OAKLAND, Calif. - Small paintings of gnomes that have
popped up on utility poles have become a community sensation in Oakland,
prompting Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to say Tuesday that it will
keep them in place for now.
The hand-painted portraits on 6-inch blocks of wood began going up
last year in an apparent effort to brighten up the blue-collar
California city. There are currently more than 2,000 of the images on
utility poles, with many screwed to the bases.
The gnomes have red hats, white beards and brown shoes. Some of the images contain a mushroom.
Word that PG&E planned to remove the paintings sparked an
outpouring of support from residents who said the gnomes add character
to the city.
PG&E spokesman Jason King planned to meet Tuesday with the
artist, who requested to remain anonymous, and a member of the City
Council. The utility hopes to eventually relocate the gnome paintings
from the poles to other spots in the same neighborhoods.
"We've received a lot of feedback from residents who love the
gnomes," King told The Associated Press. "We're looking for solutions.
We'll keep them where people can enjoy them."
King said PG&E did not want to encourage such installations,
explaining a proliferation of such images could cause damage or make it
difficult for crews to access the poles.