EUGENE, Ore. — Someone is playing tricks on drivers downtown. M.C. Hammer might be proud, but the city of Eugene is not.
If you frequent downtown, you might have noticed a stop sign on Broadway and Olive Street that reads “Hammer Time” below it. What may have been a witty act for one is actually a crime that the city’s public works department has to deal with on a daily basis.
The defacing of a traffic control sign falls under graffiti and is considered criminal mischief.
Typically complaints to the city alert staff when a sign is targeted. Before Wednesday the city of Eugene had not received any complaints about this stop sign. While the phrase “Stop, Hammer Time” had a few people chuckling downtown as they passed, city staff say it’s no laughing matter.
“If it’s been painted over, if the message has been changed, if someone doesn’t see it we can have serious consequences. If you see it happening, you should call 9-1-1 and stop the criminal activity,” said Tom Larson, City of Eugene Traffic Engineer.
The words do appear to have been painted on to match the look of the sign. The city of Eugene says a stop sign is the most serious of traffic control devices to be obstructed because if it interferes with a driver and could cause an accident that leads to injury or death.
The Eugene Public Works Department says if it can’t get the writing or stickers off by hand, typically it will put in a new sign for about $50.