December 20th, 2013 12:40 pm | by AARON MESH News | Posted In: Business, Transportation, Activism, Environment

Portland International Airport Wants Court to Delay Debut of Clearcutting Ads

UPDATE: Judge says no delay; airport will display ad

clearcutThe Oregon Wild ad in the Eugene airport

UPDATE, 4 pm: Port of Portland spokesman Steve Johnson tells WW the airport will display an anti-clearcutting ad as soon as environmental group Oregon Wild sends the poster.

But Johnson says the Port plans to appeal the Multnomah County Circuit Court decision.

"We believe that if the Port were to accept and post political and religious advertising in the PDX terminal, the public might conclude that the Port endorses the messages being advertised," he says.

"This is a particularly troublesome problem in the case of religious advertising," Johnson continues, "because the Port, as a governmental entity, must maintain the separation of church and state."

Johnson also says the court's ruling could force the airport to accept more offensive political ads—"such as those promoting terrorist organizations."

UPDATE, 12:40 pm: A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge this morning denied the Port of Portland's request for delay in posting anti-clearcutting ads in Portland International Airport.

Environmental group Oregon Wild will resubmit its ad to the Port, says Dave Fidanque, executive director of the ACLU of Oregon.

"We're hoping that the Port will finally comply with the constitution," Fidanque says. 

UPDATE, 2:15 pm: Steve Pedery, the conservation director for Oregon Wild, says his environmental group resubmitted its ad to the airport today. It's bigger than the one pictured above, which hangs in the Eugene airport.

Here's the ad Oregon Wild wants at PDX:

Ad submitted to Portland International Airport

ORIGINAL POST, 9:25 am: One week after a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge ruled the Portland International Airport must allow advertisements declaring Oregon "Home of the Clear-Cut," the Port of Portland is asking for more time.

The Port, which runs the airport, has a hearing at 10 am today, asking for a stay on Judge Eric J. Neiman's order—allowing opportunity for an appeal before posting the ads.

On Dec. 12, Neiman rejected the Port's argument that the state constitution intended an exception to its free-speech clause for political statements on government-owned property. The airport rejected the ads in September.

The ACLU of Oregon, which argued the case for environmental group Oregon Wild, says the stay would only further delay justice.

"We're saying that our clients have already had their constitutional rights violated for all this time," says ACLU of Oregon executive director Dave Fidanque, "and the Port shouldn't be able to continue violating their constitutional rights."

WW is seeking comment from Port officials.

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