The bizarre tale of the “Made in Oregon” sign’s fate just keeps getting weirder. Truth be told, the Rogue Desk would rather eat glass than revisit this topic.
But time is not on our side. Only three weeks remain until the holiday season officially begins—when the sign’s owner traditionally turns on the red nose atop the leaping White Stag.
This year would mark the 50th anniversary of Rudolph in Portland. But Ramsay Signs President Darryl Paulsen turned off the sign in October, and it now appears possible the sign may stay dark during the holiday season.
Yet Paulsen isn’t the Rogue here. On behalf of all children and their kid-at-heart relatives, the Rogue Desk is singling out the University of Oregon for getting us into this mess.
We’ll admit it’s difficult to ascribe blame in this situation. But it was the U of O that last winter took steps to put its moniker on the sign. Most everyone knows how this ended. By September, the university said it was walking away from the sign.
Meantime, Paulsen says the university now owes him about $100,000 for the design work and permitting fees his company generated during the two-year period it worked with the university to change the sign. (UO won’t acknowledge the amount of the bill, saying only that it’s negotiating.)
Whatever the amount, we’re guessing it’s enough to turn any businessman into a Grinch in this rough economy.
“We are actively working with Daryl Paulson [sic] and Ramsay sign to come to an arrangement,” Jim Bean, UO senior vice president and provost, wrote in an email to WW.
Paulsen is more direct. “If they’re actively working on a solution, that’s good,” he says. “It will save them a lawsuit.”