There will be two ribbon cuttings Thursday morning along U.S. Highway 20. One in Newport – the other at the eastern end of U.S. Highway 20 in Boston.
This rather unusually well constructed coincidence was engineered by Oregon State Representative David Gomberg and Newport City Councilor Dean Sawyer.
Here’s how it happened. While talking with ODOT officials at the opening of the new section of Highway 20 between Eddyville and Newport, Rep. Gomberg mentioned to ODOT that Highway 20 connects the west coast and the east coast along it’s 3,365 miles of pavement. Truly a coast to coast, cross country road that you never get off of. It’s just straight through.
Rep. Gomberg suggested to ODOT to put up a sign at the junction of Highways 20 and 101 in Newport stating U.S. 20, Boston, 3,365 miles. And immediately ODOT put it up!
The new sign struck City Councilor Dean Sawyer as being a pretty nifty, if not fun addition to the town. And so he got to thinking….why not call Massachusetts officials and urge them to put up a similar sign of their own right in downtown Boston where Highway 20 starts on the east coast headed west – and where Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is likely to see it just about every day!
Sawyer, as most Newportians well know, is not someone to stall on a brilliant idea. He immediately got on the phone to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) and told them of our Highway 20 ceremony here on the west coast. Sawyer asked if it wouldn’t be too much trouble for MDOT to put up an identical sign in downtown Boston at Kenmore Square, where Highway 20 starts its journey west all the way to Newport.
Sawyer said that the MDOT officials thought it was a great idea, right up to the Massachusett Lt. Governor, who, as it turns out, will be on hand to do a ribbon cutting at the new sign they just put up in downtown Boston. They’ll snip their ceremonial ribbon about three hours ahead of when we do it here in Newport.
So a big congratulations to Rep. Gomberg for getting the ball rolling on a fun addition to Highway 20 in Newport and to Councilor Dean Sawyer for thinking that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ought to return the favor of informing Boston residents that Highway 20 goes to the OTHER Newport (not Rhode Island) clear across America! And that any and all who see the sign should seriously consider a journey to visit Oregon’s hub for spectacular sights of oceanic beauty on the “Left Coast.” Of course we’re duty bound to reciprocate to them on the “Right Coast.”
By the way, this story appeared in the Boston Globe newspaper today. Click here.