I’m back to my Oregon Decal obsession and until I find out otherwise, I’m convinced it all started with the green heart in the state boundary design. I’m working on tracking down the creator of this image which really shouldn’t be too hard but my self-imposed deadline is approaching and I’m still planning on one more part to this series before I exorcise this obsession from my consciousness. The last blog post was titled Oregon Decal Spawn Part 1, or some such title, which in hindsight seems terrible so I reworked the title based on what these decals have become to me—something of an obsession. While maybe a casual obsession, they’re images I’m focused on collecting. A snapshot is satisfying enough, the need to possess some tangible remnant of these decals hasn’t over taken me. I have only seen a few of these decals for sale which means tracking them down would have proven impossible.
While on my bike my eyes scan the bumpers of parked cars. The state outline usually jumps out at me. After considering whether the design is something I’ve seen before I either stop and grab a picture or keep pedaling. I’m surprised by the number and variety of designs that represent all manner of Portland and Oregon related subjects. I want to think that as Portland-centric as we are, a Portland border would be a far more specific and authentic a representation, in some cases, of this sticker concept. There’s only one problem. The Portland city limits prove to be a design flaw mess. No one would recognize it and it would never work as a decal outline.
Portland: Not a decal inspiring border.
Last summer I ran into Rob Campbell who is among other things a T-shirt designer. He showed me a T-shirt design which incorporated the use of the Oregon border. This got me blabbing about my Oregon decal obsession. I asked him why he thought so many people use the state to frame designs. He was succinct when he explained that it’s “effective.” And that makes sense. As I pointed out before, people immediately know the image involves regionalism, whatever the symbol happens to be, sometimes it’s not clear, but it’s stuff in this state or even something being promoted specific to Portland. Regardless, it makes for an eye-catching decoration for a car bumper or anywhere else it gets stuck.
So let’s get to it.
Why not love Portland? Again if you slapped these words on top of the city limits map it wouldn’t look right so the use of the state border. Everyone knows there’s a city named Portland in Oregon.
It’s greek to me, except it’s not Greek, it’s Latin. It’s the Latin translation of the state motto which when translated back into English is: “She flies with her own wings.” Who knew you could get a lesson in history and Latin from a sticker.
Tie-dye could be symbolic of almost anything but seems specific to Dead Head/hippie culture. The top design is bold and colorful and has heart so I’m not going to trip out on it. The other one has a peace sign which is also a nice touch. If I’m any kind of decal critic, well these messages of peace and love are mellowing me out. Tie-dye is a bit of a psychedelic cliché but I have an appreciation for colorful design
This one is saying all kinds of things about Portland. It references the White Stag sign, mentions old town and frames it with an eye catching golden state border. The quality of the photo does it no justice but this vehicle owner is loving Portland.
These two seem like homemade designs. The stripes, rays of sun maybe, made me think of Arizona. The other sticker looks like a basic art project with the tiny blue heart sticker marking Portland’s location on the pink state map.
Every Portland sports team does the Oregon decal with gusto. Thorns, PSU Vikings, and Rip City!
Any kind of advertising receives a boast with a state of Oregon decal design.
Northside shoes were founded in Portland. The little heart is a nice touch and for whatever reason the state is depicted as dripping, or is it oozing?
Even Pabst ran like a stallion/unicorn with an Oregon design for their Pabst music festival.
And yeah, Portland and Oregon have a few tea drinkers.
Adorned plays off the Keep Portland Weird campaign requesting that people “Keep Oregon adorned.”
Well, no one can exactly advertise snow but it’s another mix of borrowing an advertising slogan and mixing it with a state decal.
Even Bernie Sanders gets in on the act with an Oregon inspired reminder to vote for him.
Do we have bees and bartenders or martini makers in this state? According to these decals, we do!
This one doesn’t make me groan. I could not resist that lame pun. It’s seems like a statement about farming or it insinuates that the owner of the car is a native Oregonian. It could well be there as a show of support for local farming or hauling around vegetables.
Other decals offer identifiers by way of symbols. We run half marathons, love animals, depending on the foot print, crabbing and ride bikes. It can all be spoken in decal.
This one speaks for itself. It has one of the best uses of the Oregon border since it serves as a reminder of the original inhabitants of these parts.
Gotta run to look over more car bumpers. The obsession will rear it’s ugly head again in this blog soon enough.
Note to Mrs. Yuchmow: I feel the need to justify my use of the word “and” to start a sentence. I know you taught Will Simmons from the Pittsburgh Orbit that this usually isn’t a good thing to do but in the case of my usage it needed to happen.