Daley renames street Oprah Winfrey Way

May 11, 2011 (CHICAGO)

Mayor Daley said Winfrey's show for the past 25 years has been a gift to the city. She in turn thanked Chicago for embracing her.

Winfrey may be leaving town later this month, but she will still have a strong presence in the West Loop

Winfrey's time in Chicago may be winding down, but tributes to her are going strong. Wednesday's honor? A street to call her own.

"That's better than an Oscar," Oprah said.

The 100-block of North Carpenter Street outside of Harpo Studios was renamed Oprah Winfrey Way in a ceremony where Mayor Richard M. Daley praised her as a champion of the city.

"It makes me very proud to have your name appear on one of Chicago's city streets," Daley said.

Winfrey is the latest of more than 1,000 notable Chicagoans who have been honored with street signs.

Daley, who is also closing a chapter when his 22 years as mayor comes to an end next week, says he is glad Winfrey's sign is his last.

"This is the special one," said Daley. "This is the one I wanted to attend. I wanted to thank her on behalf of Chicago."

And, for her part, Winfrey called Chicago the greatest city in the world.

"After I moved here, I thought this place is my Tara. Scarlet O'Hara should have known about Chicago," said Winfrey.

Setting up shop in the West Loop helped turn the neighborhood around, according to 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett.

"I think she has helped give this community a shot in the arm that it needed," said Burnett. "Whether she did it intentionally or not, but it has happened because of Oprah."

In addition to Harpo Studios, Winfrey owns a few other properties in the area that house different aspect of her media empire. Those buildings will remain occupied by her company as she will continue to have ties to the city after she relocates.

Winfrey is largely credited with transforming the West Loop neighborhood over the years. Burnett called her a pioneer.

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