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Oprah Winfrey street sign never approved by City Council committee

Oprah Winfrey smiles last month while holding street sign Harpo Studios an event give North Carpenter Street an honorary name

Oprah Winfrey smiles last month while holding a street sign at Harpo Studios at an event to give North Carpenter Street an honorary name of Oprah Winfrey Way. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: July 8, 2011 3:25PM

Five days before leaving office, then-Mayor Richard M. Daley gave Oprah Winfrey a gift the departing talk show diva called “better than an Oscar or an Emmy.”

He put up a sign outside Winfrey’s Harpo Studios designating the 100-block of North Carpenter as “Honorary Oprah Winfrey Way.”

There’s only one problem. The honorary street designation had never been approved.

On Monday, the City Council’s Transportation Committee will meet to add a dozen more clout-heavy names to Chicago’s nearly 1,300 honorary street designations.

The agenda includes Oprah Winfrey Way.

Sources said City Hall bent the rules for Daley and Winfrey to give both Chicago legends a chance to share the limelight before exiting the stage together.

“That’s better than an Oscar or an Emmy,” Winfrey said on that day.

“It is really just a full-circle miracle story that a little colored girl born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on a red dirt road ends up with my name on a street in the greatest city in the world, Chicago.”

Transportation Department spokesman Brian Steele insisted CDOT “has the authority to install” honorary street signs pending City Council approval. “The two Oprah signs were installed prior to the taping of the final Chicago show — an event that drew international attention to Chicago,” he said in an e-mail response to the Sun-Times.

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