Black Lives Matter (147236)
Credit: Black Lives Matter

PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) — A southeast Portland family is standing by their beliefs after their “Black Lives Matter” sign was burned down in their front yard early Sunday morning.

“It was just, ‘Fire!’ That’s a terrible thing to hear.

‘There’s a fire in our front yard!’” said Dori Rosenblum, whose husband used their hose to extinguish the flames before the fire grew.

The family said having signs in their yard is their right to free speech and they should be allowed to put signs in the front like several of their neighbors.

They could’ve thrown it in the street, they could’ve graffitied it you know torn it in half they could’ve done a lot of things but they chose to set it on fire,” Rosenblum said.

The flames didn’t spread very far, but it did burn long enough for the plastic to burn down to nothing but white ash.

Now an empty space sits in Rosenblum’s yard, among a street full of signs with similar ideas.

Residents say it’s the message behind their neighbor’s fire that bothers them.

“I think arson on a sign like that is a particularly loaded gesture. And yeah, it makes me really angry,” said Colleen Nielsen, who has lived in the neighborhood for five years.

“I guess anger and frustration,” Virginia Gormley, a neighbor who just moved in across the street, said of her feelings about the arson. “It’s pretty representative of a lot of the political climate in our country right now.”

Regardless of the chaos early Sunday morning, Rosenblum says a small hole in her yard is nothing compared to what her sign represented.

“You know, there’s a lot of people handling a lot worse things. All day long, all the time in our society and I think…this is a symbol for what it’s like for people who have to deal with racism all the time,” said Rosenblum.

She says she just placed the sign in her yard a couple weeks ago.

Rosenblum said she’s dedicated to her workplace’s new group effort to remain equal and inclusive in their lives.

She works as a business manager and says she’s going to order another sign and she’s going to put it back in her front yard.

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