Oregon may be revising part of the city’s sign code to allow electronic changeable copy for businesses.
Oregon Mayor Mike Seferian said at a recent council meeting that he’s received many requests from businesses seeking changes in the sign code dealing with changeable copy.
“The trend nowadays is that signs are LED enhanced, or lit with LED lights,” said Seferian. “We want a starting point to get this into action, so we would actually look forward to seeing council put this into committee so it could be discussed thoroughly so people could be comfortable with the final product. But we do think it’s something needed for our sign code because it seems to be a little antiquated without it.”
Building Commissioner Jim Gilmore said the city allows 60 percent of a free-standing sign to be changeable copy.
“This is an ordinance to allow electronic changeable copy that would probably take the place of the backlit manually placed letters on a board,” he said. “So we’re not increasing the changeable copy, only the manner in which it could be presented.”
The proposal would not change the percentage of changeable copy on a sign, Gilmore said after the meeting. “There would be the same amount of changeable copy, but just have it by electronic means – you could type it into a computer and it would appear on LED lights. It’s very time consuming for businesses to change those letters. This would allow them to change copy more quickly if they’re having a sale
The same rules remain in effect regarding moving copy, he said.
“The current proposal as it stands is that you could change the copy every 10 minutes. The theory behind that is we don’t want to distract traffic by several changes in a minute,” said Gilmore.
Some communities, such as Toledo, allow moving slogans, which are prohibited in Oregon, said Gilmore.
“We wouldn’t allow any of that. It would just be a message that could stay up there at least 10 minutes,” he said.
“Businesses, of course, want a more relaxed sign code. Their theory is the more signage, the better advertisement they have. So we’re always trying to seek a middle ground where regular folks aren’t plastered with signage, and yet business owners have adequate advertisement. It’s a small change, but council takes signage very seriously,” said Gilmore.
Council referred the matter to the city’s Economic Development and Planning Committee. Councilman Jerry Peach, chairman of the committee, cautioned council against making changes that could potentially distract motorists.
“I will remind council of the sign regulations in the last revision prior to 2008, which identified the purpose of regulations to prohibit the use of signs which may be distracting or create visual clutter or deter the aesthetic quality of the community,” said Peach. “I don’t think the electronic means, especially LEDs, are automatically interchangeable with the type of backlit text. There are some significant differences.”