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City To Erase 'Black Lives Matter' Message Painted On North Greenwood Avenue

Chris Polansky
The Black Lives Matter message on North Greenwood Avenue on Juneteenth, 2020.

Greenwood's proclamation that "BLACK LIVES MATTER" will be erased from the road surface by the city of Tulsa.

In a Wednesday meeting of the Tulsa City Council's committee on urban and economic development, councilors, attorneys and a representative from City Hall discussed what to do about the painting, which was done without a city permit.

The discussion was raised by Councilor Cass Fahler, who said that pro-police groups have inquired about the legality of painting their own message -- "BACK THE BLUE" -- on some other block in Tulsa. 

Attorney Mark Swiney of the city's legal department said roads shouldn't be used for messaging in this fashion.

"My suggestion would be, if you wanted to paint a slogan or some kind of a political statement, do that on private property. You do that on the wall of your house, you know, make a mural," Swiney said. 

"It's really not appropriate and it's not allowed to put it on the street surface."

Jack Blair, chief of staff to Mayor G.T. Bynum, said the removal "won't be popular," but that he didn't see any other options. 

A City Hall spokesperson said on Wednesday afternoon that the administration does not know when the removal will take place.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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