Panel considers renaming Stark Street after gay activist

A panel appointed by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman meets to discuss changing the name of 13 blocks of Stark Street to Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay elected official in the United States when he joined the San Francisco City Council in the late 1970s. (KATU Photo)

Portland has renamed streets in honor of Cesar Chavez and Rosa Parks. Is Harvey Milk next?

A panel of historians appointed by City Commissioner Dan Saltzman met Monday to discuss the issue.

Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official in the United States when he joined the San Francisco City Council in 1978. Ten months later he was assassinated.

Gay rights advocates in Portland want to rename 13 blocks of Southwest Stark Street in his honor.

“The man was the first commissioner, openly gay, in San Francisco,” said Darcelle XV, a Portland institution who is the longest performing drag queen in the country. “And he campaigned that way and he won. And he didn’t get a chance to really work very far, because I think he was killed within a year of when he was elected.”

Darcelle joked with KATU that people have wanted to name a street after him, but you have to be dead for five years first to qualify.

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