I took this nearly a month ago.
This sign is without a doubt, one of Portland’s icons. It lives on the west side of the Burnside Bridge, but it wasn’t until tonight that I knew the history of the sign.
It was erected in 1940 for White Satin Sugar. In 1950, the outline of Oregon was animated to fill up with white sugar.
White Stag Sportswear bought the sign in the late ’50s changed the name to White Stag Sportswear with the deer on top. I remember that sign. In 1977 it became designated as a historic landmark. White Stag moved out of Portland leaving the sign. The expense of maintaining the sign and paying the electric bill was a source for debate almost to a point of taking the sign down.
In 1997 the name White Stag name was changed to Made in Oregon and Sportswear was changed to Old Town, but the debates continued. After a threat to dismantle the sign in 2009, the city of Portland agreed to pay the sign company $2,000 a month for maintenance and electricity, and in 2010 money was donated to change the lettering to Portland, Oregon.