Signs by design in Edmonds

City has three proposals for gateway signa; second open house is Feb. 11
By Brian Soergel | Jan 31, 2019
Artwork by: City of Edmonds The post and panel alternative for the Edmonds gateway sign.

The ongoing discussion/debate/controversy over the future of the city’s gateway sign – “Welcome to Downtown Edmonds” – is a step closer to a resolution after the City of Edmonds this week unveiled three alternatives.

The current sign, battered by the elements for more than 40 years, is in poor shape and needs to be replaced, the City says. But many residents, presented with an initial design over the summer, were dismayed by the result. It didn’t reflect the uniqueness of the original, they said. It wasn’t welcoming.

That sign read “Downtown Edmonds,” with white lettering on a blue background. Blah, agreed most.

Now, after three meetings and one public open house, the Edmonds Gateway Sign Committee is close to replacing the sign welcoming drivers to downtown Edmonds at SR 104 and Fifth Avenue South.

A second open house is 6 p.m. Feb. 11 in the Edmonds Plaza Room of the Edmonds Library, 650 Main St. The City will present the developed drawings, and will welcome public comment.

In addition to the three prospects, community members can bring their own designs.

You can be sure that Mike McMurray – who is developing Edmonds Commons at Main Street and Sixth Avenue South – will be there with his ideas. He has lobbied for retaining the existing sign’s design, with some modifications.

McMurray has worked with Edmonds sign artist Mack Benek to create a half-scale replica of the original design. And the two recently collaborated on a new, alternative sign including elements of the original.

“I think it has some real Edmonds mojo,” McMurray said. “I would like his design to ultimately be presented as a final (alternative). I feel (it’s) more than appropriate, considering Mack Benek’s pedigree in creative sign design and the fact he’s a local creative sign artist of more than 50 years.”

Lilyan Hendershot of The Branding Iron in Edmonds has also drawn up some ideas for the sign. She is on the sign committee, which includes 10 people representing the community and City staff. They have worked with Edmonds designer Clayton Moss to develop the three new concepts for the gateway sign.

The committee has helped create criteria, reviewing functional and aesthetic elements and public comment gathered at the first open house Nov. 29, as well as through an online survey about design elements and sign types that reflect Edmonds.

The committee’s role has been to give advice and direction to guide the development of the new concepts, Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Director Carrie Hite said.

The three concepts being developed reflect public comment and the guidance of the committee. The work is still in progress. At the last committee meeting on Jan. 17, the committee reviewed one post and panel design and two monument-style design concepts. They are the three City alternatives.

After an additional sign committee meeting this week, the draft concepts will be further developed.

The City Council will make the final decision on the gateway sign.

For more information, contact Carrie Hite at


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