Chavez and Adams

The city council has been trying to rename Interstate to Cesar Chavez Blvd for a while. From what I understand, they didn’t necessarily go through the right channels to rename a street, so have gotten some pretty fierce pushback from the community. Recently, they decided that they needed to rename something to Cesar Chavez Blvd, so they switched their efforts to SW 4th.

There are lots of bystanders (including myself) who are saying WTF to the whole thing, but one in particular decided to take renaming into his own hands. There is now an initiative to rename E 42nd to Douglas Adams Blvd. I love Portland.

Posted in: Portland

4 thoughts on “Chavez and Adams”

  1. The real problem is this.

    First off, the main neighborhood where the pushback is happening is mine (Arbor Lodge). We’re “pissed off” because we’ve already been subjected to one street name change (Portland Blvd. to Rosa Parks), and now we’re being asked to change another one. And, the Mayor didn’t help when he accused those in the Arbor Lodge Neighborhood Committee of being “racist” because they disagreed with the name change.

    Most of those opposed are not racist. “Interstate Avenue” is a name that is deeply embedded in our local culture in North Portland. We have businesses named after it (Interstate Lanes, Interstate Dental, etc.). Arbor Lodge, Kenton, Portsmouth, Piedmont, Overlook, and Vanport all call ourselves the “Interstate Neighborhoods” (primarily to differentiate us from St. Johns to the west and the inner Northeast neighborhoods to the east).

    In addition, “Interstate” is a word of power. It serves to remind City Hall that we in North Portland are “burdened” with the dust, pollution, and traffic of Interstate 5 and the long inadequate Interstate Bridge. We don’t want the problems of our neighborhoods caused by Vancouver commuters (who as a rule contribute nothing to our neighborhood other than the smog and tire dust they leave behind as they speed along on I-5) to be forgotten.

    As somebody eloquently said: The name Cesar Chavez Blvd. will belong to the Hispanic community. Interstate Avenue belongs to all who live in the “forgotten Fifth” quadrant.

  2. YES! I would totally love 42nd to be renamed to Douglas Adams! I have doubts that it will happen, but if it happens in any city in the country, it’ll be Portland.

    The Cesar Chavez thing came out of left field (for me, at least, because I’m far enough removed from the neighborhood) and I’m still scratching my head over it. It almost feels like they have a quota of street-renames to fulfill and they’re just throwing darts at a board to pick the exact street.

  3. That was the other complaint. The name change for Rosa Parks Blvd. took a year or more of meetings, review, input from the communities affected, etc. The Interstate – Chavez thing got the “fast track”.

    I guess somebody in the Hispanic community got a burr under their saddle because the “black” community has TWO streets named after them, and the Hispanics don’t have any, by gum.

    The only reason why I know about it is the “neighborhood paper” (The St. Johns Sentinel) has been screaming about it for the past month or so. Check out some of the comments on their blog: http://www.stjohnssentinel.com/blog_bullpen.php

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