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Portland To Charge Marketers For Featuring Iconic Sign

The city of Portland is asking businesses that use the iconic “Portland, Oregon” sign to pay a licensing fee.

Sloan Chambers/OPB

Since it was installed in 1940, the sign at the west end of the Burnside bridge has promoted many companies, from the original White Satin Sugar to White Stag clothing.  

City spokeswoman Abby Coppock says Portland took ownership of the sign in 2010 at a cost of about $2,000 a month in electricity and maintenance. 

“Any fees that we recover are going toward recouping the costs of operating the sign,” she said.

She said people can still take pictures of the sign and it can be used for free in films and for artwork. But if the image is used for marketing or promotion, then a business will have to pay. For a small business it’s $100. For a larger one, it’s $1,100. 

Coppock says the city will reach-out to businesses to enforce the license.

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