01.30.08

Blazers Vs. The Sign Vigilantes

Posted in Basketball at 5:06 pm by

The Oregonian’s John Canzano on the city of Portland’s edict that the Blazers remove a 128-foot by 60-foot vinyl banner from a steel grain silo across the street from the Rose Garden :

Attaching the banner in a way that no sign had been attached to the silo before is what city electrical inspectors term a “structural alteration,” which is why the NBA franchise has been notified that it must remove the sign by Feb. 8 or pay a $100-per-day fine.

Understand, Blazers owner Paul Allen has attempted, unsuccessfully, on various occasions to purchase this silo. He owns the riverfront land adjacent to the structure, and the people who work for him are exploring uses for the land. But the Blazers’ primary use for the grain silo, to date, is to carry the hopeful message of the franchise.

Now, it’s carrying a broader question: Portland really is a strange place, isn’t it?

City sign inspectors don’t drive around looking for non-compliant signs, see. In fact, even if a sign doesn’t meet regulations, the inspectors usually won’t issue a directive to remove the sign unless a citizen complains about it by telephone, e-mail or fax.

Which means that some careful citizen, probably one driving on Interstate 5, looked over, saw the team’s “Rise With Us” sign dangling from the silo and decided having the sign removed was a worthwhile cause.

Said John Hauck, a senior inspector: “We have what you’d call a few sign vigilantes who, if something doesn’t appear to be within the law, call us and complain.”

For those about to sneer, “get a life”, rest assured one can be a concerned member of the community and also maintain a very rich cultural existence.

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