I was taking a walk down Northeast Broadway yesterday afternoon, looking to satisfy my craving for a piece of cake. Rose's Deli just opened a new location a few blocks from where I live so I headed that way. I was prepared for a drizzly walk, but not the new storefront decor along the way.
Broadway is one of the streets that could be changed to Cesar Chavez Boulevard. On several storefronts there are large, yellow banners that are aimed at drawing in customers to sign petitions to "Save Historic Broadway." One of the largest is in front of one of my favorites, Pastini Pastaria. These signs were a little too reminicent of the last Chavez battle that went down in my former part of town, North Portland. That battle opened up wounds and drove neighbors apart. I got to the point where I didn't ask my neighbors how they felt about it because I wanted to remain friends.
These are two vastly different neighborhoods but they are bringing up the same bad feelings that came around last time. Just like Interstate, Broadway is an avenue named after something inanimate. I ask myself, what's the big deal? Isn't it an honor to have our street named after a person who transformed history? I realize to many people, it isn't an honor. To some it's an expense, it's a distraction, or it's simply uncomfortable. While others feel that naming a street after a person of color means the wrong element might start coming around.
However it's discussed, I still feel hurt and disappointed that we as a city can't make this happen. I don't want a park, I don't want a library, I would like a street. I would like to say I live off of "Cesar Chavez Boulevard." Making an inclusional change for the better, that's historic.