We live in a beautiful place and we are reminded of this every time we bike, walk, or drive around Humboldt Bay. Unfortunately, for many years these scenic coastal views have been marred by the presence of unsightly billboards jutting up along the Highway 101 Safety Corridor between Arcata and Eureka. 

Humboldt Baykeeper has been working for years to have these billboards removed - legally and permanently. There have been many unsuccessful attempts in the past to remove these billboards, but in Sept. 2013, the California Coastal Commission responded to our calls to address this blight. Since then, Caltrans has finally revoked permits for most of the billboards along the bay. Since 2012, 16 fewer billboards obstruct our beautiful bay views between Arcata and Eureka, and today only 3 remain. We will continue our efforts until they are all gone for good.


Chalk up three points for team billboard removal.


Three billboards along the Hwy. 101 corridor between Arcata and Eureka have been cut down — not by vandals this time but by the signs’ owners — a development sure to delight local activists fighting for removal of all billboards along that stretch around Humboldt Bay.


The signs were located on the north (bay) side of 101 between Airport Blvd. and the bridge over Eureka slough.


Local activist Dave Meserve’s online petition “Humboldt Billboard Bye Bye,” reached the 1,000 signature mark on Saturday.


According to the former Arcata City Councilmember, signatures from the Change.org petition will be presented at local city council and Humboldt County Board of Supervisors meetings in March.



While Arcata resident Dave Meserve admits that putting up signs to challenge the existence of bayside billboards along Highway 101 to be a bit ironic, he said his signs are no different than the billboards he claims are currently standing unpermitted or without landowner permission.

“I have as much a right to put up my signs out there as they do to have their illegal signs down there,” he said.

Coastal commission wins round in fight over Highway 101 safety corridor


After nearly a year in civil court, advertising giant CBS Outdoor Inc.’s bid to strip a billboard removal clause from the Eureka-Arcata Safety Corridor improvement project was dismissed by a Humboldt County Superior Court judge on Wednesday — but the battle of the billboards may not be over yet.

CBS Outdoor Inc., which owns several billboards in Humboldt County, filed a writ of mandate against the California Coastal Commission, Caltrans, and the Humboldt County Association of Governments in January 2014 after the commission decided to require Caltrans to remove as many billboards as feasible as part of the agency’s Eureka-Arcata Route 101 Corridor Improvement Project. Caltrans agreed to the requirements in November 2013. The $46 million project proposes to improve safety conditions along the 6-mile corridor by closing several median crossings and constructing a raised interchange at the Indianola Cutoff.


In the face of significant public outcry, including an online petition with more than 650 signatures as well as roughly a dozen public speakers at today’s General Plan Update meeting, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors reversed its previous straw vote and unanimously agreed to ban off-site electronic billboards in the next draft of the general plan.


At the start of the meeting, a long line of people voiced their opinions on digital billboards, using such adjectives as “horrendous,” “distracting,” “awful” and “hideous.” Only one person, a local sign business owner, spoke in favor of the board’s previous vote.


When it came time for the board to discuss the matter, 4th District Supervisor Virginia Bass said, “It’s been a really interesting couple of weeks,” filled, she added, with discussions with constituents as well as research from county staff.


First District Supervisor Rex Bohn noted that there has never been a ban on electronic billboards, and 5th District Supervisor Ryan Sundberg said he appreciated hearing from people, though he doesn’t care for some of the disrespectful messages he received.


Ultimately, though, all five supervisors voted to go back to the recommendation of the Planning Commission, which called for a ban on billboards located somewhere besides the location of the business being advertised.


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