City cracking down on its sign law

Nic Miles, the code compliance officer with the McMinnville Planning Department, said he will contact local business owners after Thanksgiving if their signs violate the city’s sign law.

Miles’ actions have nothing to do with recent city council discussions about large pole signs and billboards. Rather, he said, he will be addressing all signs that are out of compliance.

Many business signs don’t follow the law, but Miles said there’s a difference between “non-conforming” and “non-compliant” signs.

Non-conforming signs were installed prior to the sign law, and city officials have created a program to help business owners bring these signs into compliance with permits and improvements.

Miles said non-compliant signs are different. They were installed after the law went into effect.

Examples include multiple flag signs posted into the ground and temporary signs that no longer seem all that temporary.

Political signs, in particular, can only stay posted for 14 days following the election.

Miles said the end of the campaign season provides the code compliance team an opportunity to talk to property owners about all non-compliant signs.

“We’ve fielded several calls regarding the sign-cluttered state of some properties around town, and it has been our goal since early spring to work our way through the various locations where non-compliant signs are present,” Niles said in the press release.

Team members will contact property owners directly between Nov. 26 and 30, especially in high-volume areas, and provide them with timelines to correct any problems.

“They’ll work with property owners to assure that signs are either relocated to a permitted area on the property, or removed if non-compliant,” Miles said.

City officials hope to have all sign problems resolved by the end of the year.

“Our sign ordinances exist for a number of reasons,” Planning Director Heather Richards said in the same press release. “Sign ordinances establish guidelines and procedures designed to enhance the health, safety and visual environment of the community while still permitting adequate visual communication through the use of signage.”

Miles said he realizes the city law may surprise some property owners — especially for people who have had their signs up for months or years.

“Our goal is to help folks understand the language of the code so they can prosper as well as maintain the attractiveness of our community,” he said.

For more information, call 503-434-7305.



It’s crazy to me that this City can be concerned about signs when they can’t get rid of the derelict’s and the garbage around the city. I think there is way more important fish to fry than signs. I’m still trying to figure out how signs are bad for my health according to our City Planner.


I'm probably violating some city laws as I sit here typing this.


They're fiddling while Rome burns.


So they should ignore the ordinance?.....


There are plenty of ordinances in existence; the problem is actual proactive effective enforcement! I really don't care about abolishing the use of plastic bags. What I do care about is folks not complying with ordinances regarding trash buildup in back yards, conducting business from their driveways which are loaded with furniture, trash, appliances, lumber....while their vehicles block sidewalks. All this in an R-1 residential area! If I were to put my home on the market, wouldn't my house value be negatively affected by the eyesore next door? I believe it would be! How about Code Enforcement/Compliance addressing some of those issues instead of going after feel-good slam-dunk "violations"?


Hi JPK, if I were you I would call down to the planning department and let the code compliance officers know about the properties you are referring to so they can go check them out and see about getting them cleaned up

Mac Native 66

denimdan and JPK, don't even waste your time calling about your next door neighbor's junk. They can't even enforce the One Day, Once a Year Garage Sales ordnance.
Jim, signs aren't bad for our health, BUT plastic bags are.
JPK, It would be better to charge a dollar for every plastic bag used, the a nickle for the recyclable paper bag, is an illegal tax on all citizens living outside of the city limits of McMinnville. There's 80 million tons of plastic in the oceans now, because we rely so much on foreign oil.


Whether anyone likes it or not, McMinnville and the surrounding area are headed for a tourist economy. This means people are coming here. People with nice houses and nice cars who live in nice neighborhoods. People with money who want to spend it in charming, attractive, clean, well-maintained places.

When we don’t give a crap about mildew-streaked plastic signs, dilapidated storefronts, overhead utilities, junk-strewn houses and stuff like that, we’re just another tacky little Oregon town with no style and a few wineries.

I realize I just described paradise to a good number of local folks but, thankfully, some recognize the need to pursue a more tasteful and first-world presentation.


Trafik Third Street is not the only game in town. This city has grown way to fast for the infrastructure that is in place. Lafayette Avenue is a mess twice a day and 99w is crazy most of the day. More tourists means more cars and more traffic. Our local businesses that are not on Third Street pay taxes and contribute to the city. We need better roads,more police officers,more fireman and less derelict’s before we need more tourists. Let’s enforce the codes for junk cars and garbage piles on city lots before we worry about some sign ordinance. Slow down this out of control growth and make this city what it once was a nice quiet beautiful city.


I agree with nearly everything you say, Jim, but I don’t believe slowing down so-called out-of-control growth is an attainable goal. The tourists are coming regardless of whether we have adequate infrastructure or greater numbers of public safety personnel in place.

The solution lies with addressing your concerns while acknowledging and accepting tourism as a crucial part of our local economy. I firmly agree that enforcement of existing codes — including aesthetic guidelines like the sign ordinance — is necessary to achieve a balance between sensible growth and preserving the considerable charm of our community.

As to street gridlock, I’ve made my thoughts on local driving known before. Even with improved traffic infrastructure, I don’t have a lot of hope for the timid, unskilled drivers I encounter here. I think we’ll be stuck with unnecessary and ridiculous congestion for at least a generation and, for that, I blame general Oregon driving more than tourism.


What a great slogan: Less Derelict's!


Trafik you might have used a word that makes more sense about tourism than most folks in this community. Crucial isn’t perfect but it’s better than saying our whole economy depends on tourism. There are way more parts to our county than grapes. As far as driving in this town I won’t take it any farther than I myself am far from being timid or unskilled as a driver.

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