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letters - June 16, 2011

Hey, who took our garage sale signs?

While moving back into our home in West Linn we found that we had enough surplus goods to justify holding a 'garage sale.'

Following the pattern of one that we held several years ago we advertised in the same newspaper and, when the time arrived, posted the same signs in the same place. Those signs were not located in the public right of way and were well back from the sidewalk (about 10 feet).

Initially the sale went well, then we noticed a puzzling and abrupt reduction, almost a complete cessation, of customers. At the end of the sale we learned the cause. Someone had taken our signs without our permission or notification!

The next day I felt it necessary to stay with the signs to ensure that they were not again taken without notice. I, together with a grandson, spend an entire morning doing just that.

Upon enquiry we found that in our absence an ordinance had been passed controlling garage sales and that the city had hired someone to enforce it.

The business of government is to protect a citizen in his endeavors, not harass him. I resent not only the harassment, but that my tax dollars had been diverted to pay someone to do just that. In the Lincoln-Douglass debates a statement was made with which I fully agree. It is: 'oppressive governments do not give security and order to society.'

Richard L. Hallilday

West Linn

(Editor's note: According to West Linn City Manager Chris Jordan, the city of West Linn regulates signage.

'Cities regulate signage for both safety reasons and to maintain or improve the community's aesthetics. Because cities cannot regulate the content of a sign due to everyone's First Amendment right to free speech, cities are only able to regulate based upon the time, place and manner of signage,' Jordan said.

He continued,'Therefore, signs advertising garage sales must be regulated, and enforced, in the same manner as any other signage in the city.

For additional information about the sign code for garage sales, citizens should refer to the city's website at http://westlinnoregon.gov

/planning/garage-sales.)