Remember late last year, when a group of folks wanted to rename a street in Portland for one of their heroes? No, I'm not talking about the Cesar Chavez effort. I'm talking about the move to rename 42nd Avenue for Douglas Adams, author of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
In early January, Aaron Duran of that group dropped off his application at the city--an archaic, triplicate form. Once the city approved it, his group would be clear to start collecting signatures in support of the effort.
As he wrote on January 8:
After much research and waiting for the appropriate workers to return to their desks, the time has come. Rename42nd.org just turned in the paperwork to start the real process to rename NE 42nd Avenue into Douglas Adams Boulevard.
Fast forward more than seven months. Duran, who admits he dropped the ball in following up earlier, stopped by the city's Department of Transportation to check up on his application. Turns out the city doesn't have a record of it.
So Duran re-applied (with the city's new, modern form). And was told to get in line, behind the Chavez effort; the Chavez committee formally applied on July 24.
He posts this update:
Not 24 hours later, another snag. The Department of Transportation (the bureau over name changes) reported they aren't sure how to proceed with our application, as there is an attempt to yet again change a street to Cesar Chavez Avenue. This is an issue because, as written, the City may only change 1 street name a year. We at Rename42nd.org have asked for a special exception in this matter. Why? Well, because there is the possibility the original application was lost during the Department of Transportations transition to a new application (and yes, because we did not follow-up as we should have). Also, we do not believe the people behind the Cesar Chavez street name are following the City Code as it pertains to street name changes. (If we are wrong, please contact us). That is where we sit at this time. In a bureaucratic Limbo. If Douglas Adams was wrong and there is indeed an afterlife, I sincerely hope he is looking down from that afterlife and getting a good chuckle out of our bureaucratic blundering! Remember, we aren't finished and don't panic.
I chatted with Commissioner Sam Adams on Monday night, about other re-name issues related to the Chavez effort. I brought up the 42nd Avenue situation--at that point, I was aware Duran was back in contact with the city--and Adams said that the city code only allows one rename to be implemented per year. In other words, it seems reasonable that two efforts can work their way through the pipeline at the same time, but when it comes time for the council to vote to implement the rename, the council could specify that one will go into effect in 2009 and the other in 2010, for example.
Here's hoping it all gets worked out. Perhaps the mayor and Adams will be willing to convene a special committee, and hire a consultant, to assist Duran with the process?