Tenino mayor allegedly stole prank sign from private property

TENINO — A sign advertising the future site for “Mayor Marijuana’s Dispensary and Clinic,” erected as an apparent April Fool’s Day joke, allegedly was stolen by Mayor Eric Strawn early Thursday morning, according to Tom Haase, the sign’s creator.

Haase, 61, installed the sign at his vacant lot on West Sussex Avenue in Tenino early Monday morning.

Designed by Haase’s wife, Peggy, the sign advertised the opening of a pot dispensary and clinic as well as the distribution of free “green cards” — messages meant to mock Tenino Mayor Eric Strawn who is also known by his standup comedy alias, “Mayorjuana.”

Attached to the handmade sign was a “no trespassing” order.

Per security footage, Strawn appeared to have taken the sign from the private property at 4:39 a.m. Thursday, according to Haase.

The property owner previously said he suspected the mayor but had not yet reviewed footage from the security cameras installed on his lot.

Haase will not press charges but will instead refer the matter to the city council, he said.

Asked if he stole the sign, Strawn said in an email: “Tom was also telling people I installed the sign, Which was not true… So much drama over a sign.. There are more pertinent issues to report.. I’m sorry, but lets get to the cities business. This stuff is just nonsense.”

Haase, who late last year was was named in a lawsuit by the city against seven nuisance-property owners, described his prank advertisement as an “April Fools political protest.”

“I was upset they never gave me a citation. I found out from a friend who saw it in the news,” Haase said about the suit for a code-violating dirt pile on his West Sussex Avenue property. “They didn’t have to put me in the lawsuit. All they had to do was come and give me a notice letter.”

Haase, a carpenter, was particularly frustrated, he said, because he had agreed to store the dirt after completing a sidewalk improvement project funded by the city.

Reactions to the sign, from passersby, have been mixed, according to Haase.

“They either were giving me a thumbs up or flipping me off,” he said

The lifelong Tenino resident earlier this week told The Chronicle that the mayor appeared to have no hard feelings about the sign.

Strawn on Monday confirmed that he has no plans to open a dispensary or hand out green cards, as advertised. “I had nothing to do with it. That’s private property,” the mayor said.

“It’s sad,” he added. “I guess we didn’t have enough problems already.”