A 221/2 foot tall vertical sign that flashes the word "Liberty" is going back up on Astoria's historic Liberty Theater in mid-July. The sign will be almost exactly like the original one from the 1920s, said Jared Rickenbach of Rickenbach Construction, except that the letters will be a little smaller to make room for an LED message center with moveable text at the bottom.
The black 4-foot wide sign will feature big, raised metal "pie channel" letters, like huge cookie cutters filled with white light bulbs, that turn on one at a time, starting from the top, until the name, Liberty, is spelled out. At that point, the name flashes on and off a few times before turning off and starting the process over again. The sign will have light bulbs around its perimeter, said Rickenbach, who's still trying to determine the original color, but guesses the bulbs were either red or blue. The sign will be installed 14 feet above the sidewalk.
Originally, the Liberty sign was not going to flash the way it did in the old days, but several weeks ago construction workers doing some demolition work in preparation for re-installing the theater's historic marquee discovered the old flasher controls in the attic. Rickenbach said Todd Scott, Astoria's director of community development, then gave verbal approval for it to flash. The city's sign ordinance had already been changed to allow moveable text signs, with some restrictions, in order for the Liberty Theater to have the LED message center.
Clark Sign Company on Deer Island, near St. Helens, built the framework for the sign and is getting ready to wire it, Rickenbach said Wednesday. Cost of the sign is $85,700. It's scheduled to be installed July 16.
Red light/Green light is an occasional feature in The Daily Astorian, updating readers on topics or projects that have been reported on before.