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Stark Street Today

Image: Erin Enos (Used by permission)

Gay Bars of SW Stark Street

A lively street scene during the 1990s

There have been scores of Portland gay bars in the past 43 years. George Nicola discusses some of the ones that thrived along Portland’s SW Stark Street, the election of Sam Adams as mayor, and a visit to a major LGBT function by then mayor-elect Charlie Hales.

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As Told By...

George Nicola

Advocate for LGBT Civil Rights, volunteer for GLAPN

Website: Queer Histories (includes writings by George Nicola)

George T. Nicola came out through the Portland Gay Liberation Front, Oregon’s first gay political organization, in 1970. In 1973, he wrote and lobbied for the first Oregon bill that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation. The bill failed House passage by just two votes short of a majority. But the process created numerous straight allies, many of whom were increasingly influential supporters for decades to come. Within the gay community, the bill helped build a sense of purpose and identity instrumental in the evolution of what became today’s large Oregon LGBT movement. In the early days of the movement, George also wrote articles for local gay newspapers. He appeared on quite a few local radio and television talk and news shows, and convinced other gay men and lesbians to do the same. In the past few years, George has spent considerable time documenting Oregon LGBT history through the Gay & Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest (GLAPN). He also researches and publicizes information on current LGBT issues. George is active with a number of LGBT groups, where he tries to promote inclusion of all segments of the community.

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