Nothing dippy about power-pole sign near library

Courtesy of Action Line

The “3 Phase Dip Up” sign on a power pole has no connection whatsoever to possible real-estate developments or tasty beef sandwiches.

Along the Animas River Trail, there’s a power pole with a weird white plastic sign saying “3 Phase Dip Up.” It’s just north of the Durango Public Library. Curiously, the “3 Phase Dip Up” sign also has an old “Les Miserablés” sticker on it. What does this mean? – Walker

It means it’s time for an annual eye examination.

The sticker on the sign features the iconic “Les Miserablés” waif, except she’s sporting a cowboy hat and the text reads “The Miserabillies.”

The Miserabillies, by the way, is a local old-time country band.

Be that as it may, a sign like “3 Phase Dip Up” could mean a variety of things in Our Fair City.

Considering most real-estate developments are done in phases, this sign could announce a new project called “Dip Up.”

Dip Up might be a three-phase environmentally sensitive, sustainable, holistic, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, bear-smart, bike-friendly, green-built, certified-organic, inclusive-yet-upscale micro-community for “The Durango Lifestyle.”

Or maybe not.

Then there’s that “The Miserabillies” sticker. It’s a cleaver parody of “Les Miserablés,” the musical based on Victor Hugo’s epic novel about people swept up by the French Revolution.

Could there be a connection with “3 Phase Dip Up?” It has a certain je ne sais quoi.

A “3 Phase Dip Up” sign adorned with a parody of a French icon, so that could mean only one thing: It’s time to enjoy a French Dip sandwich in three phases: immerse sandwich in au jus, take bite, repeat.

OK. That was a stretch. But you really should have a French Dip sandwich this week.

Anyway, because the sign appears on an electric pole, we’ll appeal to a higher power – the folks at La Plata Electric Association.

Our friend Indiana Reed is the person who handles inquiries about 3 Phase Dip Up signs.

She consulted with engineers and came back with bad news: “It’s nothing really sexy or exciting,” she reported.

“It’s just a marker to let linemen know that there’s a buried three-phase power line in the ground, and at that pole, the lines dip up and now run overhead.”

In other words, it’s a safety device.

So a sign is a good thing. And so is that “Les Miserabillies” sticker.

Admirable is a community when the defacement of property promotes a cultural event.

In addition to immersing your French Dip sandwich this week, let’s immerse yourself in art. It can be electrifying.

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As you know, the Durango Dictionary features several words with unique local meanings. Among them: “animosity,” the way many people feel about all the tubers on the Animas River.

Thanks to loyal reader Mike, who adds a related daffy-nition:

“I nominate ‘oxymoron’ for the Durango Dictionary. Oxymoron (‘OK-see -MOHR-on’) noun – What will overrun Oxbow Park if tubers are allowed and law enforcement is not on site.”

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Last week’s column referred to Amber Blake, the city’s multimodal administrator, as the Queen of Orange in honor of orange parking ticket envelopes.

Guess what? White is the new orange. The city is changing vendors, and ticket envelopes are now the color of fresh snow.

Additionally, orange was blacklisted by the Parking and Transportation Demand Management Group, a local collective of businesses, citizens and others who advise the city.

The group felt orange was too agitating, Amber said. “It made people angry.”

Forget white. If Durango wants to calm irritable scofflaws, it should use soothing colors.

The Benjamin Moore paint people have a suggestion: the hue “Peaceful Garden,” a sage-green said to be relaxing. It goes well with “Silk Laurel,” “Smoked Truffle” and “Baby Fern.”

Now that would look quite lovely on most windshields.

Email questions to or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. You can request anonymity if you ever wondered just who comes up with paint names.

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