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Blue signs point to tourist destinations

I have one for you rocket scientists down there at the Since You Asked laboratories. What's the deal with these blue signs on the outskirts of town that point the way directly to places of business such as wineries and Harry & David Country Village?

They appear to be city- or county-made. What kind of hoops would I have to jump through to get some erected pointing the way to my business? Are the ones on Interstate 5 reserved for restaurants, hotels and fuel only?

—Steven B., Medford

First off, Stevie B., we switched our scientific focus to chemistry. It looked much cooler in our dark corner of the newsroom.

As for the signs, those are handled by Oregon Travel Experience, a state agency governed by the Oregon Travel Information Council. The group's main focus is to provide a great experience to visitors to our state by connecting them with our various resources and businesses.

OTE's website — www.ortravelexperience.com — offers the information that you need, Steve, in their "For Businesses" menu under "Highway Business Signs."

The blue directional signs for wineries and Harry & David are called Tourist Oriented Directional signs. TOD signs, as the name implies, are intended for tourist destinations. The OTE defines these as a business with "cultural, historical, recreational, educational or entertaining activity, or unique and unusual commercial activity whose major portion of income or visitors is derived from motorists not residing in the immediate area of the business."

The signs on the interstate are logo signs, which are an alternative to large billboards. These are generally for, as you said, restaurants, hotels, fuel and attractions.

Still interested, Steven? Well, you can download an application from OTE's website as well as view costs. You can also call them at 1-800-574-9397 to learn more.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.