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Renaming 39th to Chavez Might Obscure Real Estate History

The debate to change the name Portland’s SE 39th Avenue to Cesar Chavez continues.  Portland’s Planning Commission voted 7-1 on Monday to keep the process moving.  Would a name change have a positive or negative (or any) impact on the street’s real estate?  There are at least two components that I can think of.  I’m not convinced either makes  a significant argument for or against a change (I personally would like to see something new (a bridge or park) named).

1) Does renaming a street mitigate the institutional memory of a street?  “I would never live on SE 39th because it is too busy” or “I want to find something on SE 39th because I want the flexible zoning so that I can live and work there.”  I don’t think there is a meaningful difference with a new name.  Busy streets remain busy regardless of name and there are advantage and disadvantage to buying on a busy street.

2) Portland Blvd became Rosa Parks a few years back.  I found a sold listing in RMLS on Rosa Parks from 2007.  The 1926 house had no listing history prior to that linked to the property.   But it does have history if searching by Portland Blvd.  I’ve always thought that listing history is overvalued as a metric in real estate.  What a house was worth back then or sold for back then has little to do with what a house is worth today.  It may be an indicator that further investigation is needed but it does not determine value itself.

We didn’t have any active transactions on Portland Blvd when it became Rosa Parks in 2006 and don’t remember any issues being brought up then so I am sure the change would be smooth in this case as well.  It might require an extra step when looking at histories and comps but again, I don’t see a significant impact.

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