15 July 2009

Sign Safari: New Blades on outer Tibbetts and Taggart, And A Couple of Oddities

2145.We went on sign safari again today, and came up with some goodies, from one end of the east side to the other. New Street blades, with the new Clearview font, show how the new Portland street blade look is shaping up. We have a couple of oddities as well, one which proves an assumption we made earlier.

Not long ago, I don't remember why, I had an occasion to be along SE 162nd between Division and Powell, and caught a glimpse of the new blades in passing. Went back today, and here's what we got:

Zooming in for a nice, close look, we find that while the numbered avenue still seems to use the old-style glyphs:

… the named blade uses the new Clearview type (this is also kind of evident in the photo above):

The tracking amongst all the letters is rather appropriate, and nothing in the positioning of the glyps looks forced or awkward at all.

The ironic thing about this was, I had forgotten the name of the street, confusing it with another T-named street nearby – Tibbetts. I told The Wife™ we were going out to 162nd and Tibbetts to see the new blades. She wanted to do a little neighborhood cruising and we found our way to Tibbetts. What should we find at SE 167th Avenue and Tibbetts Street, of all things, but this:

Another catch! In constrast to the last blade set, whereas the blade for SE Tibbetts Street is in Clearview:

So, also is the numbered avenue blade:

The downstroke to the 7 is the dead giveaway where, but the subtle curves and tapers on all the glyphs should be obvious to students of the form.

This is additionally notable because it's the first one which is solidly away from any main thoroughfare. SE 167th and Tibbetts is in a sleepy corner of a remote SE neighborhood, which is still very charming, with mid 20th Century ranch-style houses and gently curving streets. Very pleasant area overall.

In the area, we also found an oddity. Street blades have been appearing on very narrow streets serving infill housing on greatly subdivided lots; these seem to typically be green glyphs on a white background, opposite the Portland standard. Given the look of the property this following street stub serves, we're pretty sure that these signs denote privately-maintained streets whose developers arranged to be integrated into the address grid for purposes of ease of location. This sign was seen along SE 162nd Avenue, between (as you might expect) Division and Stark Streets:

At least two notable differences are immediately apparent here. First of all, unlike any other sign of this type, the specific (HAWTHORNE) is larger than both the directional (SE) as well as the generic (CT). Situate as it is, we can safely assume that it was named as an extension to SE Hawthorne Blvd (it's the county standard to do things this way). Secondly, the post on which the single blade is mounted is not the round metal pipe, but rather more of a fence-post which is square in cross-section. Also, as you can tell by this photo:

It's built rather lowe to the ground. The city doesn't seem to mount blades this low without some sort of reason, which is usually apparent from the surroundings. There's no real reason to put the sign down this low – as a matter of fact, a taller pole would actually make it more visible. Also, something about the location of that sign within a private front-yard fence line strongly suggests that this is a private installation.

To close out this safari, how about something you may not have known: you're aware that any numbered street (except in Linnton) is an Avenue. How about one that's a Boulevard? For a while now, the section of NE 122nd Avenue north of Sandy, through Airport Way to Marine Drive, has been designated as such:

This blade is at the corner of NE 122nd and Marine Drive, but has been marked "NE 122nd Blvd". No apparent reason for this except, we guess, that 122nd north of Sandy very wide, high-capacity road serving the industrial flatland. However, though the signs along most of this stretch have it as Blvd, new signs going in at 122nd and Airport Way now denote 122nd Avenue, so maybe that designation is reverting.

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