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Eugene graffiti spoofs Dodge billboard

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 25th, 2008 at 10:08 am

A reader (thanks Dan K.!) sent in this photo of a billboard in Eugene.

The billboard touts Dodge's new Journey model and an image of the vehicle is next to the word, "Gasolean" and the phrase, "Best in Class MPG". Underneath that phrase a graffiti artist has painted an arrow that leads to a bicycle.

It reminded me of the graffiti on a billboard on N. Vancouver Ave. in Portland from back in Spring of 2007.

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  • Jessy August 25, 2008 at 10:20 am

    My friend Sara owns a shirt with a bicycle on it that says \"MPG\" with a little infinity sign under it... It\'s too cute.

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  • Jammers August 25, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Ha! I hope we start seeing much more of this kind of creativity in the coming years...

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  • Stochelo August 25, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Good one--it\'s fun to see advertising get corrected.

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  • foote August 25, 2008 at 10:46 am

    That \"best in class mpg\" is a joke anyway. It gets 19/25 with a 4 cylinder, 17/23 with a V6.
    Studebaker did better than that 55 years ago. (1953 Studebaker Starlight got 28 mpg)
    Dodge should be ashamed.

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  • Hollie August 25, 2008 at 10:50 am

    It cracks me up that they\'d show this bloated, gas-swilling lardwagon along with copy boasting of its amazing fuel economy.

    Boasting without any actual numbers, of course: \"best in class\" amongst all the other bloated, gas-swilling lardwagons is probably in the neighborhood of 9MPH.

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  • Donald August 25, 2008 at 10:57 am

    @foote

    of course, the downside to the mileage of the 1953 Studebaker was the, at the time, very unrestricted emissions...

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  • toddistic August 25, 2008 at 11:06 am

    lol good call on that

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  • Burk August 25, 2008 at 11:21 am

    \"bloated, gas-swilling lardwagon\"

    -Hollie

    That is pretty funny :)

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  • K'Tesh August 25, 2008 at 11:23 am

    This truth in advertising moment is quite refreshing...

    Rubberside Down!

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  • peejay August 25, 2008 at 12:23 pm

    Cue the handwringing posters who will bemoan the property destruction and illegal act of graffiti. To me, the billboard itself, pre-modification, is destruction of the common eyespace, and its legality is only possible through the flow of millions of dollars into the right political hands. The story of the billboard industry is about as sordid as it gets, right up there with meatpacking and, well, the auto-oil axis.

    So, any time someone goes out and fixes one of these blights on the environment with a subversive message, good on them!

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  • Robert August 25, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I do not condone graffiti but that is pretty good!

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  • BURR August 25, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    you\'d think they would be able to draw a better bike though, how hard is that? a couple of triangles, a couple of circles and a few straight lines....

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  • Icarus Falling August 25, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    This is interesting, but: ( and I type this while still agreeing that this is your website and should post whatever the hell you feel like posting)

    Graffiti is Vandalism. Not to mention rude, disrespectful, and illegal.

    And, sorry Jonathan, but bringing graffiti to light in a even semi positive manner makes you part of the problem.

    And yes, Graffiti is a BIG problem.

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  • peejay August 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Right on schedule!

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  • ralphie August 25, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    If you agree with what was done as being within a persons first amendment right ro free speech then don\'t complain when a billboard with a pro-cycling PSA is vandalized in the same way.

    It\'s easy to side with actions like this when they align with your own point of view. The litmus test is when you are the victim of the same actions and have the same reaction.

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  • velo August 25, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    That is a nice, playful little piece of commentary. It makes a good point while being playful and not overly heavy handed.

    To Icarus Falling, lighten-up. This is an act of civil disobedience against waste, hubris and environmental devistation. Ask yourself, is a little paint any more or less criminal then driving an ineffecient landhog that is helping to destroy the planet? Sometimes illegal things need to be done, like non-whites riding buses, non-WASPs going to college and the rest.

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  • Icarus Falling August 25, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Well Peejay,

    I typed that partially for you, simply because you so wanted someone to.

    And the other reason I typed it?

    BECAUSE I AM RIGHT!

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  • a.O August 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Sorry Dabby, er, I mean Icarus: Graffiti is a teeny, tiny little problem in comparison to those caused by motor vehicles - you know, global warming, dependence on foreign oil, hazardous air pollution, 42,000 deaths in the US each year, etc.

    Your *opinion* may be that you\'re right - isn\'t it always? - but yelling doesn\'t make it so.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 25, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    \" And the other reason I typed it?

    BECAUSE I AM RIGHT!\"

    With all due respect Mr. Falling, that is precisely the type of comment that I have urged everyone to try and avoid.

    Whether you are being serious or not (I know you\'re a nice guy offline), I would appreciate you (and everyone else) from resisting the temptation to use the comments section for arguing and personality critiques.

    Let\'s focus on the topic/story/issue. If you disagree with someone, tell us why and please keep everything intelligent and above the belt.

    Thanks.

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  • Whyat August 25, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    peejay- Give me your address. I\'ve got a few things I\'d like to present to the community and I figured I could spray paint them on the side of your house. Don\'t worry- It\'s all witty and funny and entertaining. You will love the way it improves the \'common eyespace\' on your block.

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  • IM August 25, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    What a great idea! Though I would of gone further and just burned down the billboard. So many billboards so few anarchists...

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  • wsbob August 25, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I deplore graffiti, but anyone looking at that billboard ad can see that the huge expanse of white space surrounding the vehicle was begging for something to fill it up. The art director can take the blame for this one.

    It\'s kind of a poorly rendered image of a bike. That probably means it wasn\'t done by one of Portland\'s serious graf artists or activists. Just someone with a wild hair. CBS (note that it\'s their billboard) will probably send someone out, and it\'ll probably only be about a $100 job to paint that over.

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  • [...] An “edited” billboard, courtesy of BikePortland [...]

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  • Arem August 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    Hmm, this reminds me of something...
    Oh, right! That America is originally structured off of civil disobedience...*coughBostonTeaPartycough* and the general wish to get away from the English monarchy. Fine line between making a point of truth to people and feudal-era like gang turf tagging. Surely gray areas can be appreciated much like the oft gray skies of Portland? Seems I recall something in the Constitution along the lines of if we the people decide that the government is not complying with the wishes and best interests of the people, we have the right to replace that government...
    Yay for the person that drew the bicycle and calling \'bull\' on the advert.
    /soapbox

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  • Icarus Falling August 25, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    While the statement \"I am right\" is the truth, it is also the truth that I did not need to type it. This I will admit.

    It in no way is a personal attack on anyone, nor an attack on anyone\'s personality. It is a statement of my personal belief in my own stance. That much should be obvious.

    And it is also a statement directly related to the \"issue\" in the article.

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  • brian August 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    There is obvious truth and humor in this bit of graffiti. But it seems to me that this kind of thing contributes to the counter cultural vibe that some in the bike movement like.

    I personally don\'t want cycling to be perceived as counter cultural. I want it to be commonplace and respectable.

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  • jack August 25, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    why did Icarus get a reprimand but peejay\'s \'bring it on\' (#10 1st sentence) and \'i told you so\' (#14) is ignored.

    Jonathon do you support vandalism as a way to promote biking over car travel? I didn\'t get that impression from the article, but have doubts with the obvious bias in your comments favoring those with a pro-opininon of the grafitti.

    From wikipedia:

    \"Civil disobedience is the active refusal to obey certain laws, demands and commands of a government, or of an occupying power, without resorting to physical violence. It is one of the primary tactics of nonviolent resistance. In its most nonviolent form (known as ahimsa or satyagraha) it could be said that it is compassion in the form of respectful disagreement.\"

    How is this lawbreaking incident relate to the \'demands and commands of a government\'? There is no law that states u must drive a \'bloated, gas-swilling lardwagon\' (lol, great description Hollie).

    IMO, this action falls into the \'bad publicity for the biking community\' column. May be a bit subjective about this one, being that I\'ve spent to much time and community resources on cleaning up graffiti that could of gone to more beneficial purposes.

    if considering actions similar to this ask yourself one question:

    wwgd - what would gandhi do?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 25, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    \"why did Icarus get a reprimand but peejay\'s \'bring it on\' (#10 1st sentence) and \'i told you so\' (#14) is ignored.\"

    My comment was directed at the entire thread... it was Icarus\'s statement that pushed me over the edge and made me want to try and right the ship.

    \"Jonathon do you support vandalism as a way to promote biking over car travel?\"

    No.

    Please understand that I was not taking sides in the story, and I was not taking sides in my critique of the comments.

    Thank you.

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  • Whyat August 25, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    If you don\'t like the Dodge billboard buy your own with a message about the cost savings that riding a bike provides. I would love to hear about any positive experience that someone has about getting their own personal property tagged. Anyone? This just lends credence to the misnomer that bikers are a bunch of punks.

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  • Brad August 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Excellent point made by Brian. For real change to happen it has to be perceived as reasonable to be accepted by the public at large. Sadly, the most vocal and visible advocates of bicycles seem to revel in their rebel / counter cultural / scofflaw vibe and that makes it more difficult to convince people and policy makers that bikes and bike riders are normal folks and beneficial to solving traffic problems.

    Case in point, check out any blog rants about cyclists. What do they have in common? The bike riders think they own the road, don\'t have to follow the laws, hate on anything with a motor, blah..blah..blah. Are they basing that opinion on the 95% that ride responsibly or rather the scofflaws, vandals, and drunks amongst us?

    Big media\'s billboard got vandalized. No doubt it will be reported by other big media outlets as another \"crime\" perpetrated by bicyclists. So my question to Mr. Tagger is, \"What benefit did you accomplish with your free speech?\".

    My question to Mr. Maus is, \"What benefit are you creating by publicizing this vandal\'s act?\" Especially when your site gets cited by big media in this town as the de facto voice of Portland cycling.

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  • Oliver August 25, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    And the revenue stream that is supposed to accrue from this public service message?

    The tax abatement write-off Chrysler\'s 300 million dollar loss earned them earlier this year will more than cover the cost of this billboard.

    How exactly can I earn back the money I will have spent saying something positive?

    Grafitti is wrong, yet civil disobediance is an obligation.

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  • BURR August 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Whyat - What do you think Network Media\'s response would be if you asked to buy a billboard advert or commercial time on radio or TV to promote a message saying car culture is bad for the USA?

    I can assure you that you would not be able to buy ad space promoting this message, because they wouldn\'t sell it to you.

    http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3581/adbusters_ads_busted/

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  • Peter August 25, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    i like it! and the previous one was even funnier - \"Need a car?\" \"No!\"

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  • peejay August 25, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks, BURR.

    We are in the dying days of democracy in this country. I say this not as a radical, but as a rational person who is disgusted with being \"sold\" one war so far, and more to come, with having our constitution shredded in the name of security, with the environmental havoc being wreaked on this world for the sake of \"economic growth.\" People who share my views are regularly characterized as radical in the national media and not given a platform to speak on our public airwaves by those who control them.

    So, yes, I smile at this illegal act, even as I admit it should remain illegal. The opportunities to speak the truth are so few that they are not always the easy ones, not always the legal ones.

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  • Eileen August 25, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Oliver, you got me thinking and I have been thinking about this all night.

    \"civil disobedience is an obligation.\"

    I\'m assuming you mean moral obligation? I have to completely disagree - I don\'t remember that as part of any ethics course I ever took. We ARE obliged to follow our INFORMED conscience and be true to our own ethics even when the law says differently, but I think the actions you take to work for something you believe in are completely up to you. The person who is legally lobbying congress is not being immoral because they aren\'t breaking laws to get their point across. That is absurd. The person who stands in front of the billboard holding a picket sign with the same message is making the same point without breaking a law. I actually think that if there is a way to follow your conscience using legal means, you are morally obligated to do so. Because I think we are morally obligated to live as peacefully as we can and hence, follow the laws of society as long as they don\'t violate the laws of God (or whoever/whatever guides your conscience). There are numerous examples of legitimate civil disobedience (Rosa Parks, Ghandi standing up to the british so his people wouldn\'t starve, draftees refusing to participate in war, etc...) but this guy who painted on the billboard was just being a wise-ass. And he did a good job because it was really funny. But his actions hardly qualify as civil disobedience in my book. Maybe this is a question for that guy who does the ethics column in the oregonian. I love that guy.

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  • Aaron August 25, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    Well I agree with Jonatahn. Graffiti on a giant ugly billboard touting gas-hogs is a whole world different from graffiti expressing the \'turf\' of a criminal. This is merely correcting the big media in the only way available.
    How is this different from people who put bumper stickers like \'I\'m changing the climage\' on SUVs?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 25, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    \"My question to Mr. Maus is, \"What benefit are you creating by publicizing this vandal\'s act?\" Especially when your site gets cited by big media in this town as the de facto voice of Portland cycling.\"

    Brad,

    My editorial decisions are not based solely on \"what benefit\" the story creates.

    Sometimes I simply share information about what\'s going on out there.

    I think many people in this thread are making the common mistake of thinking this site is all about bike activism and that I am some sort of non-profit with a mission to only show bikes in their best light and post stories that help \"further the cause.\"

    I presented this story based on a photo and text that described the photo... yet several people assume that somehow I\'m in favor of graffiti and that simply by publishing the story I am for vandalizing billboards, civil disobedience, etc...

    That is just not the case.

    I thought people would be interested in seeing the billboard, so I posted the story. That\'s it.

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  • weastsider August 25, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    I think it\'s artistic act of defiance. I think it\'s simply great because of it\'s counter culture message. TODAY cycling IS counter culture.

    Billboards pretty much are graffiti (in my view) so I don\'t see the problem here. And why, if I were so inclined, would I want to buy the space from some lame-ass corporation when I could get the point across for the price of a spray paint can.

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  • Icarus Falling August 25, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    \" Graffiti on a giant ugly billboard touting gas-hogs is a whole world different from graffiti expressing the \'turf\' of a criminal\"\"

    You are entirely wrong about that!

    It is no different to graffiti a billboard protesting gas use than it is to express gang turf or anything else. Even spraying your own \"art\" onto an unauthorized service is graffiti, and you should be forced to spend many, many hours scrubbing your \"art\" and the \"art\" of others off of the sides of \"our\" community.

    Graffiti is graffiti.
    Rude and crude.

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  • peejay August 26, 2008 at 2:28 am

    Tell that to banksy.

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  • me August 26, 2008 at 10:54 am

    Icarus falling, not saying I support graffiti (although I find this to be funny yes because it supports my ideals, and no they may not have been right to do it)but what did you think of the stencil of Brett before they removed it. Was this justifiable and should it have been kept?

    - Just currious

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  • Icarus Falling August 26, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I thought that the stencil of Brett was a nice gesture, (I of course knew Brett, and the whole thing saddens me immensely) that was justifiably removed because it was technically Graffiti/vandalism.

    The same stencil could/should have been approved ahead of time, and then applied, and we would still be able to see it for years to come. I believe it could still be approved, and reapplied, just as it was before.

    Sadly, no matter how nice, well intentioned, or artistic, vandalism and defacing of public property is a real problem.

    There is no room for a double standard on this note. If we decide that artistic graffiti is ok, then we are obligated to allow the gangsters, for example, to decide that their tags claiming turf are also artistic and ok to apply.

    I am certain that this point can be understood and agreed to by most of you , if not everyone.

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  • peejay August 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    There is no room for a double standard on this note. If we decide that artistic graffiti is ok, then we are obligated to allow the gangsters, for example, to decide that their tags claiming turf are also artistic and ok to apply.

    #1. Never said artistic graffiti should be legal. I just see a place for it, is all.

    #2. It\'s a simple world you wish to live in if you cannot (or refuse to) differentiate between interesting, subversive, content-rich messages and stupid tags.

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  • peejay August 26, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Here are some examples.

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  • BURR August 26, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    There is no room for a double standard on this note. If we decide that artistic graffiti is ok, then we are obligated to allow the gangsters, for example, to decide that their tags claiming turf are also artistic and ok to apply.

    I am certain that this point can be understood and agreed to by most of you , if not everyone.

    What, that grafitti is the greatest scourge of society ever?

    LOLz! (good try though)...

    http://www.culture.gouv.fr/culture/arcnat/lascaux/en/

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  • Icarus Falling August 26, 2008 at 5:30 pm

    Some of you cannot even comprehend a simple and well explained point.

    This makes me sad.

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  • El Biciclero August 26, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I think part of Icarus\' point is the question of who gets to decide what is \"artistic\". One man\'s art is another\'s vandalism.

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  • alex August 26, 2008 at 7:56 pm

    the only difference between advertisements and graffiti is that someone paid for it. advertisements are far more offensive to my eyes. why should i be subjected to them just because someone paid for it?

    i applaud underground efforts to subvert, correct and create dissenting art against this eye-pollution...

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  • peejay August 26, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    One man\'s simple and well explained point is another man\'s circular logic.

    Because you declare all public paint to be the same does not make it so. That makes me sad.

    While it may be illegal to throw a pie in Dick Cheney\'s face, that pie must be thrown!

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  • Icarus Falling August 26, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    I despise billboards myself, but they are as legal and permitted as they are huge and ugly.

    I dislike bill boards almost as much as I dislike
    say, maybe....

    Graffiti?

    Doesn\'t change any facts relating to my fully explained and correct points regarding vandalism/graffiti.

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  • Eileen August 26, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    I think the point is that if you disagree with vandalism, if you think vandalism is wrong, then you can\'t use it to fight your battles. The end doesn\'t justify the means. After the battle you want to be able to look back and know that you did it right and didn\'t trample anyone in the process. Yes, it was funny. But no, it wasn\'t right. Why are you all trying to defend this?

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  • peejay August 27, 2008 at 12:53 am

    If the government puts a camera in my bedroom, I will vandalize the ____ out of it. And you would, too. So, now that I\'ve proven there\'s no absolute, where do you want to draw the line? My line changes every day.

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  • El Biciclero August 27, 2008 at 10:09 am

    peejay also makes a good point: It\'s all about where you draw the line. The law draws the line in a particular place, and people\'s tolerance for where that line is drawn differs. I agree there is a difference between right/wrong and legal/illegal, but if someone chooses to do something that (to them) is right, but illegal, they must be prepared to face the consequences. By the same token, if someone else chooses to toe the line of an unjust system, they should also be prepared to face the consequences. Whether graffiti is a social issue worth fighting over is another question...

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  • martin August 27, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Here\'s a story about $100,000 in bike funding getting cut: http://bikeportland.org/2007/04/24/mayor-says-no-to-the-bicycle-master-plan/
    Here\'s Portland spending TWENTY TIMES that amount PER YEAR in graffiti abatement:
    http://www.graffitihurts.org/learn_more/facts.cfm
    One could argue that anyone that thinks graffiti is okay deserves to have their bike lanes taken away.

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  • Whyat August 27, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    This website never ceases to blow me away. If someone had vandalized a pro-bike billboard/advertisement/website people on this board would be frothing at the mouth. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. It\'s that simple. Don\'t want your stuff vandalized? Then don\'t vandalize. Peejay- you still haven\'t posted your address. How can I spray paint my pro-bike messages on your house if I don\'t have your address?

    It\'s because of threads like this one that the bike community gets so little respect. It\'s threads like this one that cause jury pools to become more and more biased against cyclists. I for one am a law abiding citizen first, and a cyclist second. What reaction should a non-biker have after reading this thread?

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  • Sodapop Johnson August 27, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    \"What reaction should a non-biker have after reading this thread?\"

    They\'d probably think one person broke the law, and some cyclists don\'t care while other cyclists do. It has nothing to do with the \"bike community\" as a whole.

    \"I for one am a law abiding citizen first, and a cyclist second.\"

    Bad idea in my opinion. If a law is wrong there is absolutely no reason to abide by it. It isn\'t honorable to follow it just because it\'s the law.

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  • Icarus Falling August 27, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    The laws regarding graffiti are not wrong at all.
    They are right on the mark.

    \" Wake up and smell the cat food\"
    (They Might Be Giants)

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  • BURR August 27, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Here\'s a story about $100,000 in bike funding getting cut: http://bikeportland.org/2007/04/24/mayor-says-no-to-the-bicycle-master-plan/
    Here\'s Portland spending TWENTY TIMES that amount PER YEAR in graffiti abatement:
    http://www.graffitihurts.org/learn_more/facts.cfm
    One could argue that anyone that thinks graffiti is okay deserves to have their bike lanes taken away.

    All this shows is that as a society we have our priorities all screwed up.

    Eradicating grafitti at $2mill per year is just plain stupid and falls in the category of treating the symptoms without addressing the causes.

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  • Whyat August 27, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Sodapop- Are you the one who dictates which laws are right and which are wrong or do I get to make the determination myself? Do I need to call you first to double check?

    Are you actually arguing that graffiti should be legal? If someone tagged your house would you seriously go \'Oh, I guess the tagger felt that anti-tagging laws were \"wrong\". Tee hee.\' Are you kidding me?

    I would argue that it isn\'t honorable to advocate breaking laws just because you belong to a group who is being promoted through such law breaking. If I don\'t like certain laws there are legal avenues that can be used to change said laws.

    And lets be clear. This isn\'t a case of \'some cyclists not caring\'. This is a case of the majority of posters on this board condoning the destruction of someone elses property while at the same time representing a group of people who are constantly looking for more respect/funding/and endorsements from the community as a whole.

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  • jack August 27, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    re: #56 \"Bad idea in my opinion. If a law is wrong there is absolutely no reason to abide by it. It isn\'t honorable to follow it just because it\'s the law.\"

    Who gets to decide if a law is wrong?

    I\'ve worked with some pretty intense street youth in my days, and I have heard the same argument you just gave of why it\'s ok to kill someone that \'snitches\' to the police. Or why its ok to hospitalize someone for \'talking to my girl\'. These are obviously some extreme examples, but I\'d point back to my original question:

    Who gets to decide if a law is wrong?

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  • Pete August 27, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Malcolm Gladwell examines the \'broken window theory\' in his book \"Tipping Point\". The theory is that environmental factors play a role in encouraging or discouraging crime; graffiti is one of those factors.

    Personally I\'m agnostic on the subject but I think this tag\'s \'cute\'. Not a fan of billboards to begin with - visual pollution is visual pollution.

    Oh, and jack (#60): well said.

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  • wsbob August 27, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    \"Eradicating grafitti at $2mill per year is just plain stupid and falls in the category of treating the symptoms without addressing the causes.\" BURR #58

    Have you thought about the effects of the suggestion you\'ve made if it were put in practice? So are we all supposed to have to watch as every conceivable surface in the public eye is methodically spray bombed and magic-markered, waiting until whatever causes compulsive graffiti vandals to do it, is addressed, before we can expect the mess to be cleaned up?

    Banksy is an accomplished graffiti artist. Fine. I wish he\'d tell people that want to paint, to buy a canvas and paint away. I wish he and other people that tag and throw up graffiti would do that instead of encouraging people in a practice that wastes millions of dollars and peoples time, and screws with the health of the environment and creatures trying to live in it.

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  • Eileen August 27, 2008 at 9:23 pm

    Hey sodapop,
    You are absolutely right that if a law is wrong and goes against your moral beliefs, you should break it. Things like whether to stop at stop signs are not actually moral judgments though and the functioning of society requires that we all agree to one standard. I think that if you are practicing civil disobedience you also need to let people know specifically which law you are breaking and WHY and then you need to peacefully accept the legal consequences. If you\'re not willing to do all that, you\'re not effectively making a point, you\'re just breaking laws.

    Now, please tell me. Which law has been discussed in this thread that you find morally reprehensible? Is it the law against graffitti? Seriously? YOu think it should be legal? Or it should be legal when it\'s something you find funny? And not legal when you find it offensive? Is it legal if the victim is someone you don\'t like? Illegal if it\'s you or your family? And do you get to make these decisions? I forgot when you were elected emperor of the world, can you remind me please? Should we bow when you come near? Is that Emperor Sodapop or your majesty? Now I\'m being really snarky, but I think it\'s okay because I find it amusing. If Mr. Maus is disamused, please delete.=)

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  • peejay August 27, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    I, for one, fully support a law that says graffiti is illegal.

    Doesn\'t mean I cannot get a good chuckle at the altered billboard. Nothing hypocritical about that. Sorry y\'all can\'t understand. Kind of sad.

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  • Eileen August 27, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Peejay, I don\'t think anyone denied it was funny. The question is whether we should encourage that kind of \"vigilante\" behavior. I don\'t think we want to see a trend or to hear people try to justify graffiti because they happen to like that one. If I had my kids paint gorgeous rainbows, hearts, flowers and stars all over your (car, bike, house) I would think it was beautiful because anything my kids create is magnificent, but you might not agree and since it\'s your (car, bike, house) I don\'t really get to decide how it\'s decorated. If you\'d like though, we could arrange it. My son ONLY paints pictures of trains and train tracks though, so I hope you like trains.

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  • The Hobgoblin of Little Minds August 28, 2008 at 7:49 am

    I have no fear that our much cherished (stolen) property laws are in danger of toppling anytime soon OR that bike lanes will be defunded OR that snitches will be killed OR that you will come tag my house because of this humorous act of defiance against Chrysler Motors and CBS Billboards.

    Even if you don\'t agree with the message or the means, a healthy imagination should be able distinguish the difference between this act and a common tag.

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  • El Biciclero August 28, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Heh. \"...throw up graffiti...\". Good one ;)

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  • Whyat August 28, 2008 at 9:23 am

    Peejay- I\'m sorry that you can\'t discern between \'not understanding\' and \'not agreeing\'. Many would argue that \'sad\'. Please acknowledge that you would not be upset if someone tagged your house or personal property. You won\'t own up to it. Many would argue that the behavior of a \'sad hypocrite\'.

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  • SkidMark August 28, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Whyat: there is a big difference between tagging someone\'s personal property and tagging a corporate billboard. I see tagging a billboard as an act of civil disobedience when it has a message, like putting a bicycle on a billboard touting \"best MPG\".

    The other day I was near OMSI and I had to wait for a freight train. I wish I had a video camera to capture the giant graffiti murals as they went by, interspersed with some crappy tagging, but for the most part it was the kind of graffiti shown in Juxtapoz and featured in several coffee table books, like \"The Art of Getting Over\". It is art, whether you can see it or not. Is it vandalism too? Yes. When you write graffiti on a train it is a felony and a federal offense because it crosses state lines. I don\'t know what the penalty is but I bet you get less time for rape.

    I really think if you gave the kids (and adults) interested in this kind of art a place to do it and not get in trouble they would do it. It would have to be public, in a place where people could see it. Maybe it could go on abandoned or vacant buildings (tax shelters), or legally on trains and bridges/underpasses. Setting up and graffiti review and approval commitee would cost much less than what is spent on removal, enforcement, and prosecution.

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  • wsbob August 28, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    \"Maybe it could go on abandoned or vacant buildings (tax shelters), or legally on trains and bridges/underpasses. Setting up and graffiti review and approval commitee would cost much less than what is spent on removal, enforcement, and prosecution.\" skidmark

    I think there\'s places in countries around the world where that\'s been attempted, with some success. There may be too many people that want to do graffiti; it might not be possible to come up with enough legal square feet for them to do it on.

    Possibly worse than graffiti, are signature or territory tags. These seem to be so pervasive, and are almost everywhere, on everything.

    I consider modern billboards to be huge polluters. In earlier times, materials used to create a billboard ad were fairly benign; biodegradable paper and paste...maybe even vegetable based paste. Modern ads seem to be placed on a continuous sheet of plastic that\'s mounted on billboards. That stuff is probably going to the landfill, if not immediately after being taken down, soon after it\'s been \'recycled\' into some unrecyclable product.

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  • Eileen August 28, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Sorry guys, that\'s like saying it\'s okay to steal a candy bar from target but not from the mom n\' pop store. I will admit there is a difference because of the consequences for the victims, but still, stealing is stealing and graffiti is graffiti. If it\'s wrong, it\'s wrong. If you play that game you can start to rationalize all kinds of doo-doo. (And I don\'t doubt that some of you already have talked yourselves into all kinds of stuff, so your conscience might already be dead and that\'s why this whole conversation feels a bit like banging one\'s head against a brick wall.)

    However, if someone is standing out front holding a tray full of candy bars and giving them away free, have at it. That\'s why I like the idea of legal spots to graffiti.

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  • Icarus Falling August 29, 2008 at 12:32 am

    I can\'t even believe you people are still here typing away, defending graffiti.

    Graffiti is vandalism.
    Graffiti is illegal.
    Graffiti is CRAP. It is not art, it is crap.
    Unless you are invited to spray whatever you are spraying, or you own whatever you are spraying yourself, it is exactly that.

    It is quite obvious none of you here defending graffiti have ever either:
    Owned a building.
    Had something you paid for or cared about (as in the child hood home you grew up in, etc) vandalized by graffiti.
    Have ever had to attempt to clean up the effects of graffiti.
    Or were brought up to care about other people, other people\'s belongings, or other peoples feelings.

    In fact, if you are defending graffiti, it is probably because you either now, or have in the past, graffiti, or have graffitied something yourself, and you are simply attempting to justify the mistakes you made in the past by defending it now.

    You probably feel guilty, and by defending it now, are trying to make yourself feel immensely better about doing it.

    Maybe you saw some cool documentary about graffiti, or have friends that graffiti, and really have no clue as to the damage it does, the pain it can cause, and the cost of cleaning it up.

    You know what I say?

    Grow up!

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  • Donald August 29, 2008 at 2:03 am

    @ Icarus

    Never saw a cool documentary about graffiti, but I feel you man. I think you really do care about this issue of unauthorized paint on private walls.

    But, sir, I must say, I believe your stance on what is legal and what is not is pretty situational.

    \"And, even if bicycle traffic is still banned from the R.Q. Transit Center, the majority of us will continue to travel through the middle of it safely, as we have for years.\"

    So, if I read you right, it\'s not OK to paint on a billboard because it\'s illegal, but it\'s OK to ride through the RQ TC because ya\'ll been doin\' it for years.

    You\'ll pardon me if I find just a touch of irony there.

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  • Eileen August 29, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Donald, who gets hurt if Icarus rides through the transit center? It\'s not the same type of action at all. Granted, probably he shouldn\'t do it but it\'s not really an issue of morality because there are no victims. I think we all break traffic laws from time to time - ever pressed hard on the gas pedal on a straight deserted road? I just can\'t see God giving a crap about that. I do think, in theory, we need to follow the laws of society but I also think right now there are too many laws. It\'s tricky. None of us is perfect. But the graffiti thing seems pretty cut and dry to me.

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  • El Biciclero August 29, 2008 at 10:08 am

    \"Character is who you are in the dark.\"

    - Dr. Emilio Lizardo (aka Lord John Whorfin), from \"The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension\"

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  • Eileen August 29, 2008 at 10:51 am

    That is a great quote Biciclero. Is cheating at solitaire really cheating? Or is it making up a new game? Hmmm... some big questions raised on this thread. I don\'t know all the answers.

    \"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will gradually live along some distant day into the answer.\"

    Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters to a Young Poet.

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  • Icarus Falling August 29, 2008 at 11:27 am

    No one\'s property, lives, or anything else is damaged traveling through a perfectly safe Transit Center.

    The R.Q. transit center is not Tri Met\'s personal property, it is a space granted for use to them by the city. Bicycle travel does not damage it in any way, and, no matter what the warped stance of bus drivers may be, endanger lives.

    I thought about the same thing when I wrote that, by the way.

    I fully caught that in some little matter that i was contradicting myself. I also realized within the same moments that the two situations could not be farther apart.

    I do understand civil disobedience fully. I have lived a life of it.

    I also understand that Vandalization is not at all a piece of civil disobedience.

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  • Donald August 29, 2008 at 11:31 am

    all good stuff.

    interesting conversation.

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  • jack August 29, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    Did a quick google on \'eugene graffiti billboard\' and it came back with an interesting hit from a best of eugene 2003 article:

    Best Graffiti Artist: Dylan Freeman

    Strangest job: Being the lead artist for the city-funded graffiti art program. The idea was to do projects that would curtail illegal tagging in our community. The city advertised it all over the schools and pumped it up like it was a youth sports program. The goal was to target youth at-risk or already involved in illegal tagging, and make this an alternative project for them. But the way it was advertised, it became the cool thing to do and very popular. People who had no experience with art or understanding of the purpose of graffiti became involved, and that wasn\'t the population we were targeting. At first the city thought it was successful, but it became hard to orchestrate activities with the target youth. A lot of the people we would have wanted to be involved were turned off because they saw it as too establishment.

    Wildcard question: What is the value of graffiti art in our community? Graffiti art is the people\'s voice. In a culture where we are constantly bombarded with TV ads, flashing signs and billboards, graffiti expresses the emotions and ideas of the people. Even graffiti done in an illegal, objectionable manner often serves our community overall as a nonviolent outlet for frustration. It may also be a sign that there are people in our community whose voices are not heard any other way. Highly evolved graffiti art, as with any other art form, connects us with our true selves and the people around us.

    http://www2.eugeneweekly.com/2003/100903coverstory.html

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  • Eileen August 29, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Jack, I think I could write volumes in response to that justification of graffiti and the questions it brings up about what society is lacking right now. I hear what he is trying to say and I understand the frustrations people feel when we are up against an image-driven society and most of the images are backed by big money trying to sell us something. I am all about freedom of speech and I get that people remember what they see more than what they hear, but your freedom of speech ends at the doorway to my home or business. If I don\'t want to hear what you\'re saying, I can tell you to leave.

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  • jack August 29, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    I completely agree with your statement Eileen, as I mentioned before I have direct experience dealing with graffiti and the negatives it brings to the table. I do think the right/wrong stamp that you and icarus slap onto this is a bit heavy handed, and a failure to distinguish the various forms of graffiti shortsighted in dealing with systemic causes. I actually did the google search because I\'m curious who had to deal with it, and if it is as I would expect a burden to a local business or local community without a direct effect on dodge, oil companies, and lobbyists.

    A question for those that are still following this thread:

    If this type of graffiti/political statement began appearing in the portland area do you think it would have a net positive effect for the promotion of biking in our community?

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  • SkidMark August 29, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Saying all graffiti is bad and has no value is the same as saying all cyclists are traffic scofflaws.

    And whether you like it or not icarus Falling, it is a recognized art form. I\'m not big on non-representational art and most of the high-minded performance art and installation art like the TBA (Time Based Art)project but I still respect it as being art. Graffiti rides a fence between graphic design/typography and fine art, AND a fence between illegality and legality. That is what makes it most definitely outsider art.

    The whole \"grow up\" thing is so sad and tired. We would not have things like mountain biking, BMX, and skateboarding if those who got involved in it had put it aside and grew up. Instead they chse to start their own companies and make better working and more interesting products based on what they knew about it. I won\'t even get into what a bland world it would be if all the artists had put away their crayons and grew up.

    We have public sculptures, I don\'t see why we can\'t have public murals in the \"traditional\" graffiti style. They do in other cities, L.A. and San Diego come to mind, and even Seattle. In Sao Paulo, Brazil outdoor advertising is illegal, and there are murals everywhere.

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  • SkidMark August 29, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    I suppose I should just \"grow up\" and stop making ridiculous tallbikes and freakbikes too.

    Keep Portland Boring!

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  • Eileen August 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Let\'s bring back funding for the arts already! And designate some public places where it\'s okay. It might, for example, really cheer up some of the ugly industrial buildings in certain areas if those businesses could be encouraged to partner with the community in designating some space. But I don\'t think painting or altering other people\'s private property without permission is ever going to be okay.

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  • John Reinhold August 29, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    @SkidMark: Saying all graffiti is bad and has no value is the same as saying all cyclists are traffic scofflaws.

    Not true at all.

    While the term graffiti has its routes in archaeology, in present day USA graffiti refers to usually illegal markings property. I am sure that there are few communities or jurisdictions in the USA where graffiti is legal.

    But the \"crime\" of graffiti is a property crime. It is not a victimless crime. Those bus windows etched with gang markings cost us hard working tax payers $$$. The bridges and overpasses with tags devalue property in the area, and adversely impact livability. The private property that is marked up directly costs property owners money and time.

    All graffiti is bad and has no value.

    If you don\'t own it or have permission, don\'t mark on it.

    If you disagree with placement or content of billboards contact your local government. Oregon used to have strict billboard laws, but that has changed in the past few years it seems.

    But graffiti has only negative impacts on society.

    I do have an idea on how to implement a good graffiti permitting program - but this is the wrong place for those details. But I think it could be done - different than it has been done before, and be successful.

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  • John Reinhold August 29, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    \"routes\" should have been \"roots\". BP really needs a \"preview\" function.

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  • Icarus Falling August 29, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    I believe we can thank Vera Katz for the now lax rules on big advertising...

    And, Skid, I know some graffiti is considered art.

    And some of it is beautiful. I have very good friends who are graffiti artists, and who paint beautiful things. Very amazing things.

    But it in no way changes the fact that those things are graffiti, and also entirely vandalism. And should not be done. Ever.

    If they were posting comments here, or speaking to my face, I would be telling them the exact same things. And I have told them so in the past.

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  • wsbob August 29, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    If there were a legal wall for graffiti, what are some suggestions for where it would be? How do you think people would respond to such a thing; both painters and the public. That\'s something to think about.

    One of the things I\'ll have to admit I appreciate to some extent about graffiti, is that after awhile, it goes away. It changes, (it has that in common with billboards) which is something you can\'t say about a lot of legitimate art whose long term significance might might be debatable. Society isn\'t compelled to idolize graffiti like it\'s compelled to do so for legit art. I\'ve been wondering how long the city will have to endure those Kenny Sharf freak totems over at Jamison
    Square. Too bad a graffiti artist didn\'t put them up. (semi-joking....please don\'t be mean)

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  • SkidMark August 30, 2008 at 12:30 am

    John Reinhold, I never said that tagging was art, most of it is just territorial p!ssing.

    You did prove my point though, that most people view ALL graffiti the same way. Sorry you can\'t recognize art when it is art.

    And Icurus Falling, I have acknowledged more than once that it is for the most part illegal, but I have also called for a legal outlet for it.

    I for one truly believe a little chaos is good, stirring things up makes for change.

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  • s.k. October 17, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I painted this. I have never seen this website before, someone just sent me a link to it. my only regret is yes, the bike looks like shit. but i climbed 30 feet up, from the back of the billboard around the the front, and stood in the blaring floodlights at night in plain sight of a main road to do this, so i was definitely nervous and rushed. it was out of anger, not preconceived pre-sketched art, so im lucky that it is readable as a bicycle.

    i am so fucking pissed off about green wash. "GO GREEN! BY BUYING ALL NEW EVERYTHING! BUY A NEW CAR THAT GETS 2 MPG BETTER THAN WHAT YOU DRIVE NOW AND YOU ARE NO LONGER PART OF ANY PROBLEM, YOU ARE GREEN!!!" suck a bag of dicks.

    and this is in the center of my neighborhood of eugene, the center of bicycles/environmentalism, and directly across the street from a bicycle shop.

    i will sketch something out next time and draw it better, sorry.

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  • wsbob October 17, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    s.k., nice of you to offer the backstory on the SUV billboard in Eugene. As you might surmise from some of my comments on this thread, I'm generally critical of graffiti...with some exceptions. As you've explained it, I totally understand how you felt you had to get up on this particular billboard and set the message straight.

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  • Eileen October 18, 2008 at 11:34 am

    SK
    I share your anger. I really do. But I still philosophically disagree with graffiti as a reaction. How about you make a BIG sign and picket? =)

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  • Coyote October 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    SK were you the one that tagged the McDonald's billboard on sixth with "Eat McShit and Die" a few years ago? 'Loved that one.

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  • wsbob October 19, 2008 at 12:53 am

    "Eat McShit and Die". Oh yeah, that's really a nice way to express outrage on a big billboard in the public view. Mommy, Mommy, look!! But Coyote probably just loved the improvisation on the McDonald's name and not its placement on a billboard. Let's hope.

    I think just plain 'McDeath' is sufficiently effective.

    I'll add to my comment #91: s.k., I understand your feeling the need to do what you did, just please, for everyone's sake, try not to make it a common thing. There's better, more effective ways to protest, and they do a better job of demonstrating that you have maturity worthy of admiration.

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