As an Orange County, California native I've long been attune to the small minded restrictions of the modern municipality. They're one of my biggest pet peeves. Newport Beach closes its beaches at 10 pm. Mission Viejo prohibits walking up to the window of drive thru fast food restaurants. Irvine restricts the color one's house can be painted, and makes it verboten to put a basketball hoop on the roof over one's driveway. It is now illegal to climb on the rocks at beaches county wide.

My frustration at these petty rules, and their cousins in cities red and blue across America, help explain why this interview from Portland, Oregon so delighted me. Mark Lakeman, the interview subject, grew tired of a banal intersection near his house, and did something entirely unexpected. It was technically illegal, as city officials soon pointed out. Remarkably, however, the people in charge stopped themselves from reflexively impeding the eccentricities of their residents, and a special project was born.

I wonder how many readers of this blog have been stymied in some way by officials in the city where they live. If you've got stories, send them to