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Plus, city buys first new affordable apartments and PBOT announces gas tax-supported safety projects.

A 13-block stretch of Southwest Stark Street in downtown Portland was named after gay rights activist Harvey Milk by the City Council last Thursday, just ahead of the weekend Pride Festival.

Milk was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was assassinated in 1978.

Supporters of the name change noted that much of Stark Street once was the heart of Portland's gay community. They collected more than 2,500 signatures to begin the renaming process.

"Harvey Milk, I think, is one of the most inspirational people, not just to the LGBTQ-plus community, but to the nation as a whole. It sends a signal that we are an open and welcoming and inclusive community," Mayor Ted Wheeler said.

Council buys first new affordable apartments

The City Council unanimously approved the purchase of the first new apartment building with affordable housing bond funds on Wednesday.

The 52-unit building nearing completion near Southeast 105th Avenue and Burnside Street was purchased for $14.4 million, or around $275,000 per unit. Mayor Ted Wheeler, who brought the request to the council, defended the relatively high per unit cost in part by saying the building is built well enough to last many years and will have a lower life cycle cost than a less expensive building.

The council also passed a resolution approving a $48 million loan from the Development Services Fund to buy the building and other properties being considered for future purchases. To read a previous Portland Tribune story on the issue, go to:

PBOT announces safety projects

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced 88 safety projects to be funded by the city's temporary 10-cent-a-gallon gas tax beginning this summer.

The projects were chosen from a list of 1,200 potential ones after a yearlong public engagement process by PBOT Safe Routes to School program staff with school communities and a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. The remaining projects will be incorporated into other planned city improvements or will need additional funding to be completed.

The top concerns were unsafe crossings, missing sidewalks and traffic speed. You can find details about the projects at:

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