Portland’s Time and Temperature Sign is Starting to Lose Its Message
Portland's Time and Temperature sign is a landmark that has stood fourteen stories above Congress Street for over 50 years. It can be seen all over the downtown area displaying, of course, the time and the temperature along with two four letter words that send a message.
It's a sign that, even with a complete replacement and update in 1999, is running on outdated technology that has caused confusion with its message. Take today's for example, which I totally misread while walking into work this morning.
I looked up and saw LONG FACE, as in "Hey! Why the long face?" The sign has so many light bulbs either burned out or completely missing that it's getting harder and harder to correctly read the sign.
The actual message is LUNG FRCE, which according to Joe Bornstein's Time and Temperature blog , brings awareness to the American Lung Association's Lung Force, which unites women to stand together against lung cancer and for lung health.
All three sides of the sign have lights out. One or two usually isn't a big deal, but there are so many out that letters are easily confusing a message that can already be a challenge to understand because vowels are usually left out to fit it into two, four-letter words.
It's been almost 20 years since the latest version of the sign was installed. Maybe it's time for another upgrade, but what would a new sign look like?
The current sign still uses giant, incandescent bulbs which are on the way out in the US. LEDs are the way to go today and are affordable. That's why you see so many mom 'n pop stores and businesses replacing their old marquees that had plastic letters with LED message boards.
A giant LED board on top of the building that emulated the look of the old bulb board with its dot-matrix letters could solve the problem. It would require less maintenance and would last longer, but could still look very similar to what we have today.
Should we start a GoFundMe?