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Old Town is back to blue

Council discusses moving fixtures to cannery site.

The blues are back - for now.

Sherwood will keep its controversial blue street fixtures for the foreseeable future, as council decided June 20 to informally rescind its May resolution to paint the lamps, benches, trashcans and bike racks black. Painting the fixtures would have cost $50,000.

Council members - even those who voted to go back to black - seemed somewhat relieved to move on after two months of debate over the fixtures in the Old Town area, which is in the midst of a three-phase redevelopment project. Still, the decision did not come without debate, and Mayor Keith Mays, the deciding vote in the initial decision to paint the posts black, made his feelings clear.

'I still don't like them,' he said as he ended the debate.

Council member Dave Grant told the board that he spoke extensively with the companies that supplied the fixtures, and was unable to secure an estimate as to how much more durable the original blue powder coating would be than a black coat of paint that would cover it. The powder coating was used specifically because it is more durable.

While both paint jobs come with a five-year warranty, Grant said everyone he spoke to agreed that when the black suffered scratches, the blue would show through.

Councilmen Dan King and Dave Heironimus suggested that council might be able to achieve a 'win-win' situation for everyone by moving the blue lampposts to the cannery site when it is redeveloped, and replacing the current fixtures with black.

Grant and council President Dennis Durrell took exception to the idea, pointing out that council and the public had talked in the past about establishing continuity between the appearance of the new and old section of downtown Sherwood.

'I would think that distinction is the opposite of what we want,' Grant said.

Durrell added, 'If the blue is ugly in Old Town, why won't the blue be ugly at the cannery?'

Heironimus said he thought it wasn't an issue of the blue being ugly, just mismatched with the buildings in Old Town. He said the developer that ultimately builds on the cannery site would know ahead of time about the blue fixtures, and could plan accordingly.

In the end, council told staff not to act on its previous directive to paint the fixtures black, and decided to discuss the relocation of the blue fixtures when it discusses plans for the cannery sometime later in the year.