Saturday, August 15, 2009

Honoring Woody Guthrie Isn't As Easy As It Sounds

Honoring Woody isn’t as easy as it sounds

Portland’s attempts to give Guthrie his due have been thwarted in the past

By Michael Munk, The Portland Tribune, Aug 13, 2009

Congratulations and Godspeed to Nick Sauvie and the Lents Neighborhood Association for proposing to name the Interstate 205 foot and bike path that leads through their neighborhood to the Columbia River for one of its most famous former residents (Rollin’ in Woody’s Shadow, July 30).

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie and his family lived in a rear apartment at 6111 S.E. 92nd Ave. for little more than a month in 1941, but as Steve Law’s article makes clear, that was long enough to produce an explosion of music that, almost 70 years later, continues to evoke our river and region throughout the world.

I am delighted to join Woody’s fans to urge our politicians to respond and honor Lents and the path with his name. But given Portland’s history of reluctance to name its built environment for anyone other than pioneer robber barons, natural-resource speculators and other old white men, we should pay attention to how previous efforts to place Woody’s name on local facilities have fared.

The rest is at

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