Oregon City street sweeper gets clever name inspired by robot from a galaxy far, far away


A new street sweeper that will serve the streets of Oregon City has been given a name inspired by a servant robot hailing from a galaxy far, far away.

Oregon City resident Kennedy Gibb, 7, won the city’s naming contest for a street sweeper set to arrive this fall with her entry of “C-SweeP0,” a play on C-3PO, the affable gold android from the Star Wars movies. Jarrod Lyman, communications manager for the city, said Kennedy’s suggestion was selected by popular vote from a list of five finalists posted to the city’s Facebook page, including “Spiffy,” “Sweepy Head” and “Sweepinator.”

Kennedy’s mother, Alexis Cardwell, said the family heard about the competition on one of many recent trips to the Oregon City Public Library. Cardwell said Kennedy and her 9-year-old brother, Marshall Gibb, are both avid readers and love visiting.

“We go to the library all the time,” Cardwell said. “She learned pretty well how to read this year and we have to go at least once a week to get, like, 20-plus books between her and her brother. They had the little drop box there, and we just saw it and thought we’d enter.”

The contest launched during the last week of May in recognition of National Public Works Week, Lyman said. Children 17 years old and younger were encouraged to submit suggestions to the library, and the five finalists were selected by Oregon City employees.

Cardwell said Kennedy’s brother entered the contest with the suggestion “Sweepy O’John,” but was not named a finalist.

“He was disappointed he wasn’t one of the five,” Cardwell said. “He filled out his paper there, and she was having a difficult time the day we went to submit a name, so we took her paper home and put a little more thought and brainstorming into hers.”

The street sweeper will have its new name, as well as Kennedy’s name, emblazoned on the side, Lyman said. She was honored at an Oregon City ceremony earlier this week, and will also have the opportunity to ride the sweeper once it arrives this fall. When asked how she felt about winning the contest, Kennedy said she was “excited,” and her mom echoed that.

“She is so excited,” Cardwell said. “She did not realize until we were standing there that she was gonna get to go on a ride in the street sweeper, so it is all she has talked about since then. She’ll say, ‘I wish it were here already.’ She still sits in a car seat so she’s just like, ‘How am I gonna work out the buckle?’ and ‘What if I have to push a button while I’m in there?’”

Lyman said he was grateful to have landed on a name that avoided the “Boaty McBoatface” formula, a name that originated in a 2016 online naming poll for a British polar research vessel that is frequently riffed upon in subsequent public naming competitions. Residents of Charlotte, North Carolina, voted to name a street sweeper “Sweepy McSweepface” in May.

“When we started doing it, I knew it was going to be the first suggestion,” Lyman said. “The hope was for something a little more original and I’m happy with what we ended up with.”

Cardwell said she and her partner, Kaylen Gibb, recently started watching all of the Star Wars movies with their children during their weekly family movie night, so the inspiration for Kennedy’s suggestion was fresh on the brain. She said C-3PO and R2-D2 are some of Kennedy’s favorites in the films, and Kennedy wore a T-shirt featuring the two characters to the ceremony where she was recognized as the winner. Cardwell said Kennedy will likely wear the same shirt when she goes for her ride-along in the street sweeper.

“I’m kind of really hoping it drives past our house; that would be awesome,” Cardwell said. “When the contest started, I kind of just anticipated it was just like a small thing on the truck. I didn’t know it was really going to be that big. So when they revealed that picture the other day, it was the big name on the side and then had Kennedy’s name down at the bottom, and we were like, ‘Wow, they’re going all out on this.’ So we’re really hoping to see it around.”

— Nick Gibson; [email protected]; 971-393-8259; @newsynicholas

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