Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Signbusters United to save the Commons!

Yesterday I risked life and limb to take down another of Jobdango monstrosities. Photo to the right.

Ralph King is the CEO of the employment firm and apparently has no qualms about illegally planting his company’s signs all over the public right-of-way. Firm's owner, Tim Barron, has told a fellow sign-buster that jobs are more important than keeping the public right-of-way free of clutter.

So Jobdango officials know what they are doing is illegal. The firm has even been sued in the past for promoting Jobdango by writing in chalk on downtown sidewalks.

I phoned the company once to complain and gently posit my vision of what the city would look like if every business chose this form of advertising. I was met with a verbal attack. “Sounds like you have too much time on your hands. Get a job!”

I’m not about to subject myself to further abuse. I’ll just fight back by ripping down his signs (as I've done with 40 or so). Still I confess I don’t seem to be having much effect on Ralph and Tim. They continue to hire folks to put up more, weed-like. (Update: I took down two of their signs on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway today, Feb 7)

A call to the City produced all kinds of blather about tight budgets, enforcement priorities (illegal signs are way down the list) and Catch-22 regulations. An example of the latter is that if I take down one of these signs there’s no longer a violation because there’s no evidence. The photo shown here,  I was told, doesn’t qualify as proof of a violation either. Go figure.

But I do have one hero in the city bureaucracy. That would be Marcia Dennis, who thanklessly fields complaints about graffiti and various other visual assaults on the Commons. She even hands out anti-graffiti kits stocked with rubber gloves and all kinds of solvents. Marcia has agreed to send me the names of other Portland “Sign-busters.” There must be a couple dozen of us with “time on our hands.”

It’s time to organize. A well-publicized, Michael Moore-like mass visit/sit-in at  Jobdango’s office might be in order. Or verbal complaints at a City Council session. Or a publicity campaign. Or an on-camera citizens’ arrest.

Those are all safer than tip-toeing along the edge of the Capital Highway on-ramp to Barbur while traffic whisks by just inches away.

Meanwhile, if you want the thrill of being told to get a life, give Ralph or Tim a call to complain. The number is: (503) 256-4446.

Oh, and if you actually need a job, don’t get it through Jobdango. It only encourages the company to keep blighting our city.

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