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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

'Made in Oregon' Deal Won't Have to Wait

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Wed, Sep 15, 2010 at 12:52 PM

If it's Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and Rudolph's nose is shining atop the newly christened "Portland, Oregon" sign in Old Town, be sure to send some holiday wishes over to Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

Fritz—known as a stickler for process, as well as for minding the city's dollars and cents—declared her unabashed support this morning for a complicated sign-and-trade land transaction that soon will deliver the iconic sign into city control.

"I was not expecting to be able to support this," she said. But "I'm going to be able to support it because you've done a splendid job of protecting the taxpayers."

That shocked Commissioner Randy Leonard, who, with an assist from Mayor Sam Adams, had been driving the talks that led to the deal. Initially, the sign deal was only supposed to be introduced during this morning's meeting, with an actual vote coming later this month. But after Fritz got on board, Leonard added an "emergency" clause to the deal and brought it up for unanimous approval just before council adjourned.

By allowing work on the sign to start now, Leonard says he was told, the city's goal of pretty display in time for the holidays is all but assured.

"I was pleasantly surprised by Commissioner Fritz's willingness to support this," he said at the meeting before turning to her and adding: "The honor of turning the sign on this year will be yours."


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