Grassroots coalition in Portland wants their own Harvey Milk Street

A grassroots coalition in Portland has come together to propose renaming the 13 blocks of SW Stark Street in downtown Portland in honour of national LGBTQ hero Harvey Milk.

Harvey Milk
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The coalition already includes 26 (75%) of the commercial entities on SW Stark Street as well as dozens of community groups, LGBTQ organisations and other members of the downtown business community.

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These leaders believe renaming this street after Harvey Milk, a prominent LGBTQ rights activist and one of the first openly LGBTQ elected officials in American history, will help cement Portland as a fair-minded city that honours its LGBTQ citizens’ struggle for equality. The naming of Harvey Milk Street would recognise this part of Portland for its cultural and historical significance to the LGBTQ community.

“The LGBTQ community is under attack daily by this administration. Renaming SW Stark St. after gay activist and icon Harvey Milk will send a powerful message to LGBTQ youth that they are valued and respected,” said Basic Rights Oregon’s Mikki Gillette.

Portland has already demonstrated its commitment to equality and social justice by renaming several of its streets after well-known leaders of civil rights movements – Martin Luther King, Jr, Blvd in 1990; Naito Parkway in 1996; Rosa Parks Way in 2007; and César E. Chávez Blvd in 2009.

“Honouring the LGBTQ equality movement is a decisive next step in Portland’s journey to
celebrate all who live here. As a business owner on SW Stark, this effort is an exciting
opportunity to demonstrate Portland’s values in our business community, and we’re so thrilled that is has received such widespread support,” said Lisa Schroeder, Chef/Owner of Mother’s Bistro & Bar.

The community coalition, announced today, believes SW Stark Street in downtown Portland is the perfect location for this designation. SW Stark Street was once a centre of LGBTQ culture in Portland. As the LGBTQ community has grown in Portland to areas well beyond SW Stark Street, so too has SW Stark become emblematic of the diversity and community values demonstrated by current local business owners.

“I am proud to add my enthusiastic support to this proposal to recognise Harvey Milk here in Portland. He was a role model of courage and honesty for our country,” said Governor Barbara Roberts.

Photo By Daniel Nicoletta derivative work: Hekerui  [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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