Racial slur on sign shocks neighbors in Gladstone

GLADSTONE, Ore. -- A sign containing a racial slur that hangs from a Gladstone man's garage has some folks shocked in his neighborhood.

The private property sign reads: "No (derogatory term)." It's posted on the side of a garage at the man's home on Howell Street off Highway 99.

Most people in Gladstone would never have noticed it -- it's at the end of a dead-end street and easily missed. While it has been tacked on the side of the garage for months, several neighbors just recently drew attention to it.

One neighbor snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook, and one of the neighbors' friends in turn alerted KATU about the sign.

"That's shocking to me. We've lived here almost, about 20 years, and I've never seen anything like that," said neighbor Penny Hathaway.

Hathaway called the sign "embarrassing."

"The people here I consider my friends, our community," she said. "Our kids grow up here. It's a tight-knit, small-town community, so it's shocking to see something like that."

We talked to the homeowner, Tony Miller, on Monday.

While he did not wish to go on camera, Miller gave us his explanation. He said the word meant something different than what folks were inferring -- he pointed to a definition in an early 20th century dictionary that defines the word as someone who is "ignorant" or an "idiot."

He said the sign's been up for a year and he's never had any issues, though he does admit some folks might see it as racist.

We asked if he was going to remove the sign; he said he might. Forty-five minutes after talking with a KATU News crew, though, the offending word had been erased from the sign.