For the next week, a seven-block stretch of downtown Yakima Avenue will be dressed up in Washington State University’s colors of crimson and gray.
On Monday morning, about eight city workers hung 40 WSU banners along the avenue between First Street and the Yakima Convention Center on North Eighth Street and painted traffic stripes the school’s colors. Large university flags were also placed at the Yakima Convention Center, City Hall, Yakima Air Terminal and atop the Larson Building.
Traffic was reduced to one lane in both directions on Yakima Avenue while the stripes were painted.
Dressing the avenue in WSU colors was prompted by a Downtown Yakima Rotary Club fundraiser that saw WSU fans cast more $20 votes than University of Washington supporters.
The project cost the city about $1,380 in paint and labor, said city spokesman Chris Waarvick.
The Downtown Rotary Club spent another $2,800 on banners and flags for both schools, said Rotary member Dana Dwinell, who helped organize the event.
“We had to buy banners from each school because we didn’t know who would win and turnaround time would be too fast and there would not be enough time to order the right banners,” she said.
She approached Waarvick about the project, and he said he moved ahead with it after City Manager Tony O’Rourke gave him the OK.
“It’s a community spirit effort and obviously it does cost money,” he said.
The paint used to restripe the avenue will wear off in about a week so the street won’t need to be restriped, he said. Workers will only have to remove the banners and flags, a job that will take less than two hours, he said.
Only about half the paint was used, so if WSU wins again next year, the city won’t have to buy additional paint, he said.
The fundraiser brought in $2,868 for Rotary Charities and will be used for scholarships for students and grants the club awards to local programs.
Rotary officials expressed disappointment at the figures, but noted the fundraiser attracted attention, generated positive feedback for the city and will definitely be considered again next year.