A proliferation of slow signs in SW, and probably all over Portland, has me thinking about the need for people to remind others to reduce their driving speed. These signs are mostly store bought, mass produced and not especially creative. I was pleased to find a cache of homemade signs in Neskowin on the Oregon coast. One sighting led to another as if this particular beach area is full of drag racing outsiders tearing through the tiny neighborhood trying to find their beach rental in a hurry and need gentle reminders at every turn. It was a nice surprise to a beach trip that had its challenges when we were trying to get some recreation with our dog.
Ah, Neskowin, home of the Ghost Forest which proved elusive this visit. Is there a secret path? A better way to get there than crossing a creek which is doable at low tide but it still requires walking through water. Then I had to wonder if I was spotting the right forest. The ride out to the coast was nice enough, even Newberg seemed cool on a cloudy morning, so I would be willing to make a return visit to experience the Ghost Forest more up close and personal.
On the way back to the State Park parking lot where it was nice to see my tax dollars providing free parking and bathroom facilities, I noticed a couple of traffic signs. These were home made, possibly by kids, brimming with fun folk art flair and offering messages for cars to drive slow. Really the tight quarters and the small size of the neighborhood didn’t seem like it enabled speeding. I noted these signs and spotted a cluster down another street that I didn’t have time to photograph.
Full of inspiration to write something, my first choice was the Ghost Forest but since I wasn’t willing to get my feet wet to get the story I went with the traffic signs that had caught my attention. Before leaving, we drove over to see the others. I got more than I bargained for with a couple of sign clusters all screaming at us to slow down. It feels like the sign posting bug swept the neighborhood inspiring many of the homes to participate. The speed limits on these hand painted signs were sometimes as low as 15 miles an hour. I certainly can’t even run that fast but the arrangements and the different variations on the theme were a great discovery.
Sure, it’s a safety message. Children may not play in the streets so much anymore but we should give them the option. This means going slow. If you’re at the beach you really only have one thing in mind and you can take all day to get there unless you’re in a hurry to beat the tide to get to the Ghost Forest.
The signs dished out sayings about slowness with groan inducing puns and images of slow creeping animals emphasizing the need for less speed in this beach community. This made the signs less threatening despite their being bossy. The humor and creativity softened the message. Heck, people need to slow down to notice these multicolored displays.
I suppose it’s a lifestyle issue as much as a safety concern. Think about it, you’re at the beach. Nobody cares if it’s just for a long weekend. If you slow down after witnessing constant reminders, you might just take the time to enjoy at least a few moments of your beach vacation.