Placement of Campaign Signs

Now that election season is upon us, campaign signs will dominate the scenery as you drive through town.  With 4 council seats up for grabs, including the at-large seat, expect to see signs in every neighborhood in town.

But, you should not be seeing any signs in the public right-of-way.  Not only is it against Puyallup Municipal Code, but it really doesn’t represent anything.  The rule for campaign signs is a sign in a yard is worth two votes.  Obviously, not every home has exactly two voters, but it averages out that way. 

A sign in a right-of-way equals no voters.  Candidates put signs there for two reasons: 1.)Visability 2.)They don’t have yards to put them in. The second point is the key, candidates that do not have a lot of supporters have to get their name out there, so they resort to public land.  In this year’s election Nicole Martineau has the majority of her signs in the public right-of-way, which makes sense for her.

But, Mrs. Martineau should not have them there for long.  On Monday, City Manager Ralph Dannenberg sent out an email reminding candidates to not place signs in the right-of-way.  The email is posted below.

So, in the next couple days you should see no more campaign signs lining city streets or more complaints will be filed and the city staff will remove them.

Here is Mr. Dannenberg’s email:

Good afternoon,

My office has received several calls regarding the placement

of campaign signs.  I want to remind each of you that PMC 20.60.070(1)

states, in part, “Political signs shall not be placed within any public right-of-way. 

Signs established in violation of this subsection may be immediately removed

and destroyed by the code enforcement manager or his agent.”  The

city staff will not destroy any signs.  Our process will be to verify a

complaint and notify the candidate of the violation asking for their help by

removing the sign.  If it is not removed in a time as designated by the

code enforcement officer, city staff will remove the sign and it will be

available for pickup the following day at city hall.

City staff is in the process of preparing documents that

easily demonstrate the ROW.  If you are unsure of the ROW, please contact

the 2nd floor permit counter and they may assist you. 


Ralph W. Dannenberg



Filed under Election 2011

8 responses to “Placement of Campaign Signs

  1. Steven Shores

    20.60.070 Temporary signs.

    The following regulations shall apply to all signs intended or permitted to be displayed for a limited time only:

    (1) Political Signs.

    (a) Political signs shall be permitted in all zones.

    (b) Such signs shall not exceed eight square feet in area and shall not exceed 42 inches in height; provided, that these restrictions shall not apply to lawfully established billboards.

    (c) Political signs shall be removed within 10 days after the election; provided, that signs promoting successful candidates or ballot propositions in a primary election may remain displayed through the general election.

    (d) Political signs shall not be placed within any public right-of-way. Signs established in violation of this subsection may be immediately removed and destroyed by the code enforcement manager or his agent.

  2. Lewis E. Pugh Jr

    Puyallup city counsel members who are running for re-election, and who fail to meet Puyallup municipal code PMC 20.60.070 on the proper placing of campaign signs , should not be considered for re-election. Especially since they fail to fellow policies established and /or wish to ignore them.

    Concern City Payer

  3. Dave Churchman

    The overwhelming majority of inappropriately placed signs belong to one candidate. Again it illustrates her absolute disregard for rules and law. But it is typical of her pathetic period keeping George Dill’s seat warm for a far more reputable and honest representitive.
    Perhaps city hall should levy a $50 disposal fine for every illegal sign.

  4. Steven Shores

    Isn’t it shameful how an existing council member (Martineau) and others (Swanson, Palmer and Ordonez) who want to be elected to the council won’t voluntarily follow a city ordinance that the same council established previously. Are they above the laws they purport to uphold? That says a lot about their integrity, sincerity, honesty and credibility. It’s all about them and not about what’s ethical. And don’t give me the Washington State Supreme Court ruling story. That doesn’t matter. As long as the ordinance is a Puyallup code, voluntarily follow it to display some level of integrity. Some have been called unethical in the past and they continue to be such. If the shoe fits, wear it! If by some miracle any of them get elected, then they can vote to change the ordinance. I commend Steve Vermillion for getting permission to place his signs on private property as the ordinance states. Tom Smillie plans to do the same.

  5. Dave Churchman

    Gutless Ralph showing that his desire for yet another big raise this year is more important than adherence to the city’s own ordinance.

  6. Steven Davis

    To whom does a citizen report violations when campaign signs are seen in the public right-of-way?

    When will Mr. Dannenberg’s office start enforcing this policy?

    It’s not as if all of the signs are hard to find since they are all over the place.

  7. David Couch


    Last Friday Dannenberg sent out a follow up email, stating that the legal department did some research and has decided that they will NOT be removing any signs this year.

    They are claiming that the state Supreme Court has ruled that signs can be placed there under certain conditions. They are choosing to ignore Puyallup Muncipal Code to avoid a lawsuit.

    The real question should be the ethics of the candidates that leave their signs up despite a directive to take them down.

    These are the same people who say they will be ethical leaders. What a sham!

  8. Dave Churchman

    Yesterday (July 5th), there were 3 campaign signs on city property itself at the SW corner of Bradley Lake Park. One Swanson, one Ordonez and one Martineau sign (all in a clump).
    The city said it would remove these signs.
    Today, there is one sign at the very same location. A Martineau sign.
    There are two possible reasons for this, both bad.

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