Centralia -- 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 a vacant lot he owns 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" -- meant to mock Tenino Mayor Eric Strawn, whose standup comedy alias is "Mayorjuana."
Attached to the handmade sign was a "no trespassing" order.
Haase said he reviewed footage from the security cameras installed on his lot, and Strawn appeared to have taken the sign at 4:39 a.m. Thursday.
He had said, before viewing the video, that he suspected the mayor.
Haase will not press charges but will instead refer the matter to the city council, he said.
Asked if he stole the sign, Strawn wrote 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 was named late last year 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 the 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.
The lifelong Tenino resident said earlier last week that the mayor appeared to have no hard feelings about the sign.
Strawn confirmed Monday that he has no plans to open a dispensary or hand out green cards, as advertised.
"It's sad," he added. "I guess we didn't have enough problems already."