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Monday, June 22, 2009

Breaking News: Portland Chavez Boulevard Committee vanishes!

By Sean Cruz

In a stunning new development, only hours before the long-anticipated hearing before Portland City Council on the question of renaming 39th Avenue, the entire membership of the Chavez Boulevard Renaming Committee has vanished, apparently leaving only its two co-chairs to soldier forward.

All photographs that might identify the Committee membership suddenly and mysteriously disappeared from the Committee’s website, leaving only speculation as to who the brave souls were who once demanded that the City rename Interstate Boulevard.

The Chavez Committee has never posted the names of its membership, and has held no public meetings, so these photographs were all that gave a clue as to who its members might be during the whole of the past two years.

Among the photographs that once graced the Committee website were those of Maria Lisa Johnson, Director of the City of Portland’s Office of Human Relations, and of Martin Gonzalez, a member of the Portland School Board, both demanding that Interstate Avenue be renamed.

One hopes that these disappearances are not related to reported UFO sightings during a recent electrical storm.

Since so many of the Boulevard Renaming Committee members work inside City Hall, there is considerable concern that their absences might impact the City’s business during the current economic and budget crises.

The Boulevard Committee posted several historic photographs of Cesar Chavez on their website, and it is good to see them there, even if they are uncaptioned and hard to find; follow this link:

The photos would probably have more impact if the Committee had found the time to spell his name correctly:

Hint: ”Cesare E. Chavez” is the wrong spelling; try again!

The Boulevard Renaming Committee apparently could not find the time to identify Cesar Chavez accurately, either, misidentifying him thusly:

“Who Was Cesar E. Chavez? A true American hero, Cesar was a civil rights, Latino, farm worker, and labor leader….”

Further research shows that the City of Portland’s entire Office of Human Relations and its Human Rights Commission have vanished as well, allowing anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican invective, bigotry and inflammatory rhetoric to flood the city unchallenged and unanswered.

From the City of Portland website:

“On March 19, 2008, City Council passed resolution 36571 which approved the creation of an Office of Human Relations (OHR) and a Human Rights Commission.

“Guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the mission of the Office of Human Relations is to work toward: Eliminating discrimination and bigotry, Strengthen inter-group relationships, and Foster greater understanding, inclusion and justice for those who live, work, study, worship, travel and play in Portland.

“The Office of Human Relations will provide leadership on civil and human rights issues through the coordination advocacy, education, research, and intervention services. It will house the Human Rights Commission, comprised of 11-15 volunteer commissioners, who are charged with setting the strategic priorities of the office.”

Since the Office of Human Relations and the Human Rights Commission have been completely absent during the entire street-renaming debacle, it is unclear how long they have been missing, other than to draw their paychecks, which might be direct deposit….

More on this disturbing story to come….

Sean Cruz writes BlogoliticalSean at

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