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AMERICAN NAZI PARTY ADOPTS A HIGHWAY?

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Published on Sun, Sep 11, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Mike Navarro temporarily puts up his own in opposition to the Nazi sign

YOUR FRIENDLY NAZI PARTY ADOPTS A HIGHWAY? PORTLAND, Oregon - One of the more eye-opening events this year occurred when the American Nazi Party evidently volunteered to pick up trash along a quiet stretch of rural road in Oregon state, causing an uproar after getting a sign placed there crediting its work, says Reuters. The issue has flared up in the same week that world leaders and aging survivors gathered in the Polish town of Auschwitz to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the infamous Nazi death camp. "American Nazi Party" reads the sign, which is part of the "Adopt-A-Road" program, a widely promoted Federal effort encouraging local groups to clean up road litter in exchange for recognition on small signs. The sign, located on a quiet stretch of road near Salem, Oregon, also lists the initials "NSM," which stands for the National Socialists Movement, another white supremacists group. Marion County officials say there is nothing they can do about the Nazi litter pick up because barring the group from the program will violate its First Amendment free speech rights. "Our hands are pretty much tied from a legal standpoint," Marion County Commissioner Patti Milne told the Associated Press. "This has been very difficult, but the bottom line is they are entitled to participate. We can't pick and choose what parts of the constitution to follow," said Milne, a former Republican state legislator. "I myself have gotten at least 30 complaints," Dan Estes, the senior policy advisor to the Marion County Board of Commissioners said to Reuters. "We knew there was going to be a great deal of public outcry." The Ku Klux Klan "adopted" a stretch of road in Missouri. After several legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that attempts to block the white supremacist group from the litter program was a violation of its free speech. The Oregon county put up the two signs at a cost to taxpayers of about $500, Estes informed Reuters. If the signs are destroyed, the sponsoring organization must pay for replacements. Any group sponsoring a litter pick-up must clean the roads twice a year. They must be a recognized organization, but it is usually a Boy Scout troop or civic organization. According to AP, Marion County put up the signs after a person named C. Marchand applied for a permit under which the "American Nazi Party" agreed to help clean up the road. A person answering the phone at the number given on the permit application said "maybe" when asked if he was Marchand. He declined to make any further comment, according to AP, referring inquiries to a Jim Ramm, who has previously been identified in news reports as leader of the Tualatin Valley Skins, a white-supremacist group that has been active in the Willamette Valley. No listing could be found for Ramm. The Web site for the American Nazi Party lists as its chairman Rocky J. Suhayda. Responding to an e-mail, Suhayda said his group has nothing to do with the two signs in Salem, writing, in part ... "we would never pick up garbage along a highway in this toilet-bowl of a country ..." This article comes courtesy of our LA Car Blog.

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