• Billboards on Native American Land

    Stilliguamish Tribe digital billboard along I-5 in a state which prohibits digital billboards along freeways

    A Tulsa World story about a digital billboard on native american land caught insider’s eye.  Some residents are complaining about a 20′ by 60′  Gordon Outdoor digital billboard erected on land owned by the Muscogee Creek Indian Nation.  The article correctly points out that the city can do nothing because Native American tribes are immune from local land use regulations.

    Washington state has lots of billboards on Native American land.  The state has one of the toughest sign codes in the United States.  Digital billboards are prohibited on interstates and in Seattle and Spokane.  Insider sees lots of digital billboards, however, when he drives the freeway.  The Chehalis Tribe  operates two digital billboards off I-5 between Seattle and Portland.  The Muckelshoot tribe leases land to static and billboard operators along I-5 around Tacoma.  The Stilliguamish tribe operates 5 digital billboards on Indian land just north of Everett.

    Insider’s take:  Expect to see more billboards on native american land as sign codes tighten.  When regulations gets too onerous the Native American tribes see opportunity.  This has happened with casinos and cigarettes and fireworks and now digital billboards.  The solution is enlightened regulation not a draconian sign code which make it impossible to site new digital billboards.


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    One Comment

    1. TY for brief mention of billboard issue in Tulsa. To be sure, it is a meta-level issue re: (1) land use on a residentially zoned lot in neighborhood that has restrictive cov’s running with land. They don’t disappear when when title signed over to restricted status; (2) per bia application/approval process, city was to be notified to weigh in on potential jurisdictional issues– never happened. Just two of many many things the lot owner did to skirt process that has left everyone with collateral damage of hers and bb owner decision to erect bb–when they knew they were skirting procedures (including Bia) that would have never allowed that billboard on a residential lot in the middle of the city.