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Changes Coming to Banners Hung Over Yakima Avenue

Two giant banners stare drivers in the face on Yakima Avenue.  One is advertising for a private business. The other is sending people to Toppenish.

City Manager Tony O’Rourke says he thinks they are unnecessary.

“It could either compliment a city or detract from it and I think we have a situation where we’re doing more detracting than complementing,” O’Rourke said.

O’Rourke says right now anyone can hang a banner or sign wherever they want. He wants to fix it so that all major banners hanging downtown advertise Yakima or local events. He says too many banners can quickly clutter Yakima.

He plans to approach council with new requirements that limit size and design of signs.

Folks around town have mixed opinions about the giant displays.

“It looks pretty messy when you see the signs and everything around here,” said one man.

“I just really hadn’t noticed,” said another woman.


“I think it’s something that needs to change,” said one man who says he frequents the downtown.

O’Rourke is not just concerned with the downtown. He says he wants to improve the overall look of Yakima by making signs and advertisements pleasing to the eye.

The city says there are some areas around town, like the First Street corridor, where the signage is so obnoxious they consider it a visual assault on Yakima.

The city manager says he is not alone in his mission to improve appearances around town. The recent city survey indicated many people are not happy with how Yakima looks.

“The public is concerned about the aesthetics of the community and signage has a lot to do with that,” O’Rourke said. “We want people to operate and be successful in their businesses but we’ve got to strike a balance between free enterprise and also aesthetic quality in the community.”


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