By Don Iler • News Editor • 

Signs sprout as spring election nears

While many residents view posting a political sign supporting one candidate or another as a exercise of their right of free speech, their neighbors aren’t always enamored with the idea. So the state and most of its cities and counties have estalished rules on size, number, placement and duration of posting.

The Oregon Department of Transportation holds sway on state highways. It has developed a set of rules for both permanent and temporary signs, with political signs typically falling under the temporary category

It does not allow signs within highway right of way, according to Jill Hendrickson. She said they must be placed on private property and accessed from private property.

ODOT may remove improperly placed signs and notify their owners to pick them up, she said.

Temporary signs may not encompass more than 12 square feet or be posted for more than 60 days at a time unless an exemption is obtained. Exemptions can be granted for signs of up to 32 square feet or posting for up to 90 days.

Hendrickson said enforcement is largely complaint-driven, and most of the complaints are lodged anonymously. She said the agency can lodge fines of up to $1,000 a day for particularly flagrant violations.

Yamhill County and its various municipalities maintain their own regulations, all of which prohibit signs in public right of way.

Yamhill County allows signs to remain up only one week after the election.

In residential zones, temporary signs are allowed from six weeks before an election and two weeks after. They may not exceed six square feet in area or 30 inches in height.

In commercial and industrial zones, signs may range up to as much as 16 square feet. 

In Lafeyette, signs may not exceed 16 square feet and must be removed within a week after the election. Dundee only allows one temporary sign per parcel and limits posting to 90 days.



If this is the case in Yamhill County, why are there so many Mary Starrett signs that are clearly in the right-of-way?

paperclip would think a candidate for County Commissioner would know the law and obey it.


Maybe it's a bogus law that infringes on the property owner's freedom to express their political views...and maybe the cities, county, and ODOT don't care to fight a battle they'd likely lose.


Whoa Looey, are you saying that if a candidate (in this case Mary Starrett) decides that a law is bogus then they simply don't have to obey it? She might want to think ahead about the oath of office she would be taking whereby she swears to uphold the law as an elected official. A property owner does have a right to express their views on their property, not in the right-of-way.


Interesting ...... "scanner" and "paperclip" set up a straw-man setting and then "sunrise" puts the dagger in. Aren't politics exciting !!!


For most campaigners, signs on public property aren't a matter of deliberately flouting the law; but more likely the result of over-zealous volunteers who are unclear of where the lines are. The boundaries of public rights-of-way are not always easy to determine. You might be surprised to find out how far into your own yard the public right-of-way extends. Looey is just plain wrong; these battles have been waged and decided many times. Fortunately, most public jurisdictions handle minor violations with reasonable tact; usually a phone call. But, as kona suggests, campaigns do get people excited.


“…..campaigns do get people excited.”

You make a great point, Spongebob. We can be sure that the candidates aren’t out there planting all those signs themselves. Still, the rules for locating signs ought to be obeyed and it does not reflect well on the candidate when boundaries are blatantly overstepped. I consider those huge improperly-placed signs to be offensive (sometimes dangerous) and while that is certainly not a major criteria that influences my vote, it is something to consider. It feels like the candidate needs to shout at us to compensate for his/her lack of actual substance. Further, (in this voter’s opinion) the huge “loud” signs tend to reflect poorly on the smaller ones that are planted around them as well. Guilt by association.

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