An advertisement welcoming travelers to Oregon, "home of the clearcut," will not be greeting people passing through PDX.
The Port of Portland rejected the advertisement for the Portland International Airport.
The ad is part of a statewide campaign funded by Oregon Wild, The Sierra Club, Audubon Society of Portland, and Center for Biological Diversity. It features a postcard-like design and an image of a clearcut in Oregon's coast range with the tag line, "Welcome to Oregon, Home of the Clearcut!" The website ClearCutOregon.com is also included.
A version of the ad is on display at the Eugene Airport.
The conservation group's executive director released a statement saying the Portland airport accepts advertising from all forms of corporations.
"It cannot play favorites by rejecting advertising from conservationists who oppose clearcutting simply because it makes the logging industry and some politicians uncomfortable," said Sean Stevens.
A statement from the Port of Portland said it was not a matter of playing favorites.
"We did this because PDX rules restrict the placement of religious (and political) advertising in the airport to maintain neutrality on religious and political issues."
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon is now involved in the situation. The agency, along with Oregon Wild, submitted a letter to the port about its "legal obligation as a government agency to abide by the Oregon constitution and its safeguards for freedom of speech."
The ACLU, in a statement, said the organization has no position on forest practices. However, according to Executive Director David Fidanque, this situation is "exactly the type of content-based restriction our constitutional free speech protections are designed to prevent."
A Port of Portland spokesperson, in an email to Fox 12, said "In formulating the rules guiding airport operations, the Port researched these issues and determined that the Port of Portland is not in violation of the Constitution in applying these rules."
A 138-page document outlining Portland International Airport rules, including advertising restrictions and free speech permits, is available at PortlandofPortland.com. It states, in part, "The Port does not permit the placement of advertising materials at the Airport that contain religious or political messages."
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