Pat Mobley has his Master degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor's degree from Portland State University. He currently works for a local, economic development non-profit. He is also the Vice Chair of the Housing and Community Development Commission for Multnomah County.
The state budget is so bad, on Friday, the State Board of Higher Education granted the University of Oregon an emergency spring term tuition increase. Instead of tending to the needs of those students and keeping tuition increases down, the University would apparently prefer to spend its money trying to eliminate a historical landmark in Portland by altering the Made in Oregon Sign.
The University of Oregon would like to repeatedly remind you that since the Made in Oregon sign has changed in the past one more change should be simple. In fact, the University of Oregon refers to it on their website shamefully as “a neon plug for a chain of retail stores.” The website goes on to threaten that if this change does not go through, the sign could “go dark,” and further that UO simply “is in no position to offer up free advertising to a retailer.”
The Made in Oregon Sign transcended simple advertisement status long ago and has become an icon for Oregon and her products and services. From movies to magazines and coffee table books to tourism brochures, in it’s 12 year existence this sign as become as iconic for Portland – and indeed Oregon, as the Golden Gate Bridge is for San Francisco and the Space Needle is for Seattle. If you look at the Mayor’s website, it is even prominently displayed there.
Yes, it has been changed before, but the White Satin sign never achieved icon status, nor did White Stag. Changing the sign for exploitation by one university with its headquarters over one hundred miles away over the top. To their credit, the University did a wonderful renovation of the historical building underneath the sign – the White Stag Building – where is partial resident now. There are in fact at least a dozen entire colleges in Oregon, consisting of hundreds of thousands of students, faculty and alumni, whose primary facilities are closer to the Made in Oregon sign than the University of Oregon. The sign as it exists is a representation of all of those colleges including UO, not just one.
Barely two weeks ago, I set up a Facebook Cause to help raise awareness of the need to save the Made in Oregon sign. I have been pleasantly surprised that over 8000 others have signed up to join this cause and hope you will to. But the sign needs more than that from you. Here’s how you can help:
Submit written testimony: Please take a moment to express your opposition for the public record. You may send your comments by email to Mark Walhood. We need messages of support to be submitted in advance of Monday’s public hearing (see below).
Show up and testify: The Historic Landmark Commission will be holding a public hearing on the request of Ramsay Signs, Incorporated, at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, March 9, in Portland at 1900 SW 4th Ave., Room 2500A. A strong showing of opposition in this public forum is very important to the preservation of this icon. If you can possibly spare the time to attend the hearing and testify in person, it would be very much appreciated.