A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Tower clocks at Albany Station: Aaaargh!

Written March 27th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Those clocks on the tower at Albany Station are turning into some kind of headache for the people in city government who have to deal with them again and again.

Why? Check the video below, made Saturday, and then the update at the end of the story:

The clocks were wildly off last September, when Albany resident Lindell Johnson called attention to it. It turned out that three of the four clock motors had seized up and the fourth was slipping.

The city got Foress Sign Co. to put in new motors. Then one of the clocks starting running slow again and had to be reset.

Lindell Johnson may be the only Albany resident who checks on this regularly. In any case, a few days ago she let me know that all four clocks were off again, and not just by a few minutes.

Tom Valentino of the city had to deal with this before. So this week, chances are he’ll be called on again to see what can be done.

As if the city staff didn’t have enough on its plate. (hh)

UPDATE: On Monday (March 29), Building Maintenance Supervisor Tom Valentino reported that the clocks had been reset. He said they were 20 minutes slow because of a power failure over the weekend. He probably meant the previous weekend, since commenter Lindell Johnson mentioned the clocks being off on May 23. (hh)

17 responses to “Tower clocks at Albany Station: Aaaargh!”

  1. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    Does anyone look at the tower clock to check the time? Most faces aren’t glued to a smart phone.

    Seriously, hire a professional clock company instead of a sign maker. Lumichron makes a fully automatic, GPS synchronized clock with controls for hands-free exact time display.

    Add a “clock tower” fee to water bills to pay for it.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Sorry, replace “aren’t” with “are.” I need GPS controlled fingers.

    • Joanna S says:

      The “clock tower” fee and GPS controlled fingers – thanks for a great laugh this AM.

  2. James Engel says:

    Take the $%&# clock hands down & put up smiley faces. Or, find a well made digital display & put that up. The City is going to fritter money away on it anyway.

  3. Ted says:

    Not just Albany, but many government groups love to tax and spend money on projects like this. Then gather for the groundbreaking and completion photos. Put them on their walls so they can say “Look at what we did”. But then a couple of years later it’s the “Well we didn’t budget any money for maintenance and repairs”. If you don’t fund those items, don’t build your little towers of self importance in the first place.

  4. Richard Vannice says:

    The clock doesn’t work – the lights on the $80,000 Art? display don’t work, the streets are in abominable condition – That’s OK we will put up something else that isn’t really that necessary for our survival and use tax money for that too…………………..GIMME GIMME GIMME

  5. Bill Higby says:

    Well, the City did not pay for the clock. It was paid for by the two Rotary Clubs in Albany. Why it does not work I have no idea, but the the clock was definitely not City of Albany funds.

    • Rich Kellum says:

      Bill, what about the repairs etc, did Rotary pay for that?? This is the same problem of making new parks, you then have to spend money to keep them up.

      • Bill Higby says:

        I did talk to Tom and he indicated that a power outage had caused the clocks to stop for about 20 minutes. The four clocks are running. Foress Sign Company did not sell the clocks, they originally came from Eugene Sign Company. Rotary did not select the vendor although we did provide a list of vendors to the City. The tower itself is part of a project funded by a federal grant that included the transportation hub.

      • Bill Higby says:

        Rich, I talked to Tom at the City of Albany. He told me that the clocks had stopped for about 20 minutes during a power outage. Rotary did fund the clocks, the tower and the whole transit center are part of a federal grant. Foress Signs was not the vendor on the clocks, they came from Eugene Sign Company.

    • Suebee says:

      LBCC during my later years there built a tower clock in their courtyard. It was a gift from past graduates… it was a headache, and a money pit from the get go on keeping time.

      Ask Benton County about their clock at the courthouse. Same situation.

      Mechanical clock works take a constant maintenance to maintain. They are exposed to inclement weather and need lots of TLC.

      I like the tower at the station for its looks rather than it’s functionality…. if it’s within an hour of act time I’m happy, and if I really want an accurate time I’ll look at my phone

      • Rich Kellum says:

        The problem Suebee is that some folks depend on a clock telling he correct time and take actions on that information, think of someone deciding to go have fish and chips because their train is not due for “over an hour” and then missing their train..

  6. Marty says:

    I look at, at least, one clock face every time I drive by there. Let’s keep the clocks and use today’s technology to keep the clocks on time ALL day, instead of just two times a day. Maybe the Rotary Clubs or some find raiser can fund the required money to fix the problem permanently.

  7. Zayne Underwood says:

    Just pop the top off of the clock Tower and shove the neon Art Flowers in the top of it and call it Clart….

  8. centrist says:

    Problem-solving 101
    Stop blame storming
    The widget worked, but now doesn’t
    Replacement units don’t work
    What changed?

  9. H. R. Richner says:

    The clock may be run by the railroad. That way the trains are always on time!

  10. Rick says:

    Set all the faces to 5:00. Time for an adult beverage, somewhere.


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