Recently elected Sen. Anthony Portantino on Tuesday introduced a resolution that proposes to name a portion of the Ventura (134) Freeway that runs from Glendale and into Eagle Rock the “President Barack H. Obama Freeway.”
Obama is no stranger to the area, having attended Occidental College in Eagle Rock in 1979 before transferring to Columbia University in 1981. The roughly three-year stay in the area was enough for Portantino, who serves the 25th Senate District, to move forward with a dedication to the departing 44th president.
“California has a long history of designating our freeways as reminders of the accomplishments of important leaders who have shown character, strength and passion,” Portantino said in a statement. “President Obama is a laudable person to showcase and for Southern Californians to appreciate.”
The proposal is on the heels of the city of Pasadena’s memorial to Obama, who recently received a commemorative plaque on the small apartment he called home while at Occidental.
The idea for a highway dedication came to Portantino last Saturday during a Democratic club meeting. Shortly after the Pasadena plaque ceremony, Portantino met with Pasadena Councilman Steve Madison, who shared his excitement about Obama’s apartment memorial.
Also in attendance were community activists in the 25th district who made the initial highway suggestion to Portantino.
“Everybody said, ‘You know what? Why don’t we take this one step further and memorialize his presence in Southern California — in particular in Eagle Rock — by naming a freeway after him?’” Portantino said. “What a great idea.”
With the support of Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, Portantino quickly turned the suggestion into resolution SCR 8. If adopted, the 134 Freeway route between the Glendale (2) and Foothill (210) freeways will carry Obama’s name.
“Part of my job is to be approachable. I’m linked to the community and residents of the district, and I want to break down the barriers between representatives and the folks. If someone comes up with a good idea, I’m going to run with it.”
Jeff Landa, firstname.lastname@example.org