Ad shoot disrupts downtown Washington traffic

Posted March 23, 2012

By Linda Metz

Downtown Washington is usually a dead spot at midnight on any given day.

But the downtown area came alive at 12:01 a.m. Thursday as crews from a New York production company, Rascal Films, moved in for the taping of a commercial for Chevron USA, the second-largest U.S.-based integrated energy company.

Main Street between Beau and Wheeling streets was blocked off all day, and parking was prohibited around the Washington County Courthouse and the Courthouse Square building for taping on the courthouse portico. The traffic and parking restrictions came as a surprise to just about everyone coming into town, as no warning was given to the public. A letter Rascal Films sent to Main Street businesses between Beau and Wheeling was the only notice issued.

Washington Mayor Brenda Davis, along with Washington County Chief Clerk Mary Helicke, said the city and county learned of plans a couple of weeks ago, but no dates or times were made available until last week.

Both the city and county agreed to the taping, even though no one knew for whom the commercial was being made. Both Davis and Helicke said Thursday the commercial was for an energy company, but they did not know it was Chevron.

"They're being very confidential on who it is," Davis said.

As part of their agreement, Chevron will reimburse the city and county for any expenses incurred during the shoot, including parking revenue losses and the cost of police manpower.

Still, some were wondering why no warning about the street closure was issued prior to Thursday.

"I know what an inconvenience it is, but you have to look at the bright side," Davis stated. "The city of Washington will be featured in a national commercial."

Chevron spokesman Nate Calvert said the commercial is part of the energy company's global "We Agree" advertising campaign.

The commercial will feature local landmarks in Southwestern Pennsylvania, as well as local Chevron employees.

Copyright Observer Publishing Co.