Support BikePortland

Spotted on the 50s bikeway: Billboards, Portland-style

Posted by on May 5th, 2015 at 10:37 am

DSC_0094

Ads follow eyeballs.
(Photos: M.Andersen)

I drove a car on Sunday. (No shame here — I needed to get to Jantzen Beach and back before Game of Thrones.)

One of the things I noticed was the fact that when you’re on a freeway, advertising becomes a significantly larger part of your life.

In some ways, of course, spending one’s transportation time away from commercial messages is nice. But in other ways, advertising does actually give you useful information, such as the news that it’s berry season at a local fast-food chain or the fact that a certain car wash offers a monthly subscription for unlimited washes.

Being advertised to can be annoying, but it’s also a sign that you’re part of a community worth catering to.

Advertisement

Maybe that’s why I was so pleased, later on Sunday evening, to notice the little posters taped above the electronic “push to cross” buttons at 53rd Avenue and Burnside, on the 50s Bikeway.

They’re just ads for a show at the Holocene, and of course our culture already has a long and glorious history of attaching music posters to municipal infrastructure. But the precision of these little notices was unmistakable. This was an ad for you to look at and consider while leaning against the post, waiting for your bike-crossing light to turn green.

Which is, as of last year, something hundreds of Portlanders do each day at 52nd and Division.

Advertisements aren’t always a blessing. But ads follow eyeballs. And when your city starts to fill up with more ads that are five inches by eight and designed to be read while standing still, instead of 48 feet by 14 and designed to be read at 60 mph, that’s as good a sign as any that something about your city is working right.

Correction: An earlier version of this post referred to the wrong intersection.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

24
Leave a Reply

avatar
8 Comment threads
16 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
16 Comment authors
EricLester Burnhamrain watersMarkSpiffy Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
canuck
Guest
canuck

Guess I don’t see how handbills are new.
Every telephone pole in the city can be mined for the metal in the staples that are embedded in the surface.

rainbike
Guest
rainbike

Sign pole litter. Not impressed.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

exactly… it may be nice that people advertise to bicyclists, but that’s hardly a new thing…

but the practice is illegal in Portland… feel free to rip down any sign pole litter you find…

link to the city’s Sign Pole Litter web site: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/301224

if it’s not a street light pole then it’s a utility pole which is owned by the utility and you’re still not allowed to deface their poles or vandalize them with staples…

post your advertising legally…

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I always tear down the “we buy houses” signs.

CaptainKarma
Guest

Me too. Which is why they try to put them too high to reach. This might be a dumb question, but can a person get in trouble for removing illegal signs?

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

since the web site says “Some residents are taking the time to clean up the poles voluntarily” and doesn’t mention anything else about it I’m guessing that it’s perfectly legal to remove an illegal sign…

Mark
Guest
Mark

I get that some people find the ads visually or otherwise offensive, but the times that I’ve seen folks tearing them down, they just leave all of the torn up paper on the ground. If you tear it down, pick it up. Otherwise it’s littering, which is also illegal, and low-class too.

davemess
Guest
davemess

Sorry Michael. This article is reaching a little.

rain waters
Guest
rain waters

Nothin wrong with reaching. . .

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Off to climb and descend Mt Ashland right now.

RW

CaptainKarma
Guest

Air Force motto.

rain waters
Guest
rain waters

Exactly, tires left ground many times.

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

I think that adding a few more examples could tighten it up… e.g. there are at least two bike-shop A-board signs on Clinton (environs of 32nd & 51st)

davemess
Guest
davemess

Point being, I stop at the light at 52d and Powell every day on my way home. That pole has been covered with posters for years (even before there was a bike lane) for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers to see.
People see open real estate for posting things and they post them (bike signal post or not). I just don’t see the story here.

Adam H.
Guest
Adam H.

The diverter is actually at 52nd and Division, not 53rd.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

something hundreds of Portlanders do each day at 53rd and Division.

I believe the photo is 53rd and Burnside… the other crossing would be 52nd and Division…

Martin Vandepas
Guest
Martin Vandepas

That Rilla show was Awesome! Check them out.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

We have enough trash and graffiti in this city lately. Let’s not add to it with this junk.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Not looking forward to the painted ads in bike lanes and on paths.