(CNN)A "Black Lives Matter" mural that was recently painted on a street surface in Tulsa's Greenwood District must be removed because it did not receive approval from the city, officials said this week.
A 'Black Lives Matter' mural on Tulsa's 'Black Wall Street' is being removed after city officials said it was never approved
Artists and volunteers, who are not officially affiliated with the Black Lives Matter organization, painted the large lettering on June 18, one day before Juneteenth and two days before President Donald Trump held a campaign rally in the city, according to the Tulsa World newspaper.
It went up on Greenwood Avenue, also called Black Wall Street, where in 1921 a white mob attacked black residents and burned black-owned businesses in what's known as the Tulsa Race Massacre.
Tulsa's City Council decided to weigh in on the mural after receiving another request, from pro-police group Back The Blue Tulsa, to paint their own message on another street in support of law enforcement officers.
During the council's meeting on Wednesday, Senior Assistant City Attorney Mark Swiney argued such signs are not legal under the city's laws.
"There really isn't anything in our laws that makes a street into a canvas to convey a message or essentially make a sign out of a street surface," Swiney said.
He suggested that if a group wanted to paint a message or a slogan, they should do so on private property.
After hearing from Swiney and other city officials, city council members determined that if they allowed one group to paint on a street surface, they would have to extend the same permission to others. And so, the "Black Lives Matter" mural would have to be removed.
"It's not about the message or anything like that," Councilor Connie Dodson said during the meeting. "I applaud it. It's great. But at the same point, it comes down to: yes, if you allow one, then you have to allow all of them."
Some councilors also brought up regulations from the Federal Highway Administration that prohibit crosswalk art, saying that the painted letters on the street surface could pose similar concerns.
"For safety reasons, federal guideline reasons and city liability reasons, I would suggest that (painting on streets) not be allowed at all and that those First Amendment freedoms get expressed another way," Dodson said.
Artist Ryan Rhoades, who helped organize the group of artists to pain the BLM mural, told CNN affiliate KOKI-TV that he wasn't surprised by the decision ordering its removal. But he said it had served its purpose, as it was up during Juneteenth and Trump's visit.
Rhoades told Tulsa World that the team used "water-based latex acrylic" paint for the letters and that it wasn't intended to last forever. But the letters have yet to fade.
CNN has reached out to Rhoades, but has not yet received a response.
A spokeswoman for the mayor's office told CNN that the city did not yet have a timeline for when they would remove the mural.