I took this photo last Saturday while I waited for the bus home after a great lecture at the Architectural Heritage Center. The delivery bicycle caught my eye, I stood up from the seat in the bus shelter and walked west on the sidewalk for a few steps, and took several photos as he pedaled along. I stood there, cold but bundled up in the sunshine, and wondered about how cold that delivery guy would feel once he stopped pedaling. As I took the photos, I realized I could get the neon Portland Oregon sign in the photo, too. Serendipity! I have cropped it into this square and altered it with HDR at BeFunky. The red-topped buildings are on the east side of the Tualatin Mountains, also known as the West Hills. They are well more than 23 blocks away from where I stood.
It's easy to see why I like the sign so much--it's huge, colorful, and looks great as each word lights up. I took this photo on June 12, 2012, when the trees had all of their leaves. By the way, at one time the sign advertised White Stag clothing which explains the leaping stag at the top of the outline of the state of Oregon.
Here's the sign before the change to the current wording. I took this photo on November 5, 2010, because I'd been keeping up with the news stories about the sign--what to do with the wording, who would pay for the electricity to light it, who would pay for the maintenance. I didn't want to miss a chance to get one more shot of it. Lo and behold, those decisions were made--the city owns the sign and pays Ramsay Sign $2000 a month for electricity and maintenance, the funds coming from a parking lot's fees, and Art DeMuro, president of Venerable Properties which owns the building underneath the sign, donated $200,000 for the lettering to be changed--and on November 16, work began on the rewording.
And here it is, November 26, 2010, on the night the new wording debuted. I stood on the sidewalk on the Burnside Bridge Friday night after Thanksgiving, waiting quite a while for the mayor to throw the switch. During the holidays, the stag's nose is red, an homage to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I read on the Internet that when the sign was lit, two of the neon rods in the stag's head had not yet been reattached after the change in lettering, therefore the blank spot underneath the antlers. One week later the work was completed. Ramsay Signs made the word Oregon in 1997 and the word Portland in 2010, matching the colors as closely as possible.
There's the red-handled switch. No mayor yet, but I did get a kick out of seeing this contraption rolled onto the sidewalk and plugged in so that it would be ready when he arrived. Naturally, once he did and I heard the countdown begin, I turned my camera on the sign. Who cared about taking a photo of the mayor when the sign lit up. Sorry mayor, not me.