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November 22nd, 2006 Alice Joy | News Stories
 

The Name Game

WW readers do their part to christen the tram.

     
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Can you feel the excitement?

No, not the upcoming holidays. The looming Nov. 30 deadline Commissioner Sam Adams gave us Portlanders to submit names for the aerial tram cars soon to be traversing the slope between Marquam Hill and South Waterfront.

Adams' office reports receiving about 830 tram-name suggestions this month at his blog (commissionersam.com) with about a week to go.

Since they're not sharing any of the names yet, WW last week asked readers for what we should call standard-bearers for a project that nearly quadrupled in cost from an initial $15 million estimate to $57 million.

We got about 35 entries in six days. Here are some of the highlights:

Reader Robin Denburg was among a handful who suggested naming one car Boon and the other Doggle, as in Boondoggle, or "a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation" (thanks, dictionary.com!). Denburg also points out that boon is a term for something that benefits its investors (ahem, OHSU) and Doggles are...well, dog sunglasses.

Many people took a similarly jaundiced view.

"Since it picks up where the StreetCar leaves you off" one anonymous reader wrote in, "...something of a combination of StreetCar and tram? SCAM...."

Others seized on the vaguely phallic structure of the tram's tower to suggest "Iron Cock" and "The Great Silver Penis."

Paul Pimentel, producer of KPOJ's Thom Hartmann show, riffed off Adams' suggestions for coupled names, suggesting Jack and Jill, as in "Jack and Jill went up Pill Hill." Pimentel was kind enough to point out that no one wants the tram cars to suffer a similar fate as the nursery-rhyme pair.

But for simplicity's sake, we think reader Kris Haines' suggestion best captures the reaction every time we spot the latest addition to Portland's skyline: "Trammit."

 
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