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Posting signs in the public right of way

Editor's note: Every week a Lake Oswego police officer answers your questions in this space. Please send your questions to reporter Cliff Newell at cnewell@lakeoswegoreview.com or call 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

"What are the rules regarding garage sale signs or putting any type of sign in the right of way?"

While temporary signs are allowed in the city of Lake Oswego, the key term to keep in mind is “public right of way.” Any sign in Lake Oswego that is found to be within the public right of way will be removed from that location. Any garage sale signs that are posted in the public right of way will be removed. These signs are only allowed to be posted on private property. As you read this you may be asking yourself: “What is the public right of way?”

The public right of way is defined as “a strip of land that is granted, through an easement or other mechanism, for transportation purposes, such as for a trail, driveway, rail line or highway.”

The best way to judge if your sign is within the public right of way is to use the city land markers located along each street. For example, these markers can be telephone poles, light poles, trees or utility poles. Signs that are behind these types of markers are not within the public right of way, and will not be removed. However, signs that are in front of or attached to these types of public markers will be removed.ROGERSON

Before you plant your sign, ask yourself: “Is my sign behind one of these city markers?” If not, you can expect one of the Lake Oswego officers to remove your sign from the area. You should also ensure that your sign is well maintained, not flashing or illuminated and not obstructing the vision of motorists and pedestrians. Signs should also not obstruct or obscure primary signs on adjacent premises. Lastly, you must make sure that it is not a sign directing citizens to a sale of any type.

If you find that one of your signs has been removed because it was posted in the public right of way, you can pay a $35 retrieval fee and reclaim your sign. Each sign pulled is stored in a safe location for a total of 30 days. However, garage sale signs are not stored at any location, and will be disposed of. You can contact the Lake Oswego Police Department’s nonemergency number if you would like to reclaim one of your signs.

Please remember the Lake Oswego Police Department respects each person’s right to advertise within the city. We appreciate your support and compliance with this city ordinance.

— Officer Kyle Rogerson

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