Fundraising Effort Announced to Pay for Freeway Signs Renaming Section of State Route 134 the "President Barack H. Obama Highway"

Published : Friday, September 7, 2018 | 4:37 AM

Barack Obama takes the oath of office administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. at the Capitol, January 20, 2009

Pasadena-area State Sen. Anthony J. Portantino and the Pasadena Community Foundation are hosting a Fundraising Reception on Sunday, September 23, as the Senator and local community residents continue to raise funds to pay for Caltrans highway signs renaming a section of the 134 Freeway as the “President Barack H. Obama Highway.”

State lawmakers agreed to the dedication effort between the Glendale CA-2 and the Interstate 210 on the condition it was paid for with private, not state, money.

Denizens Faye and Bob Davidson, Ruth and Joe Hopkins, and John Gallogly are co-hosting the event at a private home in Pasadena, according to a statement from Portantino’s office.

The Pasadena Community Foundation has offered to be the fiscal agent for the fundraising.

“I am ecstatic to have been in the position to author this important and appropriate highway naming,” Portantino said. “When people from across the country began offering money to pay for the signs, I wanted to make sure that our community had the opportunity to take ownership of the project. I hope folks will join us at this event to raise the money needed to honor and respect a man who brought dignity to the office of the President.”

Between 1979 and 1981, Obama was an undergraduate at Occidental College. During one of those years, he reportedly lived with roommate Hasan Chandoo in an apartment building at 253 E. Glenarm Street, near Blair High School.

According to an online forum on Pasadena’s Library website, a “B. Obama” was listed as living at 253 E. Glenarm in the January 1981 issue of the Los Angeles-Northeastern Area phone book and the name disappeared by the December 1981 issue.

In December 2016, local residents led by Pasadena City Councilmember John Kennedy installed a commemorative plaque outside the building between Marengo and Los Robles Avenues in the Madison Heights neighborhood of Pasadena.

The highways signs renaming the 134 Freeway will cost approximately $6,000 to $7,000 to create and install. The Pasadena Community Foundation will shepherd the fundraising and issue the necessary amount directly to Caltrans.

Just last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted to rename Rodeo Road in Baldwin Hills as Obama Boulevard.

The Pasadena Community Foundation suggests a donation of $30 for admission to the Fundraising Reception, which begins at 2 p.m. Sponsorship packages are also available.

To attend the event, RSVP is requested. Visit for more information, or email Darla Dyson at

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