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Friday, February 25, 2011

What's in a naime?

A reader down between Division and Powell writes:

There's a bioswale on my corner now. They stamped the concrete with the street name. It is different from the spelling of the street name on the sign right above it.

I asked the concrete guy how they put the name in concrete. He said, "The city has a stamp."

I said, "Tibbetts is spelled wrong."

He said, "No, this is the correct spelling now. They're going to change all the signs next."

I laughed at this. I said, "I guess I will have change all my stationery."

Then he said, "I thought the 'e' was funny."

The bioswale guy thought the "e" was wrong, when it was one of the only things they got right. Is this surprising to you?

Comments (21)

I think that they got it wrong again... Sam should double check. Surely he meant "Tibet St"... or maybe "Free Tibet St"?

It's been spelled different ways since its creation, though I don't think "Tibbet" was one of them.

Dig a little deeper, and you'll find this.

My guess is the morons just spelt it wrong and, unfortunately, cast it in "stone".

I've noticed misspellings on several of the new curbcuts throughout NE Portland. I think they just don't give a damn.

Either that or just one more indication of the collective I.Q. of the people we have elected.

"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle..."

So not only is the plan to redo every single block of our city, but also to rename every street too by the time they are done working us over!! We should have had a clue with this renaming bit when they changed the City of Roses to the City that Works. They just won’t take care of basics, will they? Not glamorous enough for them, so they should move over into the private sector – but then they would have to be accountable for the money they spend and lose their jobs? This must be fun for them, to spend other people’s money!

Should we help them with names?
City Hall, 1221 SW Fourth Avenue - City Hall, 1221 SW Fool’s Avenue

City Hall's reply: "You don't like the new spelling? TS."

Walk east on Fremont (as in John C.) from the NE20s and count the appearances of "Freemont." The possibility that scarce public funds might be wasted to "correct" this endearing eccentricity is discouraging on several counts.

What group / department is (claiming to be) responsible for the decision? I have some toner and 50% rag bond that needs to see some action.

According to "Portland Names and Neighborhoods: Their Historic Origins" by Eugene E. Snyder, Binford and Mort 1979, Tibbetts is named for Oregon pioneer Gideon Tibbetts, and that's with two 'b's and two 't's. That makes the street sign correct.

"Freemont" is actually correct. The guy's name was Frémont, which can correctly be translated with two e's.

Mr Grumpy:

No, 3 T's and 2 B's = Tibbetts but yes, the signs are correct.

While we are on streets, you know that the correct pronunciation of Glisan is glisten (not glee-son).

So instead of earning their pay, the workers, the foreman, and the city department manager are wasting our tax dollars instead.

Several levels of incompetence, and not defensible at all.

No embarrassment, either.

No snark in this; just the truth.

Kudos to Mr Grumpy for consulting Snyder on the subject.

I've long suspected that the policy of the city is, for history's sake, when the streetcorners are rebuilt (for whatever reason) the stamps are put back in just as they were before. For instance, before 1933, the corner of SE Woodstock Blvd and 54th Avenue was known (respectively) as 60th Avenue SE and 53rd St SE. Those marks are still in the pavement today. And SE 19th Avenue, in Sellwood, can be read in the sidewalk as E 19th St S - it's full and correct name before the Great Renaming.

Are you certain that the concrete that was there before didn't have the same spelling? I was under the impression they only stamp when replacing a curb with a stamp, and that they purposefully leave the historical misspellings intact.

On closer observation the city concrete guy is indeed correct: the "E" is "funny" in that it is placed upside-down in the stamping. The "tie" -- the the middle bar on the letter -- is usually slightly above the middle, as it is on the painted sign.

Nice to know that at least the field people know their stuff.

Some Guy: Actually, well spotted, that was the point I was going to make before I got too distracted by what I was talking about. I have always had the impression that they carry not only the archaic street names forward, but also any misspellings that may have appertained, for history's sake.

On the opposite corner from the bioswale, the street name stamped into the corner is "Tibbets" ... that spelling mistake seems to be from 1909. Unless they stamped the wrong year, too. So, within 30 feet, we have Tibbetts, Tibbets, and Tibbet.

The center line of the middle tine of the E may be lower, but, Old Zeb, if it was upside down, would it not be facing to the left, thus a backwards E?

So it is reversed and upside down leading me to believe they have these piles of letters they assemble to make stamps to this very day. Like old stooping type setters with cigars and visors.

I bet Vanna White coulda done this better!

City Code pertaining to historical preservation requires that street names be reinstalled as originally placed. This includes renamed streets, misspellings, upsidedown letters, etc. Please cut the workers some slack!

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