On a walk through NW Portland the other day, I came across an alley. Unlike most alleys, this one had a name, “Robert Edwards Memorial Alley.” This got me thinking. Perhaps I a setting my sights too high, expecting to have a national holiday or sovereign country named after me. I should aspire to be immortalized with an alley.
How does one go about getting an alley named after him or her? I suppose I could petition the city government, but who wants to rely on the slow churning of the gears of government to get things done? Adopting the DIY attitude that Portland is famous for, I decided to take on this project myself.
A trip to the hardware store netted some metal sheeting, two signposts, fasteners, a post shovel, some cement, an orange vest, and a hardhat. I have a friend who works in the printing business who was able to cut the sheet metal down to size and print my alley’s name in green and white. Then one warm spring day I dawned the vest and hardhat, went out to the alley between SE Boise and SE Holgate just east of SE 63rd, and installed my signs. An owner of one of the houses smoked a cigarette and observed my handiwork without asking a question.
I then went on Wikipedia where I made up an article about a fake Portland civic group that decided to rechristen the clumsily named “SE 64th Ave-SE 63rd Ave Alley” to “Will Divide Alley.” Portland’s City government empowered the civic group to name alleys in honor of leading citizens. I was honored for excellence in literature.
On this Memorial Day, whether you’re a veteran or not, for $137.81 and a lie on Wikipedia you too can immortalize yourself with your own alley.