1358. Update, 1330 on 2008-02-13: I see someone has posted this on OLive's Oregon Reddit! This is a first for me ... thanks whoever did that. Skookum!
While on the way down to Milwaukie today to check out some information me and The Wife™ had, we had occasion to go down SE Flavel Street in order to get there via SE 52nd Ave, Harney Dr, Johnson Creek Blvd, and SE 32nd Ave. On the stretch of Flavel between 72nd and 60th I caught a most unusual street blade, but we weren't able to get a pic on the way there. On the way back, I did though:
The segment of SE 63rd Ave going south from Flavel Street is a very short, very narrow dead-end. It serves seven or eight houses of very recent design (very infill-y), and by the construction of the street, it looks very much as though it was privately-built and is probably privately-maintained, and specifically designed to serve the handful of infill-houses that it serves.
To the both the practiced and the novice blade-spotter, there is nothing unobvious about the differences in this sign:
- Standard city street blades are white type on green. This is green on white.
- The standard format for the generic on a numbered avenue (the part that says "AVE" here) is the same size as the rest of the type (save the ordinal on the number) and only two letters ("AV"). On this sign, the generic is the same size as the generic on named streets. By what seems to be the Portland standard, this is a style sheet more appropriate to a named street.
- Despite the differences, though, the font looks to be an MUTCD-approved one, and appears, in fact to be identical to the one used on standard Portland blade.
We suspect that this is a privately-built and maintained street for two main reasons: the design of the street itself, which is clearly different from the street it connects to; and the reverse-color of the blade. There is local precedent for this; in Clark County, particularly, the blade color scheme of private roads which get official street names is notably different, being dark type and light background rather than the standard light type on dark background (they also bear the legend PRIVATE DRIVE so as to remove every confusion).
There is nothing that says that a private road can't have an official, 911- and Post-Office-licious and compliant street name. It makes a great deal of sense for navigation and dispatch of emergency and law-enforcment services, since a grid-based address system allows for quick location of any address point on a map without first having to know which roads connect in. Once the spot is located, presumably, the route to get there should be self-evident.
But so far as we can determine, this is the only blade if its type in Portland – indeed, in the three-county area, where private roads don't usually get named.
And, just to preserve a moment in time, here's a little of middle-south-SE Portland, Flavel Street looking westbound from 63rd. That light in the distance is the blinking light over SE 60th and Flavel.
People call this area (unfairly, I think) Felony Flats. McArthur records it as Errol Heights, because it's at the top of the hill overlooking a locality once known as Errol, which was a station on the Oregon Electric line that once ran where the Springwater Corridor Trail does now right about where Johnson Creek Blvd crosses its eponymous stream. Latterly, in the era of modern Portland neighborhoods, they call it Brentwood-Darlington.
There are some cool people in this area, and some who are a little scary, but if you really look, you'll find that the area you live in might have the same sorts of people.
There is also a Vietnamese Buddhist monk along the north side of Flavel about a quarter-mile east of this point. Like I said, cool people.