▶️ Why are the street lamps purple at Empire and Purcell in Bend?


When the sun’s out, they look like normal street lamps. But after it gets dark, the difference is night and day.

You may have seen the street lights illuminating the roundabout at Purcell Boulevard and Empire Avenue with cones of blue and purple light.

“It has maybe something to do with the glare or reflection, that was the only couple times I thought about it, and that was it,” said Tommy Wilkinson, who lives near the intersection.

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It’s not the glare or the reflection, and it’s not for some special purpose. It’s, in fact, a manufacturing defect.

“This roundabout was built around 2019,” senior project manager Sinclair Burr said. “At that time, we installed all the lights to the specifications, the right warmth, the right color. But since then, two of the lights have been hit. So they have been replaced by Pacific Power.”

The defect lies in the fixture of the bulb. The laminate gives it the common warm white and yellow color. But as the laminate degrades over time, the light shines through as blue.

It’s not just happening here, either. Washington state, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, New Mexico, and California, New York, and even Canada and Europe, have seen the chromatic aberrations. 

The City of Bend says Pacific Power plans to replace the fixtures sometime in the future.


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