Historic quote of the day: Randy Leonard on IKEA sign

Charlie Burr

From KGW's site (2007):

Commissioner Leonard says he's upset. "I think if you happen to be a large corporation with lot of attorneys and professional planners, that should not allow you to have a different set of rules than somebody who doesn't have those resources," says Leonard.

He concedes that developers are upset with his freeze on all new signs at Cascade Station until he gets answers to his questions.

"I think the law should apply fairly to everybody," says Leonard.

He doubts the IKEA sign will come down. But he wants to prevent any more like it.

Discuss.

Comments

  • Anon (unverified)
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    And Randy wonders why Portland has an "anti-business" reputation...

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    "I think the law should apply fairly to everybody," says Leonard.

    BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

    Well, we know that Randy Leonard is a sanctimonious bully with no ability for introspection, but it's hardly news that the Portland City Council routinely ignores laws and regulations.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    Clearly Leonard needs to lead a Brave New Effort by the city council to seize the Ikea sign using eminent domain. The sign should be changed to read "Keep Portland Weird" above the images of Leonard and Sam Adams wearing bicycle helmets.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Randy is just bored with his nob and needs something to bitch about to make him happy. It seems to me he gets depressed when he doesn't have anything to bitch about.

    Stop being so uptight about this, Randy. There are more important items to bitch about that actually make a difference.

  • Bob R. (unverified)
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    Is this in response to the Neon Rose sign controversy, or the White Satin Sugar sign controversy? (If both, do you see it as being more about one than the other?) I can't decide on my own -- give me a sign! ;-)

  • Bob R. (unverified)
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    By "is this", I mean "is this post of a historical remark" ... I know that the actual remark was from a couple of years ago.

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    Bob, I posted Randy's comments about the Ikea sign from a few years ago in light of his efforts yesterday to add a new piece of flair atop the old McCall's restaurant building.

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    This just shows, Charlie, that Randy must like his goose cooked without the sauce; that way he plain doesn't have to worry about what does or doesn't go with the gander.

    It'd be fun for someone to do a mashup of clips of Randy passionately upholding a principle one day and then, with equal passion, upholding just the opposite the next. Can BlueOregon hold a green screen challenge?

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    My frustration is that Randy only need look to his own record for an example of how a more open process can lead to better design. I give him a huge amount of credit for creatively addressing how well-designed skinny houses can improve -- not detract from -- established Portland neighborhoods. This rose thing is an example of exactly the opposite type process -- and result.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Good! A place to protest the signage for IKEA.

    Do they want business from people who don't live in the Portland area?

    Talk to someone who has flown in and is driving a rented car, or talk to someone from out of town who dropped someone off at the airport and wants to go see IKEA before driving home. As they leave the airport, where are they supposed to turn off to be able to find IKEA? How well marked it it? If there is a sign saying Cascade Station, how is an out of towner supposed to know that is the way to IKEA?

    We took someone to the airport who was going to be visiting out of state relatives for Christmas. We werem't sure where the turnoff was (nothing we saw says "turn here for IKEA) and ended up back on the freeway. By the time we got to the big sign, it was a case of "you can't get there from here". If we were in a lane where we could turn off at the next exit, would there have been signs directing us to the IKEA parking lot?

    Or is it an example of needing directions before going to the area? If so, that is a stupid marketing plan.

  • Bob R. (unverified)
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    LT -

    Most malls don't have freeway signs for specific anchor tenants. There is no "Macy's" or "Nordstrom" highway signage at the I-205 Sunnyside Road exit, for example. Similarly, there is freeway signage on I-5 for "Bridgeport Village", but not Crate & Barrel.

    As developed, Cascade Station is essentially a large shopping center with many tenants, including Ikea. The station has some urban-form improvements over your traditional mall, and it has hotels and other non-mall tenants, and may continue to grow into more of a town center type of area. But as far as signage goes, it should be treated similarly to other large area malls.

    What may be missing is signage on I-205 for "Cascade Station" specifically. There is plenty of signage for Airport Way, but there may not be for Cascade Station. A quick look at Google Street View doesn't help, because they only drove the southbound side of I-205, and the northbound signs are too far away to read or obscured by objects & vehicles.

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    Maybe you should get directions before you leave home. Or get a GPS device. Or pull up a map on your phone. Or, god forbid, actually call the store and ask for directions.

    That IKEA store is one of the most popular destinations in Portland - and thousands of people figure it out all the time. (And no, they're not all from Portland.)

    Jesus, is this really what this blog needs? Whining about how someone can't use a map or plan ahead?

  • Greg D. (unverified)
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    Is it true that IKEA means "particle board" in Swedish?

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    I'm one of those SE Portland, hybrid driving, commie pinko enviro, organic buying, anti-growth, feminist, queer, freakie mamas and I swear...Leonard, get a life. Everytime we drive past the sign, my kids yell, at the top of their lungs, IKEA!!! So happy are they to think of the play areas, the primary-colored furniture, and the gummy mac and cheese. Move on.

  • Garage Wine (unverified)
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    Signs are the third rail of Portland politics.

    Vera Katz joined the wingnuts when she fought signs with the argument that she didn't want Portland to look like Las Vegas.

    Only now it does look like Las Vegas: Empty condo projects and developers wandering around hat-in-hand.

  • Anon (unverified)
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    More and more, Portland city politics is reminding me of a dysfunctional high school student council: lots of bickering over virtually meaningless issues.

    I'll resist a crack at the expense of the Mayor, however, as it would be too easy.

  • Zune (unverified)
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    Portland city politics is completely run by Progressives and it's a fucking joke. It's like watching professional wrestling. It's the politics of absolute stupidity.

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    If you can't find Ikea, you're probably not going to have a lot of luck putting together a bookshelf either. The point of this post -- a look back at what Randy Leonard had to say two years ago about the IKEA sign -- was to contrast the comments with his total circumvention of the Historic Landmarks Commission process for the neon rose for the John Yeon building.

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    I don't find the comparison particularly apt, Charlie. IKEA is primarily concerned with IKEA, and the site of interest was a private retail sign on private property. The rose is public, on public property, considered and placed by an entity ostensibly primarily concerned with what's beat for the city. There's no accountability for the citizen regarding IKEA's sign, save City Council. However there IS accountability for the rose, in the for of representative democracy.

    Why is the rose so offensive?

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    TJ, it's apt because Randy makes a great point (circa 2007) that no matter how much political power you have, you should have to follow the same guidelines as everyone else. There's a process for putting a neon rose thingy atop a building, but in this case, Randy used his political power to avoid the same hoops that others would have to go through to do something similiar.

    Frankly, the fact that the old McCall's restaurant building is public makes the Historic Landmarks Commission more relevant, not less. Doesn't this site deserve a little more care than the view from I-205 heading from the airport?

    I am certainly not the most process-oriented person around. I think we sometimes overdo it in Portland frankly, but situations like this give me a greater appreciation for the link between a reasonable public process and smart design.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    "Why is the rose so offensive?"

    Because it is another example of how those in charge or who have the recource are shoving and force feeding it down our throats whether we like it or not and challenging us to fight them in court over it when they know we can't. It's the same theme with those who are changing street names, tearing down arenas, processing the 'green aganda' and changing historical signs. they are telling us all "Just shut up and live with it"

    And all because it is labled "a good idea".

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    Charlie, my point is that the guidelines are predominantly there to reflect a public interest regarding private action on private property--because failing that, there's no recourse for a sign that literally covers a city block (to be extreme).

    That's not the case here--there is recourse available here, in the form of accountable public officials. So as I say, there isn't much paralell at all between IKEA and the McCall building. I disagree that the landmarks role is more important; in essence it's a public redundancy.

    Eric, your answer reflects your offense taken to the process, which was not my question. I think the potential offense of a huge and tall IKEA sign is fairly evident. What is it that makes the sign in question offensive? And if there's no real answer to that, why are we making a fuss?

  • joel dan walls (unverified)
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    torridjoe sez: there is recourse available here, in the form of accountable public officials.

    BWAHAHAHAHA!! "Accountable public officials" is supposed to include Randy Leonard? Spare me. The man misses no opportunity to let the little people know that his superior intellect trumps their petty concerns. Much as I dislike the present referendum system, I'd love to see a referendum on Leonard's latest pet project: the public subsidies for Paulson and the related, uh, creative financing schemes.

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    I propose we take down the damn IKEA sign and put up the Made in Oregon sign. See problem solved. Whoops, wrong location.

    snark

  • Jennifer Bates (unverified)
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    My fav City quote was Dan Saltzman, during the Reed College garden negotiations, "It's not like this is about peoples' food. I mean, there's DHS if you're hungry. This is for hobbyists".

    <h2>Reminds me of this one. In both cases, the City appears to be there as a broker, but is really playing "good cop, bad cop" with you, along side the commercial interest. They do deserve some credit. I couldn't do it and keep a straight face</h2>

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