The Harvey Milk Street Project
“I know you can’t live on hope alone; but without hope, life is not worth living. So you, and you and you: you got to give them hope; you got to give them hope.”
Check back soon for more info about our project, coalition, and progress!
A Community Effort
We’re a grassroots coalition in Portland who have come together to propose renaming the 13 blocks of SW Stark Street in honor of national LGBTQ hero Harvey Milk. The coalition includes community groups within local LGBTQ organizations and members of the downtown business community. Over 70% of the businesses on SW Stark St have endorsed this effort, and we expect others to soon join them. Check out our growing list of supporters!
Because Portland is a city that embraces equality strives for social justice, it has renamed 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.
Our coalition is preparing to soon take this proposal to Portland’s City Council, and we are seeking ways to commemorate more leaders and aspects of the LGBTQ equality movement.
Why Harvey Milk?
Milk was a national leader in the early stages of the LGBTQ rights movement. The scope of his activism extended well beyond San Francisco – Milk helped in the effort to defeat the anti-LGBTQ Measure 51 in Eugene in 1978, a critical campaign in Oregon’s fledgling LGBTQ civil rights movement. He was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977 and was assassinated the following year by former city council member and anti-gay activist Dan White, who also murdered San Francisco’s pro-equality mayor. To this day, Milk’s legacy and message of hope continues to inspire young LGBTQ citizens around the world.
In 2012, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom, making him the only LGBTQ activist to ever receive this highest award. Other cities – most recently Salt Lake City – have named streets and plazas after him to show their commitment to diversity.
Why SW Stark Street?
SW Stark Street was once a center of LGBTQ culture in Portland. A growing number of local civic and civil rights leaders feel that it would be appropriate to recognize this by renaming the street after Harvey Milk.
The community coalition believes SW Stark Street is perfect for this name change – it would make clear that Portland is a fair-minded city that honors its LGBTQ citizens’ struggle for equality. The naming of Harvey Milk Street would recognize this part of Portland for its cultural significance to the LGBTQ community and history of community respect in Portland. We are also asking the Portland Bureau of Transportation to look into ways to commemorate other aspects of our movement along this street.
Our coalition is currently finalizing our application to the Portland Bureau of Transportation for the renaming process.