Judge upholds Oregon constitutional protections for freedom of speech, bars Port of Portland from rejecting anti-clearcutting ads on political grounds.

A Multnomah County Circuit Court ruling has barred the Port of Portland, which manages the Portland Airport, from rejecting advertising on political grounds. The ruling comes in a case brought by a coalition of conservation organizations and the ACLU Foundation of Oregon over the airport’s refusal to accept an anti-clearcutting advertisement in the airport.

“The court followed well established principles of freedom of expression under the Oregon Constitution, said David Fidanque, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon. “We hope that the Port of Portland will now put this matter to rest by allowing Oregon Wild to display their ad at the airport as soon as possible.”

The tourism-themed ad seeks to draw attention to proposals by Senator Wyden and others to vastly expand clearcutting on public lands in western Oregon, and the effects such logging could have on the state’s tourism and outdoor recreation industry. “We are pleased with this ruling, and with the opportunity to draw attention to Oregon’s weak logging rules,” said Sean Stevens, Executive Director of the conservation group Oregon Wild. “The Port of Portland must honor the constitution just like any other government agency."

The ad is part of a statewide campaign funded by Oregon Wild, The Sierra Club, Audubon Society of Portland, and the Center for Biological Diversity. It features a post-card like design and a photograph of a clearcut in Oregon’s Coast Range, with the tag line “Welcome to Oregon, Home of the Clearcut!”

A version of the ad ran without controversy in the Eugene Airport.

Source: American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon

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