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Portland names major street after LGBT icon Harvey Milk

Lydia Smith June 15, 2018

Portland is to name one of its major streets after the LGBT icon Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay politicians in US history.

The city council voted to rename a section of Southwest Stark Street on Pride month, shortly before the Portland Pride Festival begins.

The name will stretch from Naito Parkway to Burnside, covering an area that was once a hub for LGBT culture.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler welcomed the move, saying it sends a “signal” that the city is an “open and a welcoming and an inclusive community.”

“Congratulations to all of you for completing this important goal right before pride.  I vote ‘aye,’ the ordinance is adopted as amended,” he said.

Milk won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977

Darcelle XV, a Portland local and the world’s oldest drag queen, told Oregon Live the name change was “another step forward” for the LGBT rights movement.

“Portland is a travel destination. People come for scenery, the smiles, the doughnuts, and the drag queens,” Darcelle said.

Milk, a civil and human rights leader, became one of the first openly gay elected officials in the US when he won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977.

His career was tragically cut short when he was assassinated a year after taking office.

Milk, who was from New York and worked a number of jobs including in the US Navy, as a teacher, an investment banker and a Broadway production assistant, moved to San Francisco in 1972.

Milk organised the Castro Street Fair in 1974, which continues to this day

He had known he was gay since his school years and opened a camera shop on Castro Street in the heart of the city’s LGBT community.

The shop, Castro Cameras, became a hub for the area and Milk become a voice for the LGBT community.

Milk, along with other local business owners, also founded the Castro Village Association, an organisation for local gay merchants.

He also organised the Castro Street Fair in 1974 to attract customers to local businesses in the area and boost tourism. It continues to take place every year as an LGBT festival and is one of the largest street events in the city, along with San Francisco Pride.

More: Harvey Milk, harvey milk day, Harvey Milk Street, LGBT history, portland, US, US

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