Sign slung over I-5 in metro area illegal
EUGENE, Ore. - A sign temporarily displayed from a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 5 asserts: "Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white."
Who put it there? What does it mean? And: Is it racist?
The Community Alliance of Lane County said they consider the sign hate speech.
The head of the local NAACP learned of the sign via social media.
"One of my kids actually showed me a Facebook posting of it yesterday, and that's how I found out," said Eric Richardson, president of the local NAACP. "I think being anti-racial is being pro human."Richardson said if the sign is speaking against anything, it is speaking against multiculturalism. "I understand that there could be a positive view on that is people are trying to assert their personhood and their identity which is a positive thing but we don't have to be anti anything to do that," Richardson said. "I teach my kids that we're all one people and and to really respect other people's cultures and identities, and so I consider that being anti-racial."
A state police trooper stationed in Springfield confirmed seeing the banner displayed over I-5, which runs between "Simpsons" inspiration Springfield and Eugene, the Beaver State's second largest city and the oft tie-dyed home of the top-ranked Oregon Ducks football team.
A photo posted on social media and a photojournalist's account of seeing the temporary sign suggest it may have been displayed as many as 3 times for an undetermined ammount of time.
Cities and states often have rules and regulations for the use of public space to post signs of any kind in Oregon when visible from city or county roads or state highways.
The Oregon Department of Transportation said such a sign would wouldn't allow the sign - not because of what it says but because of the safety hazard the sign could pose on such a busy stretch of interstate.
"From our standpoint, safety trumps free speech when it comes to the safety of interstate travelers," said Rick Little, spokesperson for ODOT. "Occasionally during the political season when political parties and their participants are very active, sometimes well see people who want to present their political signs we don't allow that either."