Illegal garage sale signs get hook from city

Sean C. Morgan

Sweet Home Code Enforcement Officer Mike Remesnik has a pile of garage sale signs piled up on a table inside city hall.

As of July 27, Remesnik had pulled down signs for 53 garage sales, and his supervisor, Community Development Director Carol Lewis, had removed another dozen.

“I had one (sale) that had 25 signs,” Remesnik said.

He hadn’t seen any signs in the middle of last week, he said, “but they’ll be up tomorrow (Thursday).”

The city of Sweet Home prohibits garage sale signs, band signs and other flyers in the public right-of-way on power poles, trash cans and other objects.

Every Thursday and Friday, Remesnik pulls the signs down, locates the owner and explains the rules, he said. If he sees signs while out and about the rest of the week, he pulls them down.

“The town is looking beautiful,” he said. “It really makes a difference.”

But concern over aesthetics is not the main reason the city prohibits the signs, he said.

“The reason we do it is they don’t pick them up.”

Long after the garage sale is over, the signs will remain, Remesnik said, so the opportunity to put the signs in the public right-of-way has been lost.

“I’m still finding some where people have had them in June where I just hadn’t noticed because I wasn’t in that part of town,” Remesnik said.

Signs are permitted on private property with the property owner’s permission as long as they are picked up after the event, Remesnik said. The community also has a kiosk located at Les Schwab Tire Center, near the intersection of 18th and Long, that is specifically intended for garage sale signs.

“It’s maintained, and there’s a garbage can there,” Remesnik said. The smart garage sale shoppers visit the kiosk, write down the addresses and then head for the garage sales.

Persons illegally placing signs can be cited for violating the city ordinance, Remesnik said. The maximum fine is $50, though so far the city has not been citing people for the offense.

The Oregon Jamboree puts signs on poles around town to direct visitors prior to the festival, but the Jamboree obtained the permission of the City Council and Pacific Power, Remesnik said.