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Tulsa Rep. Don Ross Honored With Designation On Gilcrease Expressway

Matt Trotter

A portion of the Gilcrease Expressway is now designated the Don Ross Expressway.

The 2.2-mile stretch honoring the civil rights leader and former state lawmaker is between Lewis Avenue and L.L. Tisdale Parkway.

Ross served in the Oklahoma House from 1983 to 2003. In the early 2000s, Ross helped secure $32 million in funding to build the Gilcrease Expressway. One of his sons, Ed Ross, told his father at a dedication on Wednesday that was just a small part of what he accomplished for his constituents.

"In your tenure as state representative in District 73, you brought more revenue, more projects, more opportunity, more development to north Tulsa than anybody in your 20 years here. And I'm going to challenge the state representatives to eclipse is effort, because in a high tide, all ships rise. Right?" Ed Ross said.

Mayor G.T. Bynum said while the expressway would not have been possible without Ross' work to secure state funding for it, he believes his work to form what was then called the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot Centennial Commission is one of most important things to come out of state government in the last 50 years.

"And that report that came out in 2001 to this day is the guiding document for work that is still being done to try and really better educate people about what happened, for us as a city to find the victims," Bynum said.

Ross also played a major role in having the Confederate flag removed from Oklahoma capitol grounds in 1989 and helped develop the Greenwood Cultural Center. 

Ross, who is 80, did not speak at the dedication. He went missing for about a day earlier this month after being discharged from a local hospital.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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