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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 21, 2008 5:41 PM. The previous post in this blog was How do you say "hot tub" in Somali?. The next post in this blog is Where the bailout money will go, cont'd. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time has come today -- not

Last week we noted that the McCain sign that was senselessly firebombed on a lawn in Portland's Sellwood neighborhood happened to be too large for its location -- illegal under city ordinances. And we were right, as today's O reports:

The sign, which was charred by a Molotov cocktail on Oct. 11, is too big for a private lawn, according to city code. Lawn signs can be three-square-feet, according to Dave Roshak, who manages the city's sign section. Scutton's sign is 4-by-8 feet and stands on two 6-foot posts.

The city will send a letter informing Scrutton that he has 30 days to take the sign down or face a $50-a-day fine.

That makes sense -- let the guy keep the sign up until after the election. And so for future reference, if you wait until the 29th day before the election to post an illegally large sign, there's effectively no remedy. Got it.

Comments (14)

In Salem, the city would impound any sign that they found in violation. That was part of the job of the city works crews.

Amanda Fritz was on the radio this evening saying that the city should focus on other things because political signs are temporary and there is the issue of free political speech. What good sense! too bad others on this blog would sacrifice freedom in order to screw over republicans.

John

What is it about following the law that Republicans no longer get. When did you stop being the law and order party.

John, what's up you grumpy gus? Take a nap. I live down the street from the sign in question, and I've known it was too big for weeks. I decided not to report it out of respect for my neighbor's right to publicize his idiocy.

When did [Republicans] stop being the law and order party?

No, no, you just don't get it. Law and order always applies to the rest of the world, not you personally. Ask Larry Craig, Ted Stevens, Bob Packwood, ....

And yes, Ben, I know that this behavior knows no party boundaries. It's just that, well, when Republicans do it, it's so much more fun to watch them squirm when they're caught red handed.

I think the point that John was trying to make (badly) was that there wouldn't be nearly this uproar if it was an Obama / Biden sign.

I'd like to think that there would be, but I'd also like to think that in this town we all know better. A McCain supporter is looked down upon like a second class citizen here, as if they are trying to get a Communist elected in the 1950s.

that there wouldn't be nearly this uproar if it was an Obama / Biden sign.

Bullpuckey. There was a huge Merkley sign up at 15th and Fremont a while back -- totally illegal -- and it outraged me as much as this ugliness down in Sellwood.

Portland is The City Where You Can't Have a Beautiful Mural Because We Don't Know How to Stand Up to the Commercial Billboard Weasels. In such a town, any sign that's too big is a bad sign.

I'll bet you that the City ordinance has different size and timing restrictions based on the content of the speech on the sign (political vs. government vs. business, for example). Most cities do. I haven't looked at the ordinance, but if I'm correct, then we have a constitutional problem with the city's sign code, which would explain their lack of diligent enforcement.

It is very hard to write a constitutional sign ordinance. I say let freedom ring, put up what you want. Lady Bird Johnson was wrong.

I draw a different message from the whole thing. What I see is a city that is basically bankrupt but it finds money for a guy to run around town checking on the size of lawn signs.

So either lawn sign size is a big problem (more important than potholes and no sidewalks?) or the city still doesn't understand that it is bankrupt.

I guess size does matter.

"So either lawn sign size is a big problem (more important than potholes and no sidewalks?) or the city still doesn't understand that it is bankrupt."

Obvious solution to both problems: Take amazingly huge signs and use them to cover the potholes!

"I'll bet you that the City ordinance has different size and timing restrictions based on the content of the speech on the sign (political vs. government vs. business, for example)."

In Salem, the only distinction is between temporary vs. permanent signage. The content of the signage has no bearing.

The city may be clueless about overspending and regulation in many respects but the only reason anybody was sent out to check this sign and warn this homeowner because of a complaint. They don't ordinarily rove the streets looking for offenders just as animal control doesn't drive around listening for nuisance barking and NW Natural doesn't prowl aimlessly around the city sniffing for leaking gas.

Actually NW Natural does prowl aimlessly sniffing for leaks. They have special "sniffer" vans setup for just that purpose. (Though I think they put them on some of the meter reader vehicles to kill two birds with one stone.)

But your are correct, my understanding is the COP doesn't/isn't allowed to look for and start compliance issues against people, it has to be initiated by someone complaining to the city, and then they are obligated to check it out and follow up if there is a code violation.


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