In Honor of MLK Jr.: It’s Time to be Blunt about Oregon’s “Progressive” Past and Present.
On Sunday, January 15th, at an MLK Jr. Celebration titled “Advancing the Dream,” Portland’s new Mayor, Ted Wheeler, listed milestones of Oregon’s dark, racist past. Wheeler noted, “The 1857 Oregon Constitution explicitly excluded black people from living in Oregon. There were 20,000 KKK members in Portland in 1920. During WWII, Portland wanted black workers, but didn’t want black neighbors. Vanport was created outside of the city limits for a reason. 18,000 people were displaced by the Vanport floods, 25 percent of whom were black.”
Over the past 3 years, a construction project at the corner of NE Monroe and NE Martin Luther King, Junior Boulevard (MLK) has blocked the sidewalk on the west side of MLK. This has created a situation where people can either walk 1200 feet out of direction by going to Rodney and back, cross MLK twice or just walk in the road.
Last night Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) held an open house for the “Rodney Bikeway Project” at Immaculate Heart Catholic Church community room. In summary, PBOT wants to make Rodney, from Broadway up to Killingsworth a “Bikeway”. The idea is to give bikers a calm and safe route up and down Rodney. It was a well-attended event.
Looking at the designs, there are three problems to be concerned about.
“This Board (Humboldt Neighborhood Association) is opposed, as a matter of policy, to retaining the names of schools and other public institutions named for former slave owners and others who did not respect equal opportunity for all.”
I love our neighbors to the north and slightly west as much as anyone. Admittedly, I’m somewhat jealous that they have two “Main Streets” in their neighborhood while Eliot is struggling to get one. Perhaps someday Mississippi or Williams will eventually extend south from Boise into Eliot.
The other day while walking to work I passed by the triangle where MLK and Grand come together at Hancock. I noticed the sign announcing construction for the new gateway project to begin Spring 2011. Then I recalled all the hubabalu about the project last May. I was angry that our neighborhood lost out on a positive change due to the whining of a few.