I hate the illegal signs that have sprouted all over Salem on the public right of way.
But today I, and some unknown other Fighter Against Urban Ugliness, struck blows against one of the worst offenders -- Kelly's Home Center.
Turning from River Road into Minto Brown Island Park to exercise in the early afternoon, I saw three Kelly's "Big Sale" signs between the road and railroad tracks. This is one of them.
Wanting to do my Streetstrider (outdoor elliptical bike) ride first, after I was done I vowed to walk from Parking Lot 1 up to the road and uproot the signs.
This, I've heard, is totally legal -- and a public service -- since the City of Salem Code Enforcement folks aren't able to enforce the sign ordinance due to budget cuts.
Uprooting a sign(s) and leaving it on the ground reportedly is the legally preferred way to go. Personally, I view illegal signs as litter, just as a plastic bottle or soft drink can on the public right of way would be. So I don't see why removing a sign would be a problem.
But I was planning to do the "uproot and leave" thing, even though I was worried that Kelly's would just put the signs somewhere else.
Well, it turned out that in the hour or so I was riding my Streetstrider, someone else had taken the Kelly's signs down. Way to go, guy or gal!
I was a bit disappointed, though, having wanted to make my own anti-sign statement. So I picked up one of the signs, stuck it in the bark for a few seconds, then pulled it out and laid it back on the ground.
It felt good. I wanted to take a public stand against the Sign Blight that has spread through Salem. We don't have to put up with this crap. Uproot and leave. Or, uproot and throw away, if you agree that the signs are litter.
I'm not talking about temporary signs like those plugging yard sales or Christmas trees. These aren't objectionable, so long as they're taken down promptly.
What bugs me -- and many others -- are commercial signs by businesses and other organizations in the public right of way (if they're attached to the front of a utility pole, this usually means the sign is illegal, since the poles are placed on the boundary of the right of way).
I enjoyed taking down the Kelly's sign, even though it was a symbolic action, given that someone else had already done the deed. I had to take a selfie to commemorate my act of citizen activism.
I hope Kelly's Home Center realizes that whenever my wife and I see a Kelly's sign on the right of way, our interest in buying more stuff from them takes a hit (we've had good experiences with Kelly's salespeople, but their marketing department is hurting the Kelly's image with their irritating illegal signs).
I'm going to email Kelly's Home Center a link to this post. So here's a message to Kelly's management:
If I see that the signs have been put back up, I'm going to take them down again. After that, if the signs have been replaced a second time, I'm going to take them home. If you want them back, email me.
At some point I'll find some time to let you know where they are. But I'm a busy guy, so I might not be able to do this for, oh, a few months. Or longer.
While you're waiting to get your signs back, I suggest that you consider a radical idea: read the City of Salem sign ordinance! And follow the law.
900.100. Signs Installed Over or Within the Right-of-Way. No sign shall be erected over or within the public right-of-way unless the placement of the sign is first approved by the governmental unit having jurisdiction over the right-of-way. (Ord No. 4-12)