Thursday, July 26, 2007


Willamette Week's recent Best of Portland came out a few days ago. One of the entries in the Reader's Poll caught my eye:

Least Despicable Neighborhood Neologism

Although a startling number of you didn't get that the question was written in jest, the top five were: NoPo (North Portland), TweBu (28th Avenue and Burnside Street), FoPo (Foster-Powell), LoBu (Lower East Burnside Street), and the very popular write-in candidate, "THESE ARE ALL STUPID MAKE THEM STOP." ?Other notable write-ins: "WeMo (Westmoreland)"; "The Taint (upper and lower) halfway between Couch and Ash"; "SoWhat? (South Waterfront)" (11 votes); "Shunthorpe"; "PoNoMo (Old NoPo)"; "PlsStop"; "oh god no! No! No! No!"; "NoPoPoPoOhNo"; "NonPo (Milwaukie)"; "NePoGo (NE Port. Golf)"; "LoKi (lower Killingsworth)"; "CloTi (Close-in Tigard, baby)"; "Clivison"; "BePop—Between Popeye's on MLK"

I would like to offer a brand-new nickname for my neighborhood: NoRo. North of Rosa Parks Way. In a somewhat controversial and seemingly random move, Rosa Parks Way is the brand new name of Portland Blvd. Everyone loves Rosa, that's not a problem (except maybe OutKast). But it seemed like the whole thing happened under the radar and very quickly. Did the residents of the street even have a choice in the matter? And who is paying for all the new signage? And wouldn't Rosa's name and meaning make more sense in a part of Portland that was lily-white?

The latest rumor is that Interstate is going to be renamed Cesar E Chavez Blvd. I'm certainly not trying to minimize the importance of those 2 very special social leaders, but it's kinda funny to think about - in a hundred years will those names mean anything? OK, they will, but I know that I don't have any idea who or what Belmont was, or Killingsworth or Alberta or Marshall or any of the other dozens of street names I see every day. Sadly, the only old Portland street names that resonate anymore are Lovejoy, Van Houten, Kearney, Flanders, Quimby, Terwilliger and Evergreen Terrace.

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