A proposal to rename Union Avenue in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. was unanimously endorsed by the Portland Planning Commission following a hearing Tuesday night.
The next step will be a hearing before Portland City Council. The Council will then take action on the proposal sometime in April or early May, Loretta Young, assistant to Commissioner Earl Blumenauer, said Wednesday. The proposal comes under the city’s Office of Transportation, Blumenauer’s responsibility.
“We’re elated,” said Bernie Foster, published of The Skanner Newspaper. “This endorsement signifies a positive uplift for this city and the state. Those 4,000 signatures can now have their ‘day in court’ before the City Council.” The Skanner surveyed in the community with petitions asking support for a King Street in 1987, and presented the signed petitions to City Council.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Street Renaming Committee was created and has worked diligently on the project since mid-1987. Committee chair Carolyn Leonard states the name change will also serve as a symbol for revitalization of Northeast Portland.
The entire length of Union Avenue will be renamed. According to the Portland Office of Transportation, a five-year transition period will take place. During that time, both names will appear on street signs, allowing businesses a sufficient grace period to use up stationery and other papers with the former street name.
–from The (Portland) Skanner, March 29, 1989. (edited for clarity)