Inyo Co Considers New Name For Portagee Joe Campground

Portagee Joe Campground Inyo

PRESS RELEASE
At their Board meeting last Tuesday, December 10, the Inyo County Board of
Supervisors gave the green light to acting County Parks and Recreation Director
Leslie Chapman to bring an item back to the Board recommending a new name for
Portagee Joe Campground, a county campground just west of Lone Pine.
“We will recommend naming it Jose Pires Campground” Chapman said, referring
to the real name of the “town character” after whom the campground was named.
Bishop resident Allen Berrey had long complained to the Board that, because
“portagee” is an offensive ethnic slur, it has no place in the name of a public
campground, especially one at the foot of Mt. Whitney. Berrey had recommended
that the County re-name the campground “Portuguese Joe.”
“I just thought the County should show the man and his Portuguese heritage some
respect by calling him “’Portuguese Joe,’” said Berrey, noting that “Portuguese
Joe” – not the derogatory “Portagee Joe” – is the nickname that appears on Mr.
Pires’s gravestone at the Mt. Whitney Cemetery (see photo below).
Berrey commended and thanked the Board for its decision, stating that “whatever
new name they select, the Supervisors will be doing the enlightened thing.”
The Board of Supervisors will consider whether to re-name the campground and, if
so, what the new name should be, at a public hearing to be held in the spring of
2020.

23 Comments
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Steven Weaver
Steven Weaver
2 years ago

When the campground was named years ago, some one decided to use a different spelling, the way it was pronounced by people who did not even know how to pronounce it correctly. Showing a lack of respect for the 10,000,000 who live in Portugal and the 220,000,000 people who live… Read more »

Joann Lijek
Joann Lijek
1 year ago
Reply to  Steven Weaver

Mr. Piros has been dead for 60 years, how are you asking him what he wants to be called? By seance? Does he have any family left to weigh in on this?

Joann Lijek
Joann Lijek
2 years ago

I have searched the internet, Merriam Webster dictionary online, and my paper dictionary and the only reference I found to the word “portagee” was a blurb for a book, written by a man of Portuguese descent, called “Through a Portagee Gate”. The book is about his father, who came to… Read more »

Steven Weaver
Steven Weaver
2 years ago

Good job Allen. Because my wife is from Brazil, I am always glad to see more equality and less racial slurs. It is the same now as it was when we were at Mariposa High School together in 1972, I am very glad you are my friend.

Inyo Local
Inyo Local
2 years ago

Just more white knight, virtue signaling, social justice warrior BS. Stop changing history. Removing flags, monuments, statues, murals, etc because you may be offended is just wrong. Let history stand, good or bad.

Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
2 years ago
Reply to  Inyo Local

You are right Inyo Local.

I agree.

I have withdrawn my objection and threat of a lawsuit.

The name is evocative of Inyo County and its residents and so should remain.

Steven Weaver
Steven Weaver
2 years ago
Reply to  Allen Berrey

Good job Allen. Because my wife is from Brazil, I am always glad to see more equality and less racial slurs. It is the same now as when we were together at Mariposa High School in 1972, I am very glad you are my friend.

Allen Berrey
Allen Berrey
2 years ago

On second thought, the heck with it.

If it is so important for Inyo County to call Portuguese Jose Pires a portagee, who am I to stop it?

It is the government, after all.

Sorry I brought it up.

Allen the Pinko Commie Snowlake Lawyer Berrey
Allen the Pinko Commie Snowlake Lawyer Berrey
2 years ago

This is Allen Berrey. All I’m saying is that if we (I say “we” because this is an Inyo County- not Lone Pine – campground) are going to refer to him by a nickname instead of his real name – Jose Pires – we should at least call him the… Read more »

The Subaru Kid
The Subaru Kid
2 years ago

I’m good with renaming the campground to Portuguese Joe Campground or Jose Pires Campground.

Almost Native
Almost Native
2 years ago

I would like to know why the county employees think it is so important to address this issue?
Personally, I think this county employee should address this issue on her own time!

Indygal
Indygal
2 years ago
Reply to  Almost Native

Because this hard working person is trying to get ahead of a lawsuit and save our county some money, which is her job. Frankly, she does it very well.

Almost Native
Almost Native
2 years ago
Reply to  Indygal

Indygal, seems to me, the county is encouraging or supporting a law suit now.?It also sounds like the guy and family was proud of his nick name. I’m assuming the family were the ones that put it on his grave stone?

Tinner
Tinner
2 years ago

How and when did we as a country become so easily offended by names, words and speech? Whatever happened to ”sticks and stones”? Where does it end? Something tells me Joe Pires didn’t give two licks about being called Portagee Joe, something tells me it made him smile and reminded… Read more »

HR
HR
2 years ago
Reply to  Tinner

Weep for culture lmfao get out of here. Words have meaning, words can be offensive & hurtful. We all know that. Grow. Up.

Tinner
Tinner
2 years ago
Reply to  HR

HR, “words can be offensive & hurtful”
To a dead man?

Vindur Tate
Vindur Tate
2 years ago

I don’t know the history of Portagee Joe, however I do know Where I grew up where the Portuguese were the best horsemen around! We called the gates through barbed wire fences “Poeragee gate”. I still call them that…not a “cowboy gate”. It is an honor to still use the… Read more »

Brian
Brian
2 years ago

Is Allen Berrey Portagee ?

Tinner
Tinner
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian

I doubt it, I’d bet he’s more likely somebody who wants to go down in history as crusader who has a need to leave legacy and to be remembered.

Not PC
Not PC
2 years ago

Let’s bring this to full light. There are two meanings: one being a “New England” derogatory term, and one a mere slang for one who is of Portuguese decent. Last I checked, Lone Pine isn’t on the east coast. Since it is on his tombstone, I’d suggest it was a… Read more »

Get Over Yourself
Get Over Yourself
2 years ago
Reply to  Not PC

It doesn’t matter if it’s here or there, if it’s derogatory in one place, it’s derogatory period. It says “Portuguese Joe” on his headstone, so why not rename the campground to match? Why do you care? Why is being less offensive so offensive to you? We get it, you loudly… Read more »

Pinko the Snowflake
Pinko the Snowflake
2 years ago

Where is the photo of the gravestone that is referenced in the press release?

Thanks.

Kat Greenman
Kat Greenman
2 years ago

Photo is at the top of this story.