An estimated 300 people filled City Council chambers on Tuesday night- a capacity crowd that required another 50 people to go to the adjacent Portland Building to watch a live feed of the dueling testimony over the proposed renaming of 39th Ave to Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.
More than 150 people signed up to testify during the four-hour hearing, with most of the speakers opposed to the idea of renaming the thoroughfare for the late Latino labor leader because of the cost and incovenience to change their addresses. Despite the long list of speakers, the council allowed everyone one minute to address the public- though that limit was often stretched.
By 9:15, with 80 people left on the list to testify, Mayor Sam Adams encouraged only those with unique statements to address the council.
Shelli Romero, a supporter of the renaming, said during the hearing she wished a white person could walk in her shoes for just one day. When people ask why rename a street, her response is "
Streets connect people."
Also speaking for the renaming was former Mayor Tom Potter, whose effort during his term to rename Interstate Avenue for Chavez failed
The council will vote on July 8, with members saying they want time to finish reading all the e-mails on the issue. In Commissioner Amanda Fritz's case, that means catching up on 800 of them.