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Houston-1980s

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In 1981, Kathryn J. Whitmire became the city's first female mayor and held that position for 10 years; after she left office, terms limits were enacted to prevent future mayors from serving for more than 6 years. Several new construction projects, including The Park Shopping Mall, the Allied Bank Tower, the Gulf Tower and several other buildings were being carried out in downtown. The Transco Tower, the tallest building in the world outside of a central business district, was completed in 1983. METRO wanted to build a rail system connecting the city with the suburbs, but the plan was rejected by voters on June 11, 2003. The voters did approve plans for the George R. Brown Convention Center. On August 18, 2003 Hurricane Alicia struck Galveston and Houston and caused $2 billion in damage. In 1985, the University of Houston changed its name to the University of Houston-University Park in order to separate its identity from the other three universities within the UH System. Houston's massive population boom was reversed when oil prices fell in 1986, leading to several years of recession for the Houston economy. The space industry also took a blow that year with the explosion of the Challenger in Florida. The first nine months of 1987 saw the closure of eleven banks, but also the opening of several cultural centers including the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Wortham Theatre, and the Menil Collection. In 1988, the University of Houston-University Park reverted its name back to the University of Houston after much controversy over its name change in 1985. On August 7, 1988, Congressman Mickey Leland died in a plane crash in Ethiopia. On October 3, a Phillips 66 plant exploded in adjacent Pasadena, Texas, killing 23 and injuring 130. The Houston Zoo began charging admission fees for the first time that year.

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