Sign Owner Explains "The Palm Springs of Washington"

YAKIMA, WA - "The Palm Springs of Washington"might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Yakima. But the billboard that has come to define the region has some rather simple origins.

This sign has stood for decades, but who owns it? Where did the idea come from? And why the Palm Springs?

"The purpose of the sign was to bring people from Seattle area to Yakima because this is the Palm Springs of Washington," said sign owner Gary Lukehart.

And simply put, that's it. Gary Lukehart owns the land and the sign. He put up the original billboard back in 1987 using a rather simple comparison.

"Why would you call it Palm Springs? Because we have a lot of sunshine over here, that's what we have in common with Palm Springs," Lukehart said.

Gary stands by the sign and the attention it brings but what do people in Yakima think? Many residents say they enjoy the sign and think it's unique.

People in Yakima were generally pretty supportive of the sign so NBC Right Now wanted to hear from Seattlites about the Palm Springs of Washington. Some residents didn't like it as much.

"I've been to Palm Springs, it looks nothing like Yakima," said one Seattlite.

However, others say it sounds like a good place to find some sun since it's not as sunny in Seattle.

Like it or not, Lukehart says the sign is here to stay and he plans to keep it up as long as he can.