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Residents Jacob and Michael Palmer suggest renaming the portion of Ortega Highway west of Interstate 5 to Old Mission Road. Photo by Allison Jarrell
Residents Jacob and Michael Palmer suggest renaming the portion of Ortega Highway west of Interstate 5 to Old Mission Road. Photo by Allison Jarrell

Jacob Palmer and Michael Palmer, San Juan Capistrano

First off, I’ll introduce myself. I am Jacob Palmer, and I write this letter with my father Michael Palmer.

We operate Palmer Construction and are long-time residents of San Juan Capistrano. We love this town and plan on living here for many more years. The current events in our town are a constant source of conversation between my dad and I and the freeway interchange construction has been of great interest to us.

We have only just realized that the landscape of our downtown has changed in a way that we had not considered previously. As I am sure other residents of San Juan have noticed, Ortega Highway has become noticeably split into two sections. There is now a portion of the road on the west side of I-5 and a portion of the road on the east side of I-5.

This is a great opportunity to add more culture to the downtown area by renaming the portion of Ortega Highway that is west of the I-5. Our suggestion for a new name is Old Mission Road. I think that that name perfectly represents what that stretch of Ortega Highway is. It is the gateway to our town from I-5 and would really give what is essentially a new autonomous street the name that fits with the style of our downtown.

Many people may ask if it is possible to rename this portion of Ortega Highway because of the state control over SR-74. It is my understanding that SR-74 begins its state-controlled run at the intersection with I-5, and the Ortega Highway west of I-5 is under the control of the city of San Juan Capistrano.

It is our opinion that the name Ortega Highway should be changed to better fit the culture of our small town and we suggest that a forum be opened for the residents of San Juan to express their opinions on the matter.

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comments (5)

  • Why does this person think that he has the right to come and change anything. Did his ancestor’s establish and build Mission San Juan Capistrano back in 1776. No, they didn’t, it was my Mother’s ancestor Jose Francisco Ortega and other members of her family. They are the one’s that had the courage and stamina to travel from El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico and Los Alamos, Sonora. All they had were their wagons, children and the desire to fulfill Queen Isabela’s request to spread the Roman Catholic Religion in the New World. They helped Father Serra and the other Friars to establish all the Missions in Alta California. Jose Francisco Ortega was Father Serra’s Military guide, he defended Mission San Juan Capistrano when it was under attack by the Native American Indians. I can only speak for myself and I’m tired of people believing that they have the right to change history to meet their needs. What will this guy want next to change the name of the City of Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles, to maybe Queenland or change San Francisco to may Frankstown. It was Father O’Sullivan that suggested that Jose Francisco Ortega be honored with the naming of the Ortega Highway for the major role he played in Alta California. This reminds me of the sign that was posted when Mission San Juan Capistrano was building it’s new Basilica, it read Basilica Saint John of Capistrano. They sure took that sign down in a hurry after receiving so many complaints and I hope they do the same with this suggest to change the name of the Ortega Highway.

    (This comment was edited for content that may have been viewed as racist.)

    • Ed, ‘this person’ may think he has the right to change things because we live in a democratic state where all people are able to voice their opinions. This is not a place ruled by monarchs. A family lineage dating back to the establishment of the Mission does not give a person superior power over others.
      This is not about changing the history of our town in order to meet one person’s needs. This is just a suggestion to rename a portion of Ortega Highway that has become detached from the rest. The history of the town and Mission will not be changed.

  • Ed,
    Thank you for reminding us that each square inch of Capistrano has a history, and a fine documented history. I want to believe that Palmer and Palmer had good intentions presenting an idea without having done enough research.
    Bruce Conde(Alfonso Yorba) many many years ago, had the street names changed back from English names to the original Spanish names. We should be proud that Bruce Conde had done his research.

    Leave ‘Los Rios St’s name alone please. Besides we already have a ‘Mission Street’.

  • Just leave it as is!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Enough already! Please leave our history alone! Stop trying to change us/our historical S.J.C. community into another Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Ladera Ranch or a Lake Forest (formerly old El Toro).

Comments are closed.