No news story about a public works project in Pendleton would be complete without a controversy. The article published on Nov. 7 about the efforts of the Pendleton Historic Preservation Commission was no exception to the rule.
The commission plans to restore or re-create concrete street name in stamps bearing the former street names in Southeast Pendleton, and then install the stamps as part of an ongoing street improvement project along Southeast Byers Avenue. Many of those restored or newly created stamps will bear the names of former Civil War Confederate officers and officials.
According to the commission's minutes from its meeting on Sept. 4, the efforts to carry out this project will require the purchase of a $4,000 concrete stamper and will increase labor costs to set the stamp in newly poured concrete. I respectfully urge the commission to reconsider its decision.
I have to assume the decision in the 19th century to name those streets after Confederate officials was made out of racial animus and intended to send a hostile message. The commission should fully consider how this would be perceived by residents and visitors in the present day and the future. In any event, I do not see how the term "preservation" encompasses creating new stamps.
I would agree that we as a community must do more to constructively confront the racist nature of white settlement here 150 years ago. However, this decision by the commission only serves to romanticize lies.