'If you see something, say something'
Tri-Met encourages riders who "see something," to "say something." Those vague "somethings" are things suspicious or even ominous. On my travels in our neighborhoods — mostly on foot — I often see "somethings" that deserve "saying." What I'm seeing isn't dangerous or threatening, but, in the name of community, I believe the "somethings" deserve writing about. Many, I should add, are actually heartening. A lot of what I see are trees. In so many ways trees define where we live. They quietly sustain and shade us. So why do we criss-cross our views of trees with utility wires, utility poles, transformers and other aerial flotsam? For all kinds of reasons (several having to do with emergency preparedness — think "earthquakes" and "forest fires") this publicly franchised and private-utility-owned clutter should be undergrounded. It's possible as anyone who has been to Europe can attest. Hint: start undergrounding in commercial areas like Multnomah Village and Hillsdale. I suppose if you install a security system it's smart to signal to thieves that your home is protected by one, but do the thieves really need to know the brand of the security company? You and "your" security com
pany are using your property for advertising that intrudes into public space. Likewise contractors, roofers and plumbers working on your dwelling: Their signs in front of your house are advertising pure and simple and don't belong in our neighborhoods. In recent months the City itself has been violating its own sign code (vis City Code: 14A.50.070 Advertising on Streets.) with inscrutably worded signs reading "Twenty is Plenty." After seeing these bright orange signs ad nauseam, we have figured out what they mean. "Plenty?" Try "Enough already!" It's past time to remove them. By law they, like all other "bandit signs" in the public right-of-way, should never have gone up in the first place. (Note: gutter cleaners, soccer camps and employment agencies) There's also a code that says you can't park a vehicle in the public right-of-way for more than 24 hours without permission of the City Vis. City Code16.20.170." The regulation
includes utility and boat trailers and RVs. One parked behemoth RV in our neighborhood is so massive its model is actually branded "Land Yacht." It, and others like it, need to find their own yacht harbors...also known as an RV storage facilities. We all are regaled by billboards. While placed on private property they exploit our need to use public right-of-ways within eye-shot of them. Recently, apparently in the spirit of these coarse times, billboards have gone negative. Most notable are the ubiquitous "Greedy Mattress Stores" signs. When you go to the online advertised link, you discover the signs are brought to us by, you guessed it, a mattress company. You, dear customer, will pay for the cost of this commercial blight if you patronize these online enterprises. On my walks, I discover various appeals by private property owners to get dog lovers to clean up after their pets. One pleading sign reads, "Please be respectful" but then depicts the stylized silhouette of an arched-backed dog straining to relieve itself. The sign is nearly as offputting as the leavings. I'd be remiss not to mention the case of Ray, the cat. For weeks this summer our neighborhood has been repeatedly informed through homemade signs, that Ray is missing. I've owned a cat and I can imagine the
pain of having a furry friend escape never to return. But is this personal tragedy cause for a massive, home-grown advertising campaign? I suggest putting a notice on NextDoor (as Ray's owner also has done) and hope against hope that coyotes, who owned the neighborhood before we humans arrived, haven't "found" our beloved Rays and Fluffies first. Finally, there's "seeing something" good and "saying something" good about it. We are blessed with a lot to say, but so rarely say it. Here's an example. My walks take
me through Nicolai Woods. Here nearby neighbors bought a forested hillside from a would-be land speculator and transferred it to a non-profit land trust. The donors generously provided for public use of the ancient trail that passes along the forest. Thank you! Thanks too to the private property owner at the top of the trail who welcomes hikers through his garden. He has actually built an arched bower celebrating the trail's entrance. Thanks to all who preserve and enhance the beauty of this place we call home. If you see something, say something...like thanks!