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Sargent's Stereo Plaid Building Story

By Randy Sargent - Posted on 03 November 2009

    Sargent’s Stereo came to Bend long before the city had codes as to what color you could paint a building. In fact, when Sargent’s moved to this building in 1978, it was painted electric blue with purple trim. Over the years it was painted many different colors. The spring of 2004 brought new paint and color to Sargent’s Stereo. The color scheme was based on the packaging of Polk Momo Speakers. The speakers are popular, look good, and sound great. Pleased with the way the building turned out, we paid the contractor the thousands of dollars due him. We continued throughout the summer to hear from people how much they liked the new colors.

    In October a city compliance officer stopped by and told a salesperson that the color was not acceptable to the city, to which the salesperson responded that you better contact the owner and let him know. No letter, no contact with the owner and without warning, the following citation is presented to the owner.

    $500.00 PER DAY TIMES 19 DAYS or $9,500.00 plus the threat of an additional $500.00 per day while the Failure to Comply w/ Design Review continued.

    Now this paint job was getting expensive. First we contacted the painting contractor; he had never heard of such a rule. We contacted the paint supplier; they had not heard of the rule. We contacted the city and they presented us with brand specific colors that were pre-approved. Problem, the paint numbers were out of date by years and no longer available. With leg work and the help of a local paint store we were able to find an old paint chip set. Here are some of the colors that were available:

    The colors were dull and drab for a business across the street from a Shell station of bright yellow and red. That is when the idea of plaid came to us as a way of standing out and complying with the law. We submitted our plan to paint the building plaid. Not just any plaid, but official colors plaid. The city’s reaction was immediate. You can’t do that until the legal department reviews the plan. We responded noting the ordinance stated colors not color. Colors it was to be. Having obtained approval, we went to the paint store where the store was abuzz about what we were doing and a painting contractor offered to help us for free. We were given until the time of hearing to have the building substantially repainted or face the possibility of additional fines. In the cold of winter with the help of a painting contractor, family, friends and employees we got the building painted.

    Though Sargent’s Stereo was threatened with probation for a year, in the end, the fine was waived and we were out only the cost of painting the business twice and having to close for a while when we painted.

    So the building remains plaid as a statement you cannot regulate everything down to the color of the building because someone will use your own regulations to thumb their nose at you. We were permitted to keep the doors the original red. Judge for yourself how offensive.