Apologies for the somewhat emotional tone of this post. Sitting in council watching this debated for what even Commissioner Leonard admitted felt like the 20th year was surprisingly frustrating!
The basics: Council voted five-zero to rename 39th avenue as Cesar Chavez Boulevard this morning. Here's what happens now:
The Auditor shall notify owners and occupants of all property abutting the street being
named, affected public agencies, the general public, US. Post Office, emergency services
organizations of the name change through public notice, direct correspondence, and other
e. The Bureau of Maintenance shall install new street signs showing the new street name
alongside the existing name signs and shall maintain both sets of signs for a period of five
years at the level of maintenance approved for street name signs city-wide
f. At the end of five years the Bureau of Maintenance shall remove the 39th Avenue signs.
That's how you rename a street.
Original post, 11:28am:
Go ahead. Get in your car and feel how this city has changed. Drop out rate for Latinos in high school? Still fucking scandalous. But at least we can take a trip down a renamed street. Oh, Portland...
Council struck some serious tones. There was emotion on display. In fact, you'd think we were voting this morning to embark on a survival mission for Mars.
"Some will perceive this process as having winners and losers, but ultimately we are all winners when we are open to new cultures and perspectives," said Dan Saltzman, voting yes.
"I think it's important to have a discussion about whether we should be renaming streets," said Randy Leonard. "I look forward in the future to having a discussion about the whole topic of street naming changes with the council, but it is not appropriate to have that discussion in this context."
"Chavez was a person who was willing to put it all on the line to fight for what he believed in and there's nothing to me that's more important than that," Leonard continued, voting yes.
"People really care about this, and I am grateful for your passion for this city," said Amanda Fritz. "I believe the process has given me all the information I need to make a decision." She voted yes.
"The process has been marked more by respect than by confrontation," said Nick Fish, voting yes. "It pleases me greatly that there is a consensus here today."
"For my family, we would be honored to live on Cesar Chavez boulevard," Fish continued—he lives on 39th.
"My mother in law Carmen Gomez was born in Cordoba in the South of Spain," said Fish. "Not one single woman in her family had ever attended high school."
He sure does like to talk.
"This particular process was the most rigorous of any that we know of," said Sam Adams, voting yes. "I want to thank the Save 39th Avenue folks who testified at our hearing for the thoughtful and respectful nature of their concerns."
If only all the energy, time and focus on both sides of this issue had been invested elsewhere.