College Neighbors Ask Drivers To Think, and Use Main Roads

This is a story about some neighbors putting up their own directional signage, to discourage cut-through traffic. The story is not complete here, but we hope to get more details from readers.


The Frank Estate, Fir Acres, was built between 1924 and 1926. Albany College moved to downtown Portland, and then acquired Fir Acres in ~1937 when the family gave the estate up for "Back Taxes". Since 'Albany College' no longer fit, the name was changed! This explains why Lewis & Clark College (L&C) is nestled into the neighborhood. As a result, students and staff need to travel on Terwilliger to Palatine Hill Road to get to the campus.

There was a significant campus expansion in the 1960's, under President John R Howard, with more dormitories, the Watzek Library, Agnes Flannigan Chapel, Pamplin Sports Center, and so on. Hundreds of students live on campus and off, and there are perhaps 140 faculty, and another 80 staff members who may travel to campus every weekday. Plus events that can attract 100's of visitors..

On the other side of Palatine Hill Road, a Riverside/Hood/Terwilliger Place neighborhood was developed during the 1950's and 1960's. (A few homes were built earlier, some later.)

Driver Psychology

Unfortunately, many drivers coming up Terwilliger from the south destined for the college thought they should just zip through the 'hood to get there more quickly. Too quickly.

So, the local folks put up two hands directing drivers to "THINK — IT'S 50 SECONDS EITHER WAY - PLEASE GO AROUND."

Left-Pointing hand, located at S Terwilliger and S Terwilliger Pl. May 26, 2022.

Across from the college there was a symmetrical sign directing them to go back around, not to cut through in the opposite direction.

Right-Pointing hand, located at S Palatine Hill Road and S Riverside St. May 26, 2022.

It's a little confusing: 'Through Traffic Please Go Around', but it's telling people who want to go through to the college, to please go around in the direction the hands point. Automobile drivers must have been shocked to see a sign telling them to think, and to consider what they were doing. After all -- aren't all streets alike? Aren't people also living on the main route? You, dear reader, can spend some time today contemplating this question, where houses are, and what the streetscape is like. Tell us what You Think.

Map of Riverside/Hood/Terwilliger Place neighborhood

The map could be better. We'll work on it.

There are other routes to the college, such as Military Road and along Palatine Hill Road from Primrose, but those paths don't use the College Friends cut-through, and are beyond the scope of this post.

A Related issue, on-street parking by commuters

This mini neighborhood also sees commuter students parking on Riverside, and then walking either to the Main campus, or the Law School. One occasional car might be tolerable, but not dozens lining the street every day.

Sign meant to discourage college parking along this street. May 26, 2022.

On-street parking also happened along Palatine Hill Road in the past due to expense of for Parking Permits. Palatine Hill Road is now signed 'NO PARKING / IN THIS BLOCK" by the City. What is the current college policy? See References.

We think Campus Safety can determine which student to contact regarding irregular parking, since students need to register their vehicle with the college, whether they live on campus or commute. What is the current Parking Permit system? See References.

The college is required to keep a Transportation Demand Management Program plan current, but that is beyond the scope of this blog post. All significant employers, businesses, and other attractors are likewise require to have a TDM plan.

Riverside and Terwilliger Place also serve as a pedestrian corridor, to an extent, connecting the L&C campus to Law School, and to Connecting L&C campus to Tryon Creek State Natural Area for jogging paved paths.


Editor's Note

We think there was an earlier version of these signs (or maybe just one sign) in ~1970. The original one(s) had red and maybe gold pen-striping, with black letters, and a more stylized hand, like on Monty Python's below. The previous wording cited 'College Friends'. At some point, that phrase was replaced with 'Friendly College Neighbors', which has a better connotation. It could be the reason new signs were made. ?

Vintage hand pointing right - unattributed.

Photos by J Miller.

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