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Racy Billboard Reappears in Avondale

By Victoria Johnson | March 12, 2013 6:34am | Updated on March 12, 2013 1:52pm

AVONDALE — A billboard deemed too racy for River North has reappeared above a strip mall in Avondale.

And, for now, the billboard will be staying put, according to Ald. Rey Colon's (35th) chief of staff, Martha Ramos.

"Right now they're protected according to the city code," Ramos said.

The advertisement for Toronto-based adult dating website ArrangementFinders.com features porn star Bree Olson and the message "Because the best job is a b--w job," with the middle letters actually blurred out.

Ramos said Colon did not know the billboard was going up beforehand.

"We were not aware that was going up in our ward," she said. "The alderman does not review that."

Its appearance above Portillo's in River North last month caused quite a stir when the restaurant's owner and management expressed disgust over the billboard's content.

After being up for about a week, it was taken down at the request of Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).

Now it's popped back up above a Spin Cycle laundromat in an Avondale strip mall on Milwaukee Avenue, just north of Diversey Avenue.

"In our eyes, it never should have come down in the first place, so when it got taken down we started working with the billboard company to put it back up," said A.J. Perkins, ArrangementFinders' marketing director.

Perkins said the owner of the billboard company, Urban Core Outdoor, felt he had to take it down after being pressured to do so.

"It just wasn't worth it to continue to go down that path, in his eyes," Perkins said.

A message left at Urban Core Outdoor was not immediately returned.

Most people patronizing the stores in the strip mall Monday hadn't even noticed the billboard.

Once it was pointed out to them, both men and women had a similar reaction — the corners of their mouths curled ever so slowly into smiles as they took it in.

"It's good," said Dennis Vazda, who was there to shop at the T-Mobile store. "It's funny, something new."

Vince Baker, a security guard for a BMO Harris bank also was amused, but said he was concerned about kids seeing it.

"It is kind of, you know, graphic, as far as kids around here," Baker said.

Perkins said he hopes the billboard will stay up for the full four weeks it was supposed to be up at Portillo's, and longer if possible, barring any new backlash.

"I'm trying to get it extended," he said. "If it's not this billboard, then we'll put up a different design."