Controlling the Message

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In Portland, Oregon, the difference between Constitutional takings and just plain theft by government can be seen in bright neon.

The “Made In Oregon” sign on what used to be called the Bickel Building, on Burnside Street, is something of a landmark. It’s huge. It used to say “White Stag Sportswear.” It still features a white stag atop the sign. To much hullabaloo, every Christmas season the white stag’s nose gets lit, red.

Over the years, the sign’s ownership has changed. Now there are political rumblings to condemn the sign and make it public property, so to “control its message.” That’s city councilor Randy Leonard’s notion. Mayor Sam Adams (certainly not my favorite Sam Adams) and Commissioner Nick Fish have batted around the idea to buy the sign.

Jeff Alan, of the Cascade Policy Institute, makes the obvious point: If the city has a half million dollars to buy the sign, why not spend that money on real needs — like road repair or something — rather than on a neon sign?

How different were things back in 1925, when a portion of the Bickel Building, upon which the sign stands, was condemned to make room for the Burnside Bridge.

That displayed a commonsensical notion of public use.

Buying — or, worse, forcing the sale of — a sign to signal an official message? That’s Orwellian . . . if it even makes that much sense.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Apr
    10
    8:17
    AM
    Lyle R. Rolfe

    I know the reason most of us are not in government. We are not nuts or empty headed. We have common sense (no pun intended Paul). It appears you must be a total jerk who cares less for anyone other than him or herself to be in government. And it appears to be so at all levels. Every time I read what Paul has come up with, I become more of a beliver that truth is stranger than fiction. No one could think up some of the things our elected officials come up with. If only we had some decent people running against some of these scumbags. Where’s Thomas Jefferson and the boys when we need them?

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