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SignGate: Eastern Columbia Fears the Ugliness Beneath

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Given all the talk about sign ordinances, is anyone surprised by this story? Those paper murals that adorn the sides of downtown's Eastern Columbia building have been ordered to be taken down by the Building & Safety department because the signs are considered advertising, according to Eric Teves, Eastern Columbia's general building manager. But because the murals cover the ground-floor empty retail space ("Behind the murals it looks deserted, like an empty warehouse," Teles tells us), some Eastern Columbia homeowners are up in arms. An excerpt of an email sent out yesterday by Bill Cooper, Committee Chair, Eastern Columbia Community Liaison Committee: "Apparently it is okay for our neighbors buildings to look like crap, but god forbid we have murals in our windows that don't comply....Even after years of complaining from the Residents of the Eastern Columbia, the City can't get the May Co garage at the corner of 9th and Hill cleaned up, yet they can spend the time and energy to devalue our property and neighborhood even more. Whose side is the City on?" Wow, how often do you get a downtowner admitting that some parts of their neighborhood are completely crappy-looking? The truth is refreshing. Read on for more.


According to Teves, the back and forth with the city about the signs has been going since last summer. A sign was taken down the second week of February, a move which set off residents, so KOR stopped any further removal of the images. KOR wants the signs up because they advertise the four empty ground-floor retail spaces, while the tenants like the aesthetic factor, says Teves.

But it doesn't sound like the images will remain up much longer.

"I talked to Building & Safety yesterday," says Teves. "And basically they said forget it." According to Teves, homeowners are now talking about painting the windows or putting butcher paper up.

Email from Bill Cooper, Committee Chair, Eastern Columbia Community Liaison Committee, who also sent out the images featured above:

"For those who do not know, the City has ordered KOR to remove all of its window treatments on the ground floor of the Eastern Columbia and it appears that KOR waited too long to involve us, so there is no stopping them. After lengthy conversations with Building and Safety and other City officials, it appears there is nothing we can do but watch the window coverings come down.

Apparently it is okay for our neighbors buildings to look like crap, but god forbid we have murals in our windows that don't comply.

The City can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to "Bring Back Broadway" yet it can't stop itself from destroying the beautiful ground floor of its most beautiful Broadway resident.

Even after years of complaining from the Residents of the Eastern Columbia, the City can't get the May Co garage at the corner of 9th and Hill cleaned up, yet they can spend the time and energy to devalue our property and neighborhood even more. Whose side is the City on? This is a sad day for the City, for downtown, for Broadway and for the Eastern Columbia."

Eastern Columbia Lofts

849 South Broadway, , CA 90014 Visit Website