This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 14, 2007 9:16 AM. The previous post in this blog was Survivor Portland Bureaucracy: Day 10. The next post in this blog is Mystery mail. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wonders and signs

This is Portland, Oregon, right -- the city with the killer sign code? The city that can't (or won't) distinguish between a mural and a billboard? The city that charges a fee for you to put out a sign on the sidewalk in front of your business?

Well, man, if that's the case, SW Macadam Avenue must have seceded from Portland quite a while ago.

Take a ride along Macadam in either direction between the SoWhat District and what's left of the Sellwood Bridge, and you'll be besieged with roadside signs advertising the retailers along the road. It seems as though more businesses have them out than don't. Right on the curb, lining the street, on both sides. Those A-frame deals.

This is bad news, on several counts. First, of course, they're ugly. Second, they're a distraction to drivers who already have their eyes on their Blackberry screens, cell phone keypads, dogs, and navigation systems. Third, I seriously doubt that many of the signs are legal; there's no city fee sticker on most of them.

But the most serious issue posed by these placards is the extreme traffic hazard that they pose for vehicles and pedestrians that are trying to enter or (heaven forfend) cross Macadam out of the parking lots of the businesses along the street. If you're sitting in a nice little sustainable four-cylinder car, there's no way you can see over that wall of signs to gauge oncoming traffic, in either direction. Clusters of newspaper distribution boxes right along the curb don't make it any easier.

And the signs keep getting larger. The two that the furniture joint by the Starbucks has slapped up are particularly egregious. When some poor slob gets killed in a collision between Macadam traffic and a vehicle or person exiting the parking lot of the Subway and the Circuit climbing gym, you can say you read about the danger here first.

Who's in charge of the sign code around here -- is it still Fireman Randy? Whoever it is had better send somebody with a ticket book down Macadam, and soon. Or get the medical examiner on standby -- one or the other.

Comments (6)

In so many ways, part of your first paragraph would suit as the new city motto:

Portland - the City that Can't (or Won't)

Downtown parking lots put their portable signs right on the curb, so you can hit them with your mirror when you park on the street. When it happened to me, I kindly moved their sign for them. They had moved it back by the time I returned to my car.

Tangentially related -- is that macADAM, like a Scottish name, or MACadam, like the pavement? My father who claims to speak "old Portland" stubbornly persists in the latter. He also says "glisten" instead of "gleason" for Glisan St.

"Glisten" is correct - that is how the family pronounced their name - not GLEESAN. People always correct me when I say "glisten" and then I am prompted to tell the history lesson, which is frankly just downright annoying to the listener.

As far as MACadam or macADAM, I don't know. I suspect is it MACadam, like the pavement, as I think it was one of the first paved roads down by the water. Or I could be pulling that out of my *** - but it seems I might have read that at some point.

It's Macadam, like the pavement, because it was one of the first roads in the area to be paved with that compound.

A-Board signs on public rights of way are legal provided they have a sign permit from BDS. If you stop and look they will have a small approval sticker right on the sign. Any A-Board sign on the public right of way NOT having a A-Board permit will be picked up and carried off without notice by a sign inspector. All you have to do is call BDS and put in a complaint.

At least that's the way it used to be.

Greg C

Clicky Web Analytics