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Street Debate Goes South..

by Joe Donlon

Bio | Email | Follow: @pdxpeacock

kgw.com

Posted on November 19, 2007 at 3:12 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:33 PM

How in the world did we get to this point? The idea of renaming a city street - in honor of Cesar Chavez - has gone horribly, and embarrassingly wrong.

Interstate Avenue is apparently off the table. That debate lead the mayor to walk out of one meeting. Suddenly, it's now - 4th Avenue. That decision left the hispanic community in tears at City Hall.

So, 4th Avenue -- which runs right through Chinatown -- would be renamed in honor of Cesar Chavez. How much sense does that make? None, to the Chinese community -- which now wants to rename that section of 4th in honor of Dr. Sun Yat Sen, the founder of the new China.

Here's a thought. Why not consider Grand Avenue? Forgive me if I'm missing some historical significance to the name Grand, but it would make sense -- in several ways. It would be a perfect compliment to Martin Luther King Blvd. The one way street would be MLK in one direction, and Cesar Chavez in the other.

Several other streets would also make sense, and they have -- at some point -- been in the mix. But not anymore. Some have suggested Broadway, which runs from PSU - through the heart of downtown - and into North Portland. But at this point, it appears all that debate is over. The city is moving forward with 4th Avenue.

I guess I'm just surprised at how this has spiraled so terribly out of control. Where is the reasonable, rational debate? Why has this become so divisive? Why are we - as a community - unable to come to some sort of decision that works?

I guess I'm just frustrated, because we've taken an opportunity to celebrate something positive --and turned it into a chasm that I fear will take a LONG time to bridge.

Newschannel 8's Randy Neves has been covering this issue for us. He'll have the latest on the debate, tonight at 6.

Joe Donlon

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