Historic "Portland" sign at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to undergo renovation project in 2017

An Oregon icon is getting a tune-up this year, as Metro renovates the famous "Portland" sign on Broadway at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Work on the sign, which is 30 years old, will begin in 2017. When the "Portland" sign goes back up, it will have a fresh coat of paint and brighter neon letters – but will otherwise look just like the sign hanging there today.

"The Portland sign at the Schnitzer is a landmark in our region," said Robyn Williams, executive director of Portland'5 Centers for the Arts. "We need to ensure that it is cared for and ready for future generations to enjoy."

Several sign components need maintenance and repair, Williams said, including some of the sheet metal on the sign that is corroding, and the sign’s neon letters need to be replaced.

When finished, the sign will have new aluminum components and a new coating that will be more corrosion and UV resistant. But most of the work will be invisible to the thousands of visitors and locals who see the sign each day.

The 65-foot-high "Portland" sign first went up in 1928, when it was opened as the Portland Publix Theatre. In 1930, the sign was changed to say "Paramount," as the theater was contracted with that studio to show Paramount films. When the theater opened as the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in 1984, the sign was changed back to say "Portland."

This project is being funded by Metro, which operates Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, where the sign is located.  Metro also operates the Keller Auditorium and the Newmark, Winningstad and Brunish theatres at Antoinette Hatfield Hall, which, together with the Schnitzer, make up Portland’5 Centers for the Arts.

Greater Portland's issues and opportunities cross city and county lines. That's why Metro serves 1.5 million people in the region, with oversight by the directly-elected Metro Council. Metro runs the Oregon Zoo, Oregon Convention Center, Portland Expo Center and Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Metro also manages 17,000 acres of natural areas, oversees the region's garbage and recycling system, protects farms and forests and supports 24 cities and three counties in planning for our future.

January 12, 2017