The city's Historic Landmarks Commission
today unanimously rejected the University of Oregon's proposal
to change the "Made in Oregon" sign on the west bank of the Willamette River, despite Commissioner Randy Leonard's campaign on behalf of the city this spring
to strike a compromise deal
with the university (pictured above)
on the sign's wording.
Leonard was not immediately available for comment on the commission's rejection of the "Made in Oregon" compromise.
The proposal that went before the commission this afternoon also included an application to alter the water tower next to the "Made in Oregon" sign, which sits on top of the White Stag building
where the university has its Portland campus. That aspect of the university's plan called for putting neon yellow "O"s on the 100-year-old tower. And it was that idea that caused the most concern among commissioners,
according to Carrie Richter, a member of the landmarks group.
The "no" vote this afternoon on the combined application for the "Made in Oregon" sign and the water tower is technically a tentative rejection. City staff had initially recommended the commission approve the application. Now that the commission has said it won't approve the application, staff must put their objections in writing. On July 27, the commission will take a formal vote on the matter. At that point, the university can appeal the decision directly to City Council.
A representative for the university was not immediately available for comment.
Update at 9:20 pm:
Leonard said his goal when negotiating the new wording for the "Made in Oregon" was to preserve "a civically neutral message that did not appeal to any partisan loyalties of Portlanders." If City Council hears an appeal from the university, he says he would not vote on the matter "given my personal involvement in negotiating the proposal that went before the Landmarks Commission."