10 April 2008

Oregon's endangered "Speed" Sign


One of the peculiar things I noticed about Oregon as soon as I crossed the border seven years ago was the speed limit signs. For some reason (that has been lost to history), the word "limit" was forbidden from Oregon's speed limit signs up until 2002.
Since then, whenever one of the old signs is damaged, it gets replaced by the same old sign used in the rest of the US, instead of our special Oregon "Speed" sign. I've noticed the new standard signs on the freeways around Portland.
The Oregon "Speed" sign has always been my reassurance that I was back home, crossing the Columbia after a long drive home through Washington, or on visits to the Idaho borderlands where I end up crossing between Ontario and Fruitland multiple times in one day.
I'm sure plenty of these old signs will be hanging around for awhile, there's still an old-school "Speed 30 Miles" sign, and a rotting old wooden "Broadway Bridge" directional in my neighborhood, it seems as long as they're not completely destroyed, the city isn't quick to replace signs.

4 comments:

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Don't forget the big, rectangular "Right turn permitted without stopping" signs you'll see where certain arterial or collector routes turn onto different streets to keep the traffic flow effiecency up.

Those are uniquely Oregon, as far as I know. I've never seen them anywhere else.

A few years ago, the Feds tried to extinct those, but were dissuaded from doing so, so we'll be happily seeing those stay round.

Rick Turoczy said...

The rumor about the lack of "limit" that I always heard from my born-and-bred Oregonian friends was that it had something to do with the way the laws were written.

According to the rumor, there were no actual specified "limits" to the rate at which you could travel (excepting physics, of course). Legally, you were allowed to travel at a "safe speed given the weather conditions."

Hence, "speed" indicators were the recommendation, but not the legal limit.

Dave said...

As far as "Right turn permitted without stopping," I've seen one of those back in my home city of Omaha, NE.

DARWIN said...

I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WAS A LAW THAT THE WORD LIMIT COULDN'T BE USED ON A SPEED SIGN IN OREGON. I WAS TOLD IT HAD TO DO WITH THE GOLDEN RULE FROM YEARS AGO WITH 55 MPH BEING THE SPEED, BUT A PERSON COULD GO AT A DIFFERENT SPEED ACCORDING TO WEATHER CONDITIONS. SO THE SPEED COULDN'T BE LIMITED. I'M EVIDENTLY WRONG BECAUSE I AM SEEING A LOT OF SPEED LIMIT SIGNS.