Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Consequential or silly?

New Wells Fargo sign has MPCC seeing red (plus gold and black)

There was a new sign installed at the Wells Fargo branch last week that replaces a very similar sign that had graced the site for many years. The replacement sign has somewhat larger gold lettering for the bank's name, the color red covers more of the surface area than was true of the old sign, and the Wells Fargo Wagon (and, for that matter, the Wells Fargo horses) are now black instead of white. These changes, apparently, are just too garish for some residents (can something be too garish or is just being garish sufficient?).

At any rate, the reaction of the Madison Park Community Council (MPCC) was swift and devastating. A letter was immediately drafted and delivered to the Wells Fargo manager asking for a return to the past: Give Us Back the Old Sign (or better yet, no sign at all!) The new sign is just too out of line with the village character of Madison Park and should not stand, the MPCC insisted.  In a posting to some Madison Park residents, the council urged that citizens voice their complaints directly to Wells Fargo's local representatives.

As of yesterday, we understand from Wells Fargo that there have been two complaints. Here, for comparison purposes, is what the old sign looked like when lit up at night:


  1. Not a silly complaint but a ridiculous one. Too ridiculous.

  2. MPCC, in my opinion, has the best interests of preserving the village feel of the neighborhood at heart. Unfortunately this is often express in reactionary and petty ways. This is one of them.
    I happen to like the old sign better, but it has no impact on our community. I will say that the small local businesses are at a disadvantage here, current signage is very poor for visibility

  3. The idea that the community thinks they can control what people do with their private property here in Madison Park is un-nerving. It makes it sound like we have a "Home Owner's Association," or some such over-bearing entity. When will someone be around to mow my lawn?

    As long as the sign is in compliance with City standards, MPCC should stand down and quit whining. Change is part of life. It will be okay.

  4. Wonder what they must think of my newly painted Terra Cotta house! Oh my... HA!

  5. The above comments bring up the MPCC issue again and that is good! So who does the MPCC really represent and who appointed them to speak for Madison Park! Did you vote for the current members of the Council and do you even know who they are? When was the last time the Council had an open contested election?

    The MPCC should ask for the opinion of Park residents before they claim to represent them to businesses and/or the City of Seattle!


      All of your questions about members, rules, meetings, etc. can be answered by visiting the website. That is, IF you really want answers.

      If you want them to consider your personal views, you had better start attending meetings and raising your hand, better join the board, better start getting involved.

      Otherwise, please just sit QUIETLY by as the world goes on around you. I can't type the address into your computer for you. I can't take you to the meetings. I can't raise your hand for you.

      Get involved, or please spare us the same old tired routine about the MPCC. The spotlight is shining brightly on you. You have all of the power to influence the things you are concerned about, and are choosing not to take advantage. That's your fault, not ours.

    2. The last comment assumes that the only place comments can be made about the Council is at their meeting. They also assume that the writer does not attend meetings, which is an incorrect and bad assumption! It also appears that the individual does not understand that this blog is open to all and NOT controlled or run by the MPCC!!! Please stop trying to SQUELCH those of us who use this BLOG...

      The point that the comment was trying to make is that Council does not represent the area nor does it make any attempts to gather comments about issues via their Listserver or other 21st century communication devices. It would be nice if the Council invited participation outside of meetings and used "Social Media" available today. They could even have honest, open discussions and elections that could involve more than the few who try to run Madison Park. Not everyone has the time to go to meetings and hear more about the 520 bridge which is being done despite what the Council thinks!

      Council come and go, nothing really changes other than a few names on a roster. Real change has only occurred from the outside such as Friends of the Park and HMP! The status quo is great for some, but is that what Madison Park wants?

      Since there is no other forum available today, let us continue to use this blog to express our views without the fear of being intimidated for having done so!

  6. MPCC, Thank you for protecting the character of the neighborhood. Why should banks dictate?

  7. Banks don't dictate, but private businesses have signs and there happens to be a bank at that location. There used to be an ARCO station where Starbucks now sits. It had a big sign and somehow we have all lived the intervening 30+ years in order to be able to complain about this sign. I know its sexy to bash "banks," but let's keep it real, okay?

    If you don't want sign issues, then adopt a REAL (not imaginary as you have now) set of sign regulations and figure out how to weave that set of regulations into what the City already has, so it can be legally enforced. Otherwise, rely on the generosity of private business to spend thousands of dollars to appeal to the whims of whiny people. Or, better yet, just ignore the sign.

    Oh, and before you go and be rude to the people who work IN the bank, consider that they have as much say as to their signage as YOU do.

    1. Point well taken ... "figure out how to weave that set of regulations into what the city already has..." It is necessary to do the research and combine the interests/regulations of the city with the interests of the Madison Park community. I plan on attending the next MPCC meeting to join the volunteers who serve our community. I want to be one of the Madison Park residents who truly value living next to the lake in this now-big city and who care enought to protect the unique village quality that comes from living at the end of the line.

  8. I have lived in Madison Park for 15+ years. No one questions Wells Fargo's right to have a sign. The prior sign never shone into my northern windows at night. Saturday night I had company and "Wells Fargo Bank" was an uninvited guest. Not once in your blog did you indicate that the "BIG" issue was the illumination onto the residential area. Your comments were unfair to those of us who are affected and asked for a response from individuals when they were not explained the issue.

    The statement "Silly" or "Consequential" was disrespectful to those of us who are concerned.

    Elana McQuade

  9. the sign is so tacky and out of place. does WF not have eyes and can see how out of place it is? what idiots to think this is ok. madison park used to be a sweet place without this kind of strip mall look.
    the institutional houses on mcgilvra blvd are so out of place too. their taste is only in their mouths for some of these nouveau riche. yeah we get it, you have money.

  10. I had to look at the pictures 3 times to see the difference. Is it a lot bigger or brighter in person?

    After reading this article and playing "spot the difference", I noticed that the WF on Denny has a new sign with black horses too. It looks like they updated their branding.

  11. It appears a lot bigger and especially a lot brighter. The old sign was a combination of red and black, which you can't see. This is a much brasher looking red with big gold lettering. Yes they are updating their branding. However, for whatever reason this sign is positioned to shine directly into residential housing. The old sign did not.

  12. As former Director of Historic Madison Park I learned a few things during that time. Some of the most common themes from the community input meetings we held were;

    1) The community wants to be involved in visual and physical changes to the neighborhood.
    2) The community wants to maintain a 'village' feel and not get 'corporate' with big signs and other branding that takes away from that quaintness we all bought real estate here to enjoy.
    3) If you do intend to make a change, whether you are one of the rare 'mom and pops' or a major corporation, you talk about it - as it effects our surroundings and sense of our community.

    With the Wells Fargo exterior signage changing to bright and massive, this great bank (my own) did not follow any of the steps one should take when a part of a community. This to me, speaks volumes. They are a corporation that doesn't care what the community they reside in feels or thinks, (or they would have asked) they just do whatever they like because they can. It has even been shared (not sure of the truth as it's rumor) that the original permit for the signage that is at least 8' high now, was much smaller, and that AFTER the sign was installed the city was notified that it did not fit in with the original permit dimensions, so, presto, they simply altered the original permit to fit the now installed sign. Really?

    Wells Fargo should own up and recognize that if they want to be a part of the community - they need to actually act like they are..

    When you now drive into Madison Park, instead of seeing the nicely carved 'Welcome to Madison Park' sign - all you see is Wells Fargo. I guess we
    now live in Wells Fargo Village. Do you like it that way?

    Lisa Molitch
    Madison Park Resident

  13. No. Instead of seeing the gentle slope of Madison leading to the beautiful lake ahead, our attention is now gripped by the big bright red, black and yellow bank sign. Welcome home.

  14. Wells Fargo has 12,000 branches and employees 300,000 people all over the world. They are about the 20th largest corporation in the country.

    They don't care about the sign in Madison Park. They don't even know what Madison Park is. Beyond the branch manager, who is powerless, they don't even know they have a branch in Madison Park. I know we think we're real great and all, but let's be real.

    The people in the branch are separated by probably six degrees from anyone that makes decisions on signs. I know it is fun to pretend that we live in a time-warp and it is really 1950, but that just isn't the reality of the matter.

    The only question is, can we influence the City in terms of how they permit signs in Madison Park? Hopefully, they are willing to change the rules, just for us.

  15. This is so silly! Wells Fargo has changed their signage at ALL of their branches across the US. For one, it looks MUCH better and cleaner. If anyone has the time to criticize such a simple improvement they are nuts. Un-nerving is right.


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