The banner hanging across Third Street on the east end of town last week promoting POW/MIA day in Prineville will be the last banner allowed over the street. Neil Mortenson, area manager for Pacific Power notified County Judge Scott Cooper and Prineville Mayor Steve Uffelman of that decision on Sept. 11.
>After a truck snagged the banner promoting POW/ MIA day, Pacific Power officials decide no longer to allow banners to hang from their poles and wires
For many years, Mortenson pointed out in a letter to the mayor, the power company has allowed and even assisted in the hanging of banners from PP&L poles. For some time, though, the company has been thinking about a more permanent site for banners. A centralized place that would improve the visibility of the banners used to promote local events. The goal, Mortenson averred, was to better protect the power poles from damage.
"On Friday of last week," Mortenson wrote in his letter, "a local electrician installed a banner on our facilities at Third and Holly streets. Third and Holly is the site of a permanent installation where our crews have often installed banners. The end result was that a large truck snagged the banner Monday (Sept. 10) night, snapping the support ropes holding the banner up."
Following what Mortenson described as a "near disaster" the decision was made no longer to provide the opportunity to attach banners to any power company poles or wires.
"I realize promotional activities are important for the success of local activities, but a more suitable location must be identified," he said, adding that "the decision is for the safety of the community and our facilities."
Prineville is the only city in central Oregon region, Mortenson explained, and one of a very few in the power company's entire service territory, where banners were allowed to hang from wire strung between poles.
Prineville needs a dedicated area to place banners, Mortenson believes and he has offered to provide poles, wire and labor and recommended the site should be in the "Y" area at the west end of town.
"Unfortunately," he said, "ODOT officials shot down the idea, ordering that 'nothing would be placed' in that area."
Recognizing that his decision will be unpopular, the company manager made it clear to the city and county officials that it is the potential hazard to the public that prompted it.