Ain’t No Stopping Us Now: Stop Everything And Read This!


Temporary Restraining Order

Somedays I want it all to stop. It’s as if there’s a giant stop sign on my brain. I could stare at walls until their paint color drove me mad but the design of a stop signs keep me motivated. They are reliable, traditional and recognizable; those white, capitalized letters shout through a burst of crimson that causes my foot automatically to tap the brakes. With the help of stop signs we can change the world. They aren’t only about the whims of traffic engineers to keep us safe. Now messages about everything that needs stopping can be broadcast. Consider the signs that blared: STOP TRUMP! They worked, at least for the time being. Updates will need to read: STOP TRUMP AGAIN! We love doctored signs at the Portland Orbit so any effort stops us dead in our tracks. 

Don’t Stop Living

If we stop mass extinction we won’t all die. This may include pets, wild animals and maybe many species of insects. Stopping mass extinction should be a priority. This sign, seen in the Kerns neighborhood, is living proof. We need to do this. If all stop signs carried this message vehicles would stop, then stop doing all the things that have us on track for our prospective extinction. The message would be two fold and read something like:

STOP FIRST

THEN ALSO STOP MASS EXTINCTION.

This is just a draft. The right wording is crucial to communicate the message and it has to fit on the sign to really work.

Gas Costs Too Much

Another in a series of stickered messages, as seen in South Tabor and created for whichever campaign being run to stop what needs to be stopped. Fossil fuels get a bad wrap because they’re pungent, flammable, toxic, expensive and environmentally unfriendly. They should be stopped. A message on a stop sign is the first step. Doctored stop signs may also be a ploy to get bike riders to stop. They might be curious about what the signs says and take an extra couple of seconds to stop and read the whole sign. Bike riders would swell with pride knowing that their people powered modes of transportation are helping to stop fossil fuels.

Stop and Smell the Flowers

These stickered messages aren’t the stop sign blending shade of red. A seamless transition would look more official and make the impression that the Portland Bureau of Transportation was working to put themselves out of business while attempting to save the planet at the same time. I could think of many other things I’d like to stop on my personal stop list but climate breakdown should be in the top three list of priorities, perhaps right after mass extinction. While it’s hard to say how effective the vandalism of traffic signs like this one spotted in the Kerns neighborhood is, the act offers a thought provoking message.

Stop First Then Get Excited

If we stop apathy people would be freed up to put effort into stopping all the other categories added to stop signs. This message, spotted in Multnomah Village, is presented in the most apathetic of scrawls. This sign speaks truth to power. If we stop apathy we have a chance to stop it all even bikes. Drivers pay attention to stop signs so this bold message might work better with improved penmanship. With people having to read and drive at the same time the message has to be easy to see.

Stop Fun!

When adding a message to a stop sign, like this one in the Concordia neighborhood, we already know it’s best to make it legible. It should not look like white out was involved. The font and message size is best when it’s similar to the letters in the word stop. People shouldn’t have to stop, scrutinize and decipher the contents of a notice. I’m not in a position to defend or deny the message at this point as the Portland Orbit avoids politics. The sign could read, “STOP taking money out of the community to give to the Police Department,” but that wouldn’t fit on the sign.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Anything (photo by Graham Marks)

This is a sign of anarchy. Stop following the orders of stop signs the message implies. I would like to think that not too many people take this sign serious. Then again some people might wonder whether they should followed the revised sign and keep going. Luckily the sign doesn’t look official but it’s an ominous reflection of the end of civilization as we know it. When we all begin our rants about the apocalypse, the first thing we’ll be saying is, “Now, they’re not even stopping at stop signs!”

Stop or Go!

This sign, spotted on the campus of Ida B. Wells High School in SW Portland, seems to reflect a student’s new found power of editing and revising skills that have gotten out of hand. While we applaud the hard working personel in the English Department, it looks as if a student decided stop was the wrong word, crossed it out and added what was deemed an appropriate one. This had me thinking. Why are there no GO signs? A sign in a bold green proclaiming drivers to GO would spruce up any intersection.

Stop Talking Too

This last sign, spotted in Hillsdale, leaves us all in suspense. It offers the obvious, unanswerable question: Stop talking to who? Someone doesn’t want us to know. Does it mean we should stop talking to everyone until we find out who it is? I have to say it’s nobody’s business who any of us talks to. I’m unwilling to take orders from a stop sign but, ya know, I’m excited about any redecoracted sign so I’m certainly going to read any altered sign, and take its picture. After that it goes back to being a stop sign and it’s no longer a message center or a billboard.

Sign Off With Flags

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