How Portland’s street signs are made

File this under “satisfying things to stare at for hours.”

A sign maker with Portland Bureau of Transportation guides prints of street signs off of a roller.

After they’re cut out, a roller applies 80 pounds of pressure to adhere the printed sign face to the metal.

Photo by @pbotinfo

Take a minute to think about how many street signs there are across the city. Two or more at every intersection, with additional posts sprinkled in here and there — our basic math says, that’s a lot.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation recently shared a behind-the-scenes look at the process of making these graphics inside the department’s North Portland maintenance facility.

There, digital printers, an applicator, and a large cutting machine are used to create street name designs. Ultraviolet protection and anti-graffiti measures are also added to extend the life of each sign to 12 years (and beyond in some cases).

A digital printer prints street signs for the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Residents of Southeast Franklin Street, this one’s for you.

Gif by @pbotinfo

To report a missing or damaged street sign, reach out to dispatchers at, call (503) 823-1700, or email

According to PBOT, the sign maker is fabricating approx. 500 signs a week ahead of a mass update this fall. Where would we be without them? No really, we’re lost...