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Political signs may be exempt from permits

During election season, political signs are everywhere on the side of the road. Do they need a permit for this?

— Jenny B., Medford

Similar to the current political climate, information about signage and permits is complicated. The Oregon Department of Transportation states that some roadside signs need permits and others do not. Some signs that would normally need a permit can qualify for a permit exemption.

Two questions are asked to decide whether a roadside sign needs a permit. First, is the sign posted for compensation? If it is, it's considered an "outdoor advertising sign" and requires a permit. If it's not there for compensation purposes, is the sign posted at the location of a business or activity open to the public? If not, it's considered an "outdoor advertising sign" and needs a permit.

Still with us? Here's where political signs come into play.

If a sign is not at a business or location open to the public, it could qualify for the permit exemption for temporary signs. Political signs often qualify for this exemption.

All signs under state jurisdiction must meet basic requirements listed in the statute. In addition, most cities and counties have their own sign regulations. A sign must meet both local and state laws.Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.