New stretch of Riverside may be named for MLK - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New stretch of Riverside may be named for MLK

New stretch of Riverside may be named for MLK

Jonathan Brunt

The Spokesman-Review

SPOKANE, Wash. - After nearly 20 years of discussions and debate, Spokane finally might name a street after the nation's most prominent civil rights leader.

The Spokane Plan Commission today will discuss a proposal to name a new stretch of Riverside Avenue after Martin Luther King Jr.

"It's time that we have something to honor a great American," said the Rev. Happy Watkins, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church. "We had to wait for the right time and the right moment."

The city is finishing plans to extend Riverside Avenue east of Division Street under the Hamilton Street Bridge to connect to Trent Avenue. The goal is to divert traffic from Trent away from the growing Riverpoint campus, which is run by Washington State University.

"The street name honoring the life and works of Reverend King will make an important statement about social justice," wrote WSU-Spokane Chancellor Brian Pitcher in a letter to the city. Ivan Bush, among the leaders of the renaming effort, said the Riverside extension meets his goal of honoring King in the heart of the city.

"He believed in his faith, his family and education. Here we have something that abuts the education in our city," Bush said.

Derek Alderman, a cultural geographer at East Carolina University, told the Washington Post last year that about 770 streets nationwide have been named after King. But past attempts to name streets after King in Spokane have failed. In 1991, then-Mayor Sheri Barnard unsuccessfully pushed to rename the arterial route made up of Market, Greene and Freya. Other possibilities over the years have included Sherman Street and the arterial that includes Arthur, Newark and Perry.

 

More information from

www.spokesman.com

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