Ogden City Council Still Can’t Reach Consensus on Honorary Name for 2nd Street | Local News
OGDEN – After almost a full calendar year since the idea was first introduced, Ogden City Council still cannot reach consensus on a now controversial proposed honorary name for part of 2nd Street.
The council vote stalled 3-3 Tuesday night on a measure that would have dubbed the westerly section of 2nd Street “Bingham Fort-Chief Little Soldier Lane”. Council members Rich Hyer, Bart Blair and Doug Stephens voted in favor of the measure, while Angela Choberka, Marcia White and Luis Lopez voted against. Council member Ben Nadolski was not present for the vote.
The saga began without controversy in 2020 when Anna Keogh, who lives in the northwestern part of Ogden in a nearly 100-year-old house surrounded by one of Weber County’s oldest farms, asked Ogden City to name the part of 2nd Street. Bingham Fort Lane. “
In the mid-1800s, the entire area near 2nd Street west of Wall Avenue served as a fort for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The fort was a staging area for around 600 early settlers and was the largest fort in the Weber County area. Officially known as Bingham Fort, many of the neighborhood structures and homes were built by the early settlers of the LDS Church and still stand today. According to Weber County property records, there are nearly 20 houses and other structures still standing in the area that were built before 1900.
Keogh and others who currently live in the neighborhood are fighting against development encroachment and trying to preserve the history of the area. The street naming proposal is part of this effort.
But the region in question was home to much more than the pioneers of the SDL. Native American tribes, notably the Shoshone of the northwest, first inhabited the area and also shared the land with the early white settlers. Therefore, Choberka sent a letter to the Ogden Diversity Commission, seeking advice from the board on the matter.
After reviewing the proposal, the Diversity Committee voted 9-1 to recommend that the board vote against the honorary nomination.
During a subsequent council working session, the consensus among most council members was to follow the advice of the city’s diversity commission, recommending that Keogh work with the Native American community to come up with a street name. which best represented the two cultures that were historically important to the region.
After consulting with Darren Parry, a former president of the Shoshone Nation, and others, Keogh came up with another proposal: “Bingham Fort-Chief Little Soldier Lane”. Little Soldier was a well-known Shoshone chief and a frequent inhabitant of the area that is now Ogden.
But for the three dissenting board members, the chair of the Diversity Committee and some members of the public, Keogh’s compromise did not succeed.
“I’ve thought about it a lot and had a lot of conversations in the community about it,” Choberka told Keogh Tuesday night. “I wondered what the conversation had been about removing the ‘strong’ … I know a lot of community members are still concerned about the word ‘strong’.”
Choberka’s perspective was exemplified by Angel Castillo, Ogden’s 2019 mayoral candidate and frequent city critic.
“Honorary street names should honor people, a fort is a symbol,” Castillo said. “If you want to honor people who are specifically part of this culture, then maybe this should be named after Erastus Bingham who was a pioneer and a bishop, or better yet, Arthur Stone, who actually built it. . “
Castillo went on to say that the fort was created to combat “perceived threats against white settlers from Native Americans” and generally speaks of the difficult and sometimes violent history between early European settlers and the indigenous peoples of the North American continent. .
During the public comment period for Tuesday’s hearing on the matter, a few others expressed similar concerns about the revised name, including Jeremy Shinoda, chairman of the diversity committee. But an equal number have spoken in favor of the measure, including Parry, who is also a professor of Native American history at Utah State University.
“The story is complicated,” Parry said. “I am certainly aware of all points of view … (but) I am more of a bridge builder, I work more with communities to make a difference and I will die on this hill. So the compromise that is before us is great to me. The fact that we would honor Little Soldier, who has so much history in this field. … He couldn’t have been a better person. … Without the name, we are still not recognized from the all. “
Katie Nelson, executive director of the Weber County Heritage Foundation and assistant professor of history at Weber State University, expressed feelings similar to Parry’s. Nelson said the area where Bingham Fort once stood is the oldest neighborhood in Weber County, with strong ties to the Northwest Shoshone Nation, and without celebrating or denigrating any particular group or culture, the region. is unquestionably important to the history of northern Utah.
“From my perspective as a history teacher, history is not about portraying people as heroes and villains,” Nelson said. “It’s not about judging the past and deciding who will be on the pedestal and who should be erased. I feel like what we could do better is talk about all the stories and whatever happened rather than choosing who gets the projector. “
With the vote on the issue tied, council discussed a motion to reconsider the item, one Hyer Avenue expressed interest on Tuesday evening. The motion is expected to be presented within the next two weeks, according to Council Executive Director Janene Eller-Smith. Keogh said on Wednesday that she told the council office she would do better than her initial compromise, changing the honorary name to “Chief Little Soldier Way,” but she was still waiting to come back to this matter. far in the process.