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Time to learn from errors, go forward

OK, enough already on how immature it was for Mayor Tom Potter to walk out during last week’s Portland City Council discussion on whether to rename North Interstate Avenue in honor of farmworker activist César Chávez. What’s needed now is clarity on where Potter and the council go from here. Potter remains mayor through the end of 2008, and citizens should expect that he and city commissioners be able to communicate, debate and work together over the next 14 months. That won’t happen if Potter and commissioners simply say they are sorry that last week’s episode occurred. Portlanders will forgive such missteps, but they rightfully will take a long time to forget. Potter and this City Council don’t have a lot of time to fuss, spat or improve. And neither does Portland. This is a city facing many problems and opportunities, including mounting congestion, street safety for bicyclists, growth pressures, housing costs and availability, public safety needs, expanding interest in sustainable practices and incentives, economic vitality, environmental protection, and water resources. Citizens need to know now what Potter and his fellow council members learned from last week’s council soap opera. And what will each do differently in the future? Mayor? Commissioners? Portland citizens await your response.