PORTLAND, ORE. (CN) – The Tri-County Transportation District of Oregon unconstitutionally refuses to accept the Karuk Tribe of California’s ad on buses, the tribe says. “The ad depicts three salmon facing a wall of electrical sockets, and bears the caption: ‘Salmon shouldn’t run up your electric bill. They should run up the Klamath River.'” Tri-County told the tribe that the message “did not constitute an ‘advertisement'” and that it did not want its buses “to become a public forum for the dissemination, debate, and/or discussion of public issues.”
The Karuk and the nonprofit co-plaintiff Friends of the River Foundation want to restore salmon runs on the Klamath River, which have been impeded by hydroelectric dams. They claim in Multnomah County Court that the decision of Tri-County’s Advertising Standards Committee is pre-empted by the U.S. and Oregon Constitutions.