A glaring waste

I've always thought the colored lights on the Morrison Bridge are a waste of money and energy. They serve no purpose other than to look pretty to the more Pollyanna-ish among the folks up in the West Hills. Given the disintegration of civic life in town, the light displays are more than a little ironic.

The lights were installed decades ago with private money. Nowadays, thanks to the former Multnomah County chair, Deadly Deborah, a nonprofit (executive director, $57,000 a year at last report) changes the colors by computer. The nonprofit charges a fee ($150 a day or $550 a week) to members of the public who order up which colors should be displayed, and the nonprofit gets to keep the money. Apparently anyone can sign up and have their colors splashed on the bridge by the spotlights (which to me have always been pretty crude and harsh).

Recently the county chair, Jessica Chevy Vega, had the brilliant idea to order the nonprofit to put up the colors of Israel for five nights. Which it did. The people who operate the bridge weren't comfortable with that, and I don't blame them.

“We are writing to request that in the future you refrain from using the bridges for any political displays that might cause moral offence [sic] to the operators working there, or which might cause them to feel unwelcome in their workplace, or which might make the bridges or the operators a target for political violence,” reads a letter sent by all 16 bridge operators Monday to the county board.

This request points up the stupidity of the whole message-lighting program. The county, which owns the bridge and the lights, can't discriminate based on content, even if the content might incite some nut to try to blow up the bridge.

What they really need to do is turn off the decorative lighting and leave it off. These are the same people who are always preaching about carbon emissions and climate change. Once in a while they also pop up and bleat about bird migration being disrupted by city lights. They ought to practice what they preach. 

Wasting energy, and public money to pay for it, should not be okay. They should have a big virtue-signaling event and turn the darn things off for good. The same for the decorative lights on the other bridges in town. Spend the money on cleaning up the utterly out-of-control graffiti all over Portland. And when Chevy Vega has an idea, somebody should have the job of talking her out of it. 


  1. How about Silver and Gold to represent smoking crack from a make-shift Aluminum pipe?

  2. Why would they practice what they preach? The point of yammering about climate change or birds or whatever is to gain control over others.

  3. This is not okay! Lots of people get mad about government entities refusing to display Pride flags and the like, but because they can't pick and choose due to the First Amendment, best to just leave it alone all together.

    If the bridge had been lit up with Palestinian colors, there would be no end of accusations of antisemitism.

  4. I travel the Hawthorn bridge each way several times a week. Once or twice a year I notice the colors. Can’t remember thinking about the colors for more than a few minutes.


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at jackbogsblog@comcast.net, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.