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Portland is renaming a street after gay rights icon Harvey Milk

Portland is renaming a street after gay rights icon Harvey Milk

Portland City Council and residents posing with the new sign

Portland, Oregon is following in the footsteps of other US cities and renaming one of their streets after Harvey Milk.

The 13-block stretch of Southwest Stark Street, once a major neighborhood of the city’s LGBTI community, is getting the change. Portland’s City Council voted unanimously for the update.

‘It sends a signal that we are an open and a welcoming and an inclusive community,’ said¬†Mayor Ted Wheeler. ‘It signals that these are values that we hold deeply.’

The vote coincides with Pride Month and the city’s upcoming Pride parade on Sunday (17 June).

More than a dozen people testified before the vote, explaining Milk’s influence on their lives and why they moved to Portland.

Nancy Haque, co-executive director of Basic Rights Oregon, said that street names matter because they ‘make us feel welcome, or definitely not welcome’.

Congratulations are in order

After the city council adopted the ordinance, a member said they ‘went out on a little limb’. Then he pulled out the Harvey Milk street sign, showing the confidence that the vote would go this way.

The moment was met with great applause.

Other cities in the United States have similarly changed street names to honor Milk. Most recently, Salt Lake City and San Diego did so.

Street names aren’t the only things getting changed, though.

In San Francisco, where Milk was the first openly gay elected official in California before his assassination, they renamed one of their airport terminals after him.

H/t: Oregon Live

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