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Organizers of the renaming said they hoped to find other ways to honor lesser-known figures in the gay rights movement who are from Oregon or did the bulk of their work here.

COURTESY NICK FISH - Portland leaders and supporters of the name change after Thursday's vote. The Portland City Council has renamed part of a key downtown street after gay rights activist Harvey Milk.

Milk was one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was assassinated in 1978.

City leaders voted Thursday to rename a 13-block stretch of Southwest Stark Street after Milk. They say the change sends a message to the world about what Portland represents.

"Harvey Milk, I think, is one of the most inspirational people not just to the LGTBQ-plus community, but to the nation as a whole," said Mayor Ted Wheeler. "It sends a signal that we are an open and welcoming and inclusive community."

Supporters of the change noted that Southwest Stark was once the heart of Portland's gay community. They collected more than 2,500 signatures to begin the renaming process.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. You can read the rest of their story here.

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