New street signs are aimed at helping people explore Forest Grove's sights

Over the past couple of weeks, something besides daffodils has been sprouting up in Forest Grove.

Ten new 'wayfinder' signs, aimed at helping visitors and newcomers get around town, have been placed at strategic intersections, directing people to downtown, Pacific University, Forest Grove High School, historic districts and other destinations.

City Manager Michael Sykes said one of the city's key economic development goals has been to promote tourism opportunities. Yet visitors complained that poor directional signs made it difficult to find their way around the community.

'Most of our signage directed travelers to McMinnville, the coast, or out of town,' Sykes said. 'That isn't exactly a good way of trying to encourage tourists to stop in Forest Grove.'

Signs funded with grant money

The signs were funded by a Washington County Visitors Association grant and designed and developed by a committee which included several city employees as well as Mary Jo Morelli, of the City Club; Lois Hornberger, from Pacific University; Pat Truax, of Valley Art Association; and Teri Koerner, of the Forest Grove Chamber of Commerce.

Sykes commended the committee for its hard work and noted that more is on the way: Over the next couple of months, he said, the city will be placing information kiosks around the community. One kiosk will be located downtown and another will be placed by the Lincoln Park athletic complex. A kiosk will also be located at the corner of 18th Avenue and Main Street to identify the Historic Districts and a final kiosk will be located near Fern Hill Wetlands.

Sykes said the kiosks will help local residents and tourists learn more about existing businesses and other local attractions.

The signs are part of a broader effort at boosting tourism and sustaining local businesses, Sykes said. He noted that one of the reasons the city council authorized moving the Farmers Market to Main Street a few years ago was to help draw locals and tourists into the heart of our community. And, he added, the Main Course, a celebration of local wine and food, scheduled for July 9, is another event aimed at encouraging more folks to shop and dine downtown.

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