A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Police called over candidate’s lawn signs

Written April 29th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

Miriam Cummins’ blue and white campaigm signs were back in place Monday outside this restaurant on Santiam Highway S.E.

Acting on the complaint of a rival candidate, Albany police last Thursday caused the removal of campaign signs for school board candidate Miriam Cummins outside four businesses. But it was a mistake, and when I checked on Monday afternoon the signs were back.

Cummins, 31, is one of three candidates for an at-large position on the board of Greater Albany Public Schools. On Facebook Sunday, she complained about the sign incident. On Monday I got a summary of what happened from Lt. Travis Giboney, in charge of investigations and a spokesman for the police department.

On April 25 the police got a complaint from Eric Aguinaga about sign violations at a couple of locations. Aguinaga, 35, also is running for the at-large spot on the school board.

Giboney said a community service officer was sent out and “found the signs to be in violation of the temporary sign ordinance, not realizing the exclusion for signs during an election period had changed.” (Albany revised its sign code last year.) Giboney added that “the issue was likely exacerbated” by outdated information on the city’s website.

Cummins went to talk with Giboney Monday and came away with the police report, which she distributed via Facebook. The report said Aguinaga had reported “multiple temporary candidate signs” at two locations. “The locations were advised of the complaint and the signs were removed.”

The locations were Cork’s doughnut shop and the Los Tequilas restaurant, next to each other on Santiam Highway S.E., and Los Compadres meat market and taqueria, which share a building on Pacific Boulevard next to Santiam Liquor.

Albany’s sign code is complicated and detailed. It generally limits businesses to one “temporary” sign of less than 3 square feet without having to get a permit. But for elections, it allows one “temporary sign per issue and per candidate…” Cummins is running for the Education Service District board as well as for GAPS, so the code allows her to have two signs, one for each race, in front of a business, which she did — and does again.

After talking with Giboney on Monday, Cummins told me: “He apologized and indicated that the officer should not have gone in to talk to the business since I was in compliance with the sign ordinance.”

Cummins, married and the mother of two, has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and French from OSU and worked for five years as a translator and interpreter for the Linn-Benton-Lincoln Education Service District. Now she works for the Salem-Keizer Coalition for Equality. She expressed disappointment over the sign episode, saying it tends to reinforce distrust among the Latino community, one of the things she is running for school board to try to repair. (hh)

Miriam Cummins, as she talked about school issues over coffee at the Little Wuesten Cafe on April 10.


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16 responses to “Police called over candidate’s lawn signs”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Complicated and detailed? You are too kind.

    There are 22 pages of sign regulations in the Development Code.

    And Albany also regulates skis and roller skates on city streets.

    Overreach is in the city’s DNA.

  2. Bryan says:

    I was on her side until this crap: “tends to reinforce distrust among the Latino community”
    Like anyone would know she is Latino from the name Cummins. Ridiculous. People are way to quick to try to pull the race card. It was a mistake (that never should have happened) and they apologized. Get over it.

    • Cheryl P says:

      The race card has been maxed out.

    • centrist says:

      Suggest a reread.
      She didn’t claim Latin status. The tie between sign removal and distrust by an ethnic group is tenuous. I see sn inexperienced speaker, not a racist.

  3. Jon Stratton says:

    So a person who either doesn’t know the rules or doesn’t think they should apply evenly to everyone thinks they should be in any way associated with education? Sounds to me like Mr. Aguinaga should be kept as far from that position as possible.

  4. craigz says:

    As someone who has run for office; it is funny odd that sign complaints always come in for political signs, often from other candidates. Then….they place their signs where yours were, or; throughout the remainder of the year temporary signs of all types get plastered everywhere and nobody even cares or complains. Come to Millersburg…..they are everywhere; all down Old Salem Rd., intersections, power poles. But…..no body cares.

  5. thomas cordier says:

    HH are you sure Eric and Miriam are running for the same position. I believe Miriam is running for at-large while Eric is not.

  6. thomas cordier says:

    I checked LC elections web site —you are correct. they are running for same position. The Benton county voters pamphlet lists only Aguinaga running for At-large #1

  7. Lynn M says:

    Maybe this stunt has backfired for Mr. Aguinaga.
    He was looking to muddy his opponent by claiming her signs were illegal.
    All it did was bring her more public attention and show how petty he is as a candidate.
    I would also like to know why Miriam Cummins’ info was not included in the Voters Pamphlet? If it had not been for her handbill that arrived in the mail the same day as the voters pamphlet we would not have known anything about the person we believe has so diligently earned our vote.

  8. J. Jacobson says:

    Politicians and diapers must be changed periodically, for obvious reasons.

  9. Cecilia Mihaylo says:

    It really is embarrassing that one candidate for the school board would Go so low…
    1) to waste of police resources on such a petty claim
    2) no being smart enough to have one of his friends file the complaint in his place
    I disagree with the comments on the race card being over played, but then I am a Mexican immigrant who doesn’t have an Hispanic name either…

  10. Bill Kapaun says:

    It’s down right enjoyable to watch libs play the race card on each other.


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