Salem Parkway’s new name will honor Martin Luther King

Salem Parkway will become Martin Luther King Parkway after vote by Salem City Council.

The Salem City Council voted to rename Salem Parkway (Oregon State highway 72), in honor of the civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The newly named Martin Luther King Jr. 

The vote, on Monday, July 11, was unanimous.

In November 2021, Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett submitted a request to rename Salem Parkway to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Parkway. The request addressed the Oregon Transportation Commission’s policy on renaming facilities by highlighting the importance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to Oregon.

Salem Parkway awas chosen due to its importance in the community and its visibility as a main arterial connection throughout the city. Renaming this roadway is an important step in recognizing Salem’s diverse population and memorializing Dr. King’s legacy of peace, diversity, and inclusion for all Americans.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) approved the requested renaming, subject to Salem paying for replacement of signs. The estimated cost to design, fabricate, and install the signs is $80,000, which includes two nights of lane closures on Interstate 5. 

 It is anticipated that work will be completed this summer or fall, subject to weather conditions and ODOT crew availability.