What’s in a Name Change?
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What costs $150,000 of taxpayer money, is opposed by 90% of the people affected and could cost small businesses thousands? Renaming 39th Avenue Cesar Chavez Boulevard.
For the last three years the Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee has been trying to rename a street in Portland after Mexican-American labor leader Cesar Chavez. Running into community opposition on three previous streets, the Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee now has petitioned the City of Portland to rename 39th Avenue Cesar Chavez Boulevard.
One problem with this gesture is that it is opposed by 90% of the people who live on 39th Avenue, according to a survey done by the City of Portland. Businesses on 39th Avenue will have to pay for new signs, update documents and notify vendors without any compensation for lost money or time. The nine stores on 39th Avenue with “39th” in their name all will have to be renamed. The 1,265 residences on 39th Avenue will have to change their addresses and update their driver’s licenses. The Richmond, Beaumont-Wilshire, Montavilla and Laurelhurst neighborhood associations along 39th have voted to oppose the renaming. No association has supported it.
Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard Committee wants to honor Cesar Chavez with a street in Portland. Wouldn’t a better honor be one that the people on 39th Avenue want, too?
Jonathan Calenzani is a research associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.