August 18, 2010

The iconic Hung Far Low sign will return to its historic place in Old Town/Chinatown at a special restoration ceremony to be held during First Thursday on September 2 at NW 4th Avenue and NW Couch Street. The sign will be installed over a two-day period, and then “gift-wrapped” until its unveiling at 7:00 p.m.

The sign was removed during the 2008-09 renovation of the Hung Far Low building, which now houses Ping Restaurant. Portland citizens rallied to restore the 2000-pound landmark, raising more than $8,600 through commemorative t-shirt sales, a website and special events. PDC closed the remaining gap with approximately $45,000 in grant funding. The total cost of the project – which includes removal of the sign, design and restoration work, and its re-attachment to the building, is estimated at $77,461.

“We couldn’t be happier about the return of the Hung Far Low sign to our neighborhood,” said PDC Executive Director Bruce Warner. “The PDC grant has enabled the restoration of a highly visible and popular symbol to Old Town/Chinatown, and demonstrates our strategic commitment to public amenities, historic preservation and a vibrant central city.”

About the Project
The Hung Far Low Building was built in 1916 and 1917. The eponymous restaurant was established in 1928 and operated on the second floor until its move to SE 82nd Avenue in 2005. In 2008 building owner Joanne Hong leased part of the building to HFL Project LLC, and the tenants opened Ping Restaurant on the street level in 2009.

During roof replacement work in 2008, the deterioration of the sign’s support structure became apparent, and the sign and support structure were removed from the building and stored at Security Signs. The HFL principals have been instrumental in driving the sign repair and re-installation, working with Mrs. Hong, the local Chinese community and Old Town/Chinatown businesses and neighbors, and collecting donations.

The sign’s appearance changed over the years when it was repainted and when the restaurant moved out of the neighborhood. Until 2004 the pagoda and Hung Far Low lettering on the sign were outlined in neon, and there is interest in someday restoring the neon lighting to the sign.

Initially, Security Signs planned to “re-skin” the existing sign framework, but instead proposed a new aluminum structure to replace the extensively-corroded framework. The sign has been completely re-constructed and painted to match the original colors. KPFF Engineers designed the steel and cable support structure, which was fabricated and installed by R&H Construction. Security Signs will attach the new sign to the support structure. KPFF will make structural observations during installation, and coordinate the required inspections. Lights on the building façade will illuminate the sign.