Two issues of abiding interest in our community each took a constructive step forward this week.
First, the Mayor’s Ad Hoc Naming Committee convened for the second of two meetings and voted 7-2 to recommend the renaming of Broadway Plaza to Kesey Square. While it was apparent from the start that a majority of the committee favored a re-naming, my goal was to hold the vote in a positive and respectful spirit. We have a beautiful statue of a man reading to his children in our downtown, and that speaks volumes about our values. Next step is for the Council to vote on the renaming at their October 18th meeting. At that same meeting, Council will also discuss the implications of changing the zoning of Kesey Square, which requires an amendment to our Metro Plan. It is currently zoned for commercial uses.
Second, Council took another step in reducing the negative impact of fireworks on the peace of mind and safety in our city. This step to limit the number of days and types of fireworks that can be ignited is triggered by two concerns: the traumatizing effect of loud fireworks on pets and people with PTSD or other anxiety disorders, and the fire hazards that aerial fireworks pose in our increasingly hot, dry summers. Council also directed the manager to explore the acquisition of an app to enable neighbors to record illegal fireworks on their phone. Just a few years ago, our community conversation around fireworks centered on the noise, but the wildfires this year in Oregon and California, in my mind at least, have shifted the burden of worry to our vulnerability to fire.