Want to photograph the White Stag sign? City says pay up

Want to photograph the White Stag sign? City says pay up »Play Video

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The iconic Portland, Oregon sign at the west end of the Burnside Bridge now has a price tag on it. Or rather, several price tags, depending on who’s using it.

The former "Made in Oregon" neon sign, named a historic landmark in 1977, commonly features in video clips and photographs seeking to capture the city's gritty charm. But that charm won't come for free any more.

The City of Portland's Office of Finance and Management has published a notice on its website titled "Sign for Hire," inviting anyone planning to use the sign for news stories, commercial filming or photography to contact the Bureau of Internal Business Services Administration Office.

The notice does not spell out rates or explain whether people using the image for commercial gain will be pursued. The provided contact link leads the viewer to a "file not found" error page.

But the city does have official rates for both incidental and merchandising use of the sign, and it does plan to enforce them.

The rates differ depending on the user. Government agencies get to feature the sign for free. Nonprofits can use it incidentally for free and use it for merchandising for $100.

Small businesses can use it incidentally or for merchandising for $100.

Not-small businesses can use the sign incidentally for $600 or for merchandising for $1,100.

Asked whether the city will pursue unlicensed use of the sign, management analyst Abby Coppock explained in an email, “The City does plan to reach out to businesses who may be violating these guidelines for commercial gain.”

Warning letter from the city of Portland (pdf)

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