been changed. It is a compromise between the need for accessibility and the realization that the old name on the curb told of an earlier history. It's a welcome change from Portland's usual (remove the Commissar from the picture) mentality of trying to pretend the old name never existed.

San Francisco incidentally does an interesting thing with street re-naming. The former name of the street appears in small letters below the new name of the street on the street sign. On
San Francisco's Cesar Chavez Street the original street name (Army) is beneath it on the sign. It is a nice nod to history and the local sentiment on the street who might have an attachment to an older name. It also is a minimizer of navigational confusion. I imagine it also lessons controversy over street re-namings.

For all those good reasons, I am sure that Portland would never consider such an action.

Nice touch with the curb stamping of "Glenn Ave." Much appreciated. True Portlander-ness may survive, after all. I would've included a new set of rings in the curb to tie up horses, too.

Is that a cobble stone

No cobblestone here. At the top is street asphalt -- with a wicked rough edge that the city ought to seal up. At the bottom is one of those bright yellow bumpy dealies that I think are supposed to tell people with bad (or no) vision that they've come to a street crossing. In between is the curb. (I wish now that I had put a foot in the shot to show the size for those who aren't familiar with the Portland curb markings.)

BTW, at nearby intersections, those yellow things are falling apart after just a short time in the ground. They look really bad when they're broken. Go by streetcar!

It's actually in the city code (I forget where, but it's there) that the original street name must be re-stamped into the curb at intersections if work is done.

They are also supposed to replace the iron horse-rings too, but that rarely is done.

Wouldn't be surprising if Glenn and Laura were the names of the developers children.

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