I read the Trail Blazers 25 point plan a couple of years ago, thinking the team had been taken over by PR consultants. They wanted to clean up their act, shoo bad boys from the roster, make the game safe for the red sweater season ticket holder from West Linn.

I hear this year because of a variety bureaucratic reasons the Trail Blazers are not competitive, even though they’re owned by one of the richest humans. I wonder why the red sweater set sticks with them. Why don’t the poor eat the rich? Such a puzzle.

In their squirm to both shed bum contracts + draw ticket buyers, Blazer management evidently decided petty vandalism would be the smart thing to do.

These posters are wheat pasted up in inner SE and NE Portland, sometime in October. The caption on one reads, “Hello Portland” introducing Nate McMillian, the longtime Seattle player and coach brought in to stiffen the backbone and tote moral authority at the Rose Garden. The second ironically reads “Ready or not, here we come,” with a picture of 18 year old rookie Martell Webster.

Does this buy street credibility? I dunno. Is it a crime to wheat paste commercial posters? I think so. Is it art? No. Does it give art a bad name? Yes. Just as basketball players need moral authority, so do commercial artists. There should be some sort of oath to tie up these fiends. Is this just advertising? Nope, it’s just vandalism.

What if the building owner gave permission (a possibility)? No, aping a crime in a corporate marketing campaign which represents young African American men is completely inappropriate in this city. The message is louder than “buy tickets.” The message is, “We’re inexperienced and foolish and from the ghetto” (presumably a place where wheat pasting commercial posters and showing up unready for work is accepted). Since Portland does not have a ghetto, the message is meant to ping folks who have some sort of memory of them.

Typically graffiti is anonymous, or cryptic, or something. Not this one. Pretty clear who is responsible.

Like to complain? You could email city staffer Marcia Dennis, but you could also more directly send your complaint to:

Steve Patterson President, Portland Trail Blazers.
The vice president of marketing for the Blazers is Marta Monett.
Both are at (503) 234-9291.

The city of Portland’s Grafitti Abatement Program, has an online complaint form. Like most of the horrible City of Portland website, you have to register to access the site. Ridiculous. “Closed for business.”

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