No sign of the times

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Two of the main routes into town, the ferry terminal and the airport, usually sport signs that say, "Welcome to Juneau" and then list the governor's and the mayor's names.

Although Sally Smith was elected mayor more than eight months ago, the welcome signs have been slow to change.

"When the mayor was elected, that sign came down and I haven't seen it since," said Juneau Airport secretary Pam Chapin. "It's not an airport thing at all."

When the ferry LeConte docked about 4 a.m. Sunday, one of the terminal signs still proclaimed Dennis Egan as mayor.

"We have asked three times to have that changed," said Angela Hull, Mayor Smith's assistant.

There are two identical brown signs at the ferry terminal - one at the top of each of the ramps. George Capacci, manager for the Alaska Marine Highway System, confirmed the brown tab proclaiming Egan as mayor had been pulled from its runners in preparation for one bearing Smith's name.

"This is what happens when we have staffing cuts," Capacci said.

Gary Hayden, director of maintenance for the Department of Transportation, says he gave the 6-foot sign that stood at the airport to Egan.

"I told our guys three weeks ago to get signs up at the ferry terminal," Hayden said Monday. "But we don't have the capacity to make signs; the city does. We asked the city to make one. We don't know if they are going to make one; if not, we are going to buy one. The bureaucracy is working."

"I put them up 10 years ago," said Ernie Mueller, Juneau's public works director. "I forgot all about it. The state replaced them last year, so I figured they would keep going. I guess I should make a call" to DOT, Mueller said Tuesday.

Mueller called Hayden, and Hayden learned that "the city doesn't have brown." So he ordered a sign from Sign Pro. "We're in the queue now," Hayden said Tuesday.

At least the sign at the ferry terminal says "Welcome," Hayden added. "Some cities say, 'Give us 50 cents.'"

Ann Chandonnet can be reached at

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