Olympia woman facing fines over ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign inside her home

An Olympia woman is being threatened with fines over a sign hanging inside her home.

Shirley Pavao’s homeowners association called a Black Lives Matter sign a violation of the Lost Lake Resort community policy. However, she said she has become a target of a policy that is not legal.

Pavao has until Saturday to remove the sign or be fined.

“This is my living room. This is my Black Lives Matter artwork on my wall,” Pavao told KIRO 7′s Gwen Baumgardner.

The sign has been a point of tension in the rural neighborhood for more than two years.

“There was an outroar in the community. Specific people started complaining, wanted it down,” Pavao said.

That’s despite neighbors appearing to be in violation themselves. At one home, a Trump doormat could be seen on the ground. At another, a thin blue line flag was noticeable.

The complaints started in the summer of 2020 when she hung the sign in her front window but her HOA board took action.

“The previous board wrote up a new rule limiting what people could have on their homes, the outside of their units, what you could have in your yard, what type of signs, nothing political, so I immediately removed my sign,” Pavao said.

She then placed the sign on her living room wall and that was the end of it until last week. She received another complaint from the board.

She received an email outlining how homes can’t have signs or flags supporting or opposing political candidates, social movements, humanitarian causes or religious beliefs. And it applies to signs outside of the homes, as well as anything displaced from inside a window facing outside that can be seen from the roadway or neighboring units.

“How did the board go from you can’t have outside signs or signs outside your building to determining that they have a legal right to determine what I have in my home?”

Pavao plans to appeal the violation and says she is disappointed it has come to this.

“I cannot express how tired I am, intellectually, emotionally. How disappointed I am with some of the people in this park. How much it hurts me that my family does not feel comfortable here, because they are people of color too,” Pavao said.

While Pavao adds that she is frustrated, there are some good neighbors at the park and she still considers it home.

KIRO 7 reached out to the COA to address some of Pavao’s concerns about the policy. However, we have not heard back.