Name Change

I’m not sure why, but it really irritates me when the city goes and changes street names. As you know if you live around here, the lastest debate is whether or not to change Interstate Ave. to Chavez Way to honoor Cesar Chavez. My question is ‘why?’. Why is this important and how does this really honor anyone? It seems so ridiculous to me and rather annoying. If you’re looking to honor a person why not name a building or a park after them, don’t go messing with something that everyone has to use like street names. I think so many people don’t take into account the extra costs this creates for local business that are located on these streets. Since I’ve lived here I’ve seen:

Union turn into MLK
Front avenue turn into Naito parkway
Portland BLVD to Rosa Parks Way
82nd ave to 82nd Avenue of the Roses (to send a positive message to the broader community about 82nd) puullleease.

I fail to see the honoring aspect by naming chunks of roadway after someone. As far as all the crime and crap on MLK Blvd it seems more of a ‘dis’honor to name it after someone so great.

Am I alone on this?

UPDATE: So apparently it has been approved that 4th avenue in SW PDX is going to be changed to Chavez. This has to be the dumbest idea ever. Change a numbered street downtown to a ‘named’ one. As if the one way shenanigans downtown aren’t confusing enough! Argh. So irritating.


  1. Pamela said,

    November 19, 2007 @ 9:55 pm

    You are not alone on this. What about taxpayer expense? Plus don’t government officials have a lot more important things to do?

  2. Phil said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 11:32 am

    This also drives me nuts…name a building after them or something. Now everyone has to print new stationary(who pays for that?) giving directions makes less goes through chinatown! Seriously and disagreeing with it gets you labeled a racist. It will always be 4th to me!

  3. Billy said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 11:52 am

    Everyone has a GPS-enabled navigational tool in their car/phone which is kept up to date with online maps. Only grandpas afraid of technology and change are complaining. Yet grumpy grandpas don’t even go downtown because they hate the hippies and the bums.

    In fact, we should rename ALL our streets every 2 years to keep people on their toes.

  4. EsoPhil said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 7:16 pm

    I have yet to find a single person who thinks this anything less that the dumbest idea in the history of mankind. Maybe back in the dinosaur ages or pre-mammal in general, it might pass. But nowadays? It’s so ridiculous that Ape Man Charlie… well, he thinks it’s dumb too I think. First of all, you’re right, it totally punishes local businesses, and it’s pretty much pointless. If you’re going to name something “in honor” of someone, choose something that doesn’t effect anyone, like a bridge, NEW street, a beautiful park or statue, or anything else. If anything, it says to me, let’s name something that is the lowest of the low, something we throw trash, cigarettes, and dirty feet all over. Let’s walk right on the memories of these good people who we are supposedly honoring. Okay, so that’s extreme, but I see no “honor” in naming a street after someone. It just makes those streets more annoying to say, and the name gets lost because no one on earth is willing to say it every time… take “MLK Boulevard”, for example. Most people don’t bother to actually spell it out, and I doubt many people get warm, fuzzy feelings about the significance of the great man it’s named after just by driving there. Can these people be honored when they are dead anyway? I don’t think these actions have anything at all to do with honoring someone. It more likely relates to calming what the politicians fear as racial unrest… or at least the potential for it. It’s like, “If we name a street after one of their heroes, then maybe that’ll satisfy them or help label us as friendly to their culture.” What a joke! I have nothing against these honored people. They deserve honor for contributing to the changes in society, for the better of mankind, equality, etc. But this seems like a meaningless, token act that does nothing more than annoy everyone and cause problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s unwarranted anyway. Probably no one asked for it… but now that the idea is out there, people will cry if it gets rejected, even though it didn’t even enter their minds to ask for it. And then there’s the whole fact that the Portland politicians completely ignored the protocol written in law for proposing a street name change. It should be outright rejected just because of that, regardless to sentimental or opinionated reasons. I guess politicians are above the law nowadays. Oh well. I guess I don’t care that much because it doesn’t affect me, to be honest. But those are my thoughts nevertheless.

  5. EsoPhil said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

    I think we should replace all occurrences of the number 4 with ‘Caesar Chavez’. We shall teach all children going forward to count… 1, 2, 3, Caesar Chavez, 5, 6, 7, etc. Anyone who is caught using the number 4 in written or oral form will be severely punished. Think of the honor this would give him. If he was alive, it’s what he would want, in fact, he’d demand it. Oh wait… I don’t think he would. If he did, he probably wouldn’t be respected as the great man he is.

    Or, as a man commented yesterday while we were eating lunch… “Perhaps we should change the name of our city to Guadalajara”. I’m not 100% sure what his motive in saying that was. If racist or harsh, I totally reject his joke. But I read it as, “Let’s totally lose our identity for no reason to do what will not honor anyone, but rather confuse.” [sarcasm]

  6. EsoPhil said,

    November 20, 2007 @ 7:28 pm

    Oops… César Chávez… :) I’m no good at Spanish phonetics! I hope the people making the street signs aren’t as clueless as I am

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