Eugene City Council reverses self, approves MLK street naming
Signs will go up in 30 days on Eugene's new Martin Luther King Jr.Boulevard after the Eugene City Council reversed itself Wednesday and voted 6-2 to rename Centennial Boulevard after the slain civil rights leader.
The remarkable turnaround came just two days after the council rejected an NAACP proposal to rename the boulevard for King and one day after outraged black leaders said they had no intention of participating in a committee charged with considering other ways to honor King.
The action is being celebrated in Eugene. Eugene citizens worked hard to get Centennial Blvd renamed to Martin Luther King Blvd. Lane County commissoners agreed to pay for any signage changes. Rallies were held to talk about the process. City officials originally said they should name some other landmark after MLK. They suggested the Ferry street bridge. Social activists and the NAACP were outraged at this. The controversial bridge was built by tearing down low-income housing and green space used by working class citizens. The NAACP and African American leaders in the city said they would have nothng to do with such a project.
After the first vote hundreds of people wrote to the local papers, called radio stations and said they would start a recall campaign of the present city councilors who opposed giving MLK's name a place of prominence.
Good work Eugene activists and NAACP!