SW Bend HOA to residents: No ‘solidarity’ or political signs, except at election time
Only allowed 45 days before election -- and must come down 3 days after
BEND, Ore (KTVZ) -- Some residents in southwest Bend's River Rim neighborhood are reacting with concern to a board letter telling them that what are defined as 'solidarity signs" must come down until election time.
Resident Nicolas Hall told NewsChannel 21 on Sunday the notice came after several residents put Black Lives Matter signs and other social issue support signs up at their homes in the neighborhood.
“I think that there is a surprise on how that decision was made," Hall said.
Homeowners sent NewsChannel 21 a copy of the letter from the board. It reads:
"The Board upon review of the CC&R's, ARC Guidelines, and Community Guidelines has determined that these new types of signs popping up in the community, we will refer to "solidarity" signs or any other type of sign that shares a cause that you are passionate about, will be viewed as a “political sign.”
"Therefore, these signs and all other types of political signs may only be displayed on an Owner's lot for 45 days prior to an official election and must be removed within 3 days after the election. Signs are not permitted to be placed in windows or attached to fencing. No more than 3 political signs shall be displayed at any given time.
"We are now requesting that all political type signs be removed at this time."
Hall described how he and some of his neighbors feel about the move.
“The big issue that we all have seen is the redefinition of any signage of, that your world view is now your political view -- which is a vast difference, and maybe an overstep in their vast definition of terms."
According to resident Noah Abelson-Gertler, some residents also were told that American flags were the only flag allowed to be displayed in the neighborhood. But he said he can't find the justification in their regulations.
"Nic has looked at the CC&Rs, I have looked at the CC&Rs, my wife has looked at the CC&Rs, that neighbor has looked at the CC&Rs," hes aid. "Nowhere in the CC&Rs does it state that American flags are the only that you can flight."
Abelson-Gertler said he, too is frustrated and "upset. And if our speech is limited and we don’t have free speech, when it comes to an election time -- especially an election like this, everyone needs to be able to express their values and beliefs."
"If you want to express 'Make America Great Again' with use of a flag, do it. If you want to express 'Black Lives Matter, or you want to put out a Gay Pride flag, do it," he said.
NewsChannel 21 reached out to the homeowners association board for comment. President Lawrence Waters said, "Our HOA CC&Rs ban signs, unless the board approves them -- something that would be fraught with subjectivity and potentially unintentionally discriminatory.
"So until we can determine what our options are, we are basically just reminding everyone of what the CC&Rs say," Waters said.