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.


Regarding “Sticker shock: HCAOG surprised by billboard removal costs” (Times-Standard, Nov. 23, Page A1), what is truly shocking, beyond the absurd price quoted for their removal, is the staggering audacity and insolence of this giant corporation in claiming that “the proposed removals violate constitutional statutes against illegal takings, and that neither Caltrans nor the commission have the authority to implement such a condition.”

In reality, CBS Outdoor, Inc. (a division of the media conglomerate CBS Corporation) has for decades been profiting from these billboards' visual pollution at the expense of public trust resources.


Today in Newport Beach, the Coastal Commission finalized its Sept. 12 decision on the 101 Corridor Project. The Commissioners made it very clear to Caltrans that removal of all billboards between Arcata and Eureka is a critical component of the project, without which they would reconsider their "conditional approval." North Coast District Commissioner Martha McClure agreed, saying that Friday's letter from billboard company attorneys translates to "Caltrans may have to pay for removal of the signs, but that's the applicant's issue."


Looks like the company that owns all those billboards between Arcata and Eureka just recently found out that the Coastal Commission wants them all torn down. It's response? "You can't make us!"

That's a rough translation of the comically wordy lawyer-speak contained in a letter from attorney Anthony M. Leones of Miller Starr Regalia on behalf of CBS Outdoor Inc., owners of the billboards. What Leones actually wrote was, "The illegalities that inhere to these proposed actions are of a constitutional size." (Jeepers!)

One of the big gains at the Sept. 12 Coastal Commission hearing in Eureka was the requirement that Caltrans will remove billboards on Highway 101 between Arcata and Eureka.


This visual blight mars our appreciation of the Bay’s scenic beauty, and the Commissioners agreed that this is a fair mitigation for the visual impact of a 25-foot high, half-mile long interchange at Indianola Cutoff. Many of these billboards will also need to be removed to make way for the Coastal Trail, which was also added as a condition of the Caltrans project.

Click HERE to download



Which billboard or other signage do you think uglies up 101 along the bay more than any other, either because of where it is or what it looks like? Take a gander at the candidates below. Then click HERE to cast your vote.


(Voting ends at 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, 2012).


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