‘Sign cap’ dedication another indication of progress along 82nd Avenue

Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams dedicates the latest improvement to the avenue, and says why he’s championed the “Avenue of Roses” project. Discover why this effort is more than simply a name change‚

In this photo illustration, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, and president of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association Ken Turner, take a moment to admire the newly dedicated “sign cap”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
November 23, Portland City Council passed a resolution, “whereas, 82nd Avenue would be referred to as the Avenue of Roses”.

Is changing a highway’s name a meaningless gesture, as some naysayers would scoff?

Judging by the number of neighborhood leaders who have joined with businesspeople working to enhance the quality of life along the storied avenue, the benefits are just beginning to show.

A window on 82nd Avenue
Paul Ellison has had a “window on the world” of this avenue for over a decade. He’s the manager of Bank of the West’s SE 82nd Avenue at Division Street branch.

“Since we started the ‘Avenue of Roses’ project,” Ellison told us, “I’ve seen a lot more interest in creating a livable neighborhood by the community. It’s great to see new construction and new businesses coming here. Crime and street prostitution are declining. And, there’s a lot more ownership and pride in the community.”

Ellison, a board member of the “82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association”, added, “We’re seeing the rebirth of the avenue as we rename it ‘Avenue of Roses’.”

Capping the signs

Representatives from business and neighborhood associations gather, as Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams steps up to make the dedication.

As part of the avenue’s makeover, the business association started work on the sign cap project last year.  It has been funded, in part, by an Alliance of Portland Neighborhood Business Association (APNBA) grant from the City of Portland.

On January 11, neighbors and business people gathered in front of Eastport Plaza at SE 82nd Avenue of Roses and Holgate Boulevard for the official unveiling of the sign caps.

APNBA president Pat Donaldson tells onlookers he was pleased to see this grant being used to post sign-top symbols of the avenue’s improvement.

“This is more than a ‘re-branding’ of this avenue,” Ken Turner, president of the street’s business association told us; “in addition to enhancing the image of 82nd Avenue, we’re creating an atmosphere in which the quality of life‚ represented by roses‚ will grow. With the unveiling of the sign cap here this morning, it indicates 82nd Avenue is undergoing a new beginning as well.”

Greg Zuffrea, president of the East Portland Chamber of Commerce was on hand. He told us, “This is a symbol of the avenue’s revitalization. The continued efforts of these dedicated citizens will bring a new perception‚ and prosperity‚ to this area of East Portland.”

Adams presides over the official un-veiling
Before making his remarks, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams told us, “I’ve supported this project early on. So much of the vitality of the city has shifted out here to 82nd Avenue and beyond.”

During his remarks to the crowd, Adams said Ken Turner deserved the credit for spearheading this effort. “I’m a big believer in the 82nd Avenue of Roses Project. And in the next few months, the Portland Office of Transportation will be investing $750,000 in improving transportation infrastructure on 82nd Avenue. We’re putting our money where our passion is‚ improving 82nd Avenue of Roses.

“Right now, we’ll unveil the sign cap. Within the next two months, I’ll introduce an ordinance before Portland City Council that will officially rename 82nd Avenue as ’82nd Avenue of Roses’.”

With a few gentle tugs, the sign cap was unveiled.

Within minutes, the ceremony was over.

A TV reporter stepped to Adams, and asked why the commissioner seemed to be so enthused about the project.

Adams responded, “To the people on Portland’s west side, 82nd Avenue is an unknown treasure. Getting people to see [this area] differently is why we’re doing this. This isn’t an empty gesture; it is a symbol of pride for folks in East Portland. I’m really happy to see businesspeople and neighbors working together to improve the quality of life in their area.”

Gathered together along the Avenue of Roses are Pat Donaldson, APNBA; Greg Zuffrea, East Portland Chamber of Commerce; Ken Turner, 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Assn.; Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams; and, Paul Ellison, 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Assn.

¬© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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