M.L. King Blvd. Rename Endorsed

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)




Class Matters.

Most folks in my predominately white neighborhood see themselves as open-minded; they believe in justice and support the right causes. More often than not, they are social liberals and fiscal conservatives. They may believe in recognizing multiculturalism and celebrating diversity (our neighborhood is full of white gay men and straight white people who have at least one black, Asian, or Hispanic friend), but when it comes to money and class they want to protect what they have, to perpetuate and reproduce it—they want more. The fact that they have so much while others have so little does not cause moral anguish, for they see their good fortune as a sign they are chosen, special, deserving. It enhances their feeling of prosperity and well-being to know everyone cannot live as they do.

bell hooks, Where We Stand: Class Matters.


The Right to the City.

“A ‘logic of representation’ centers on the rights of groups and individuals to make their desires and needs known, to represent themselves to others and to the state – even if through struggle – as legitimate claimants to public considerations. Such a logic requires the acceptance of a (near) universal and positive right of representation. Yet, as with any other right, such a right cannot be guaranteed (“accepted”) in the abstract – rather, it is something always to struggle toward. In this struggle, the development – or often the radical claiming – of a space for representation, a place in which groups and individuals can make themselves visible, is crucial.

While it is no doubt true that the work of citizenship requires a multitude of spaces, from the most private to the most public, at the same time public spaces are decisive, for it is here that the desires and needs of individuals and groups can be seen, and therefore recognized, resisted, or (not at all paradoxically for thoroughly materialist rather than idealist normative social practices ) wiped out. The logic of representation demands the construction  – or, better, the social production – of certain (though not necessarily predetermined) kinds of public space.

–Don Mitchell, “The Right to the City”

Portland Postcards.

The quiet genius that drives Portland Postcards continues to offer us a different way of seeing the buildings that surround us. Take a look at:

Vanport Square

Small Parts Manufacturing

Miracles Club (the music for this postcard is pretty cute.)

County Building on MLK

Conga Club building (this building needs an actual name)

Elevated Coffee

H&B Pawn Shop (thumbs up to the sounds here)


United Fire & Safety

Old Town Pizza

The P.A.C.E. building at Wygant

DePaul at Alberta

Me2Fitness at Alberta

McCoy Village

Portland Observer

Rhythm Traders (with drums as it should be)

and of course: Portland’s most famous empty lot.