EUGENE, Ore. - A Eugene businessman has parked an army tank at his business in downtown Eugene as he asks the city for "free speech."
Bob Macherione, owner of Sports Car Shop, is frustrated over the city's sign regulations.
In opposition, he has parked a friend's British army tank at his business with a sign that says, "Freedom of speech costs $169 in Eugene."
The businessman's frustration began early this year when he put up a large, banner in protest of the Lane Transit District's EmX bus project at his business.
Macherione did not obtain a permit or pay $169 to apply for one.
"It's not a public safety hazard, and I should be allowed to express myself on my own property that I pay taxes on," Macherione said. "For me to cave in and pay the sign fee, means everyone else has to pay the sign fee. I just refuse to do that."
The City of Eugene fined Macherione $100 earlier this year. According to Assistant City Attorney Jerry Lidz, if Macherione had just applied for a permit, he wouldn't have had any problem hanging his sign.
But Macherione does not believe anyone should have to pay for a permit to voice their concerns to the public.
"I don't believe it's against the law at all," Macherione said. "I've appealed the fine that they've implemented to try and suppress our free speech rights."
Macherione has appealed the fine, and a hearing is set for Wednesday at 3 p.m.
Meanwhile, the EmX project is still under environmental study.