I learned this week that we paint a lot of things Washington Gray which seemed redundant to me especially this time of year when so much of the western half of this state is just flat out gray from skyline to skyline, sun up to sundown.
I was researching the new Aurora Seismic project. We will wrap earthquake protection around columns that support the bridge… and then paint the columns Washington Gray.
Apparently, concrete comes in all different colors and when we match old bridges to new, current work to decades-old work, and even concrete strengths (4000 PSI vs. 10,000 PSI) the grays don't match. We paint the structures the same gray so they do. It also allows us to repaint over graffiti quickly and inexpensively and leaves a more aesthetically pleasing look.
But it's not all Washington Gray. We use Mt. St. Helens Gray when we want to spice things up a bit or blend in. Noise walls that sit off the roadway in foliage get Mt. St. Helens Gray so they're less noticeable. It's all about gray camouflage.
|Mt. Baker Gray and Cascade Green on I-405|
We aren't alone in this context sensitivity. Many states do it. In the Southwest, they opt for more vibrant colors – pinks and yellows. California chooses adobe. I guess we've learned to love gray!