About the Portland Monuments Project (PMP)

Information
Portland Monuments Banner
The City of Portland is part of a national conversation about the meaning and presence of historical monuments. A thorough and inclusive process will help Portland City Council determine the future of monuments in the City.
On this page

The Portland Monuments Project is the City of Portland's journey of discovery and reinvention. We're diving deep into our city's history, unearthing untold stories, and celebrating the diverse voices that shape Portland. Together, we're not just preserving the past; we're reimagining it. Join us in this exciting venture to redefine what our monuments represent and ensure they resonate with the vibrant tapestry of our community.

The resources below provide information on our approach to these monuments, the public's involvement, and how you can participate in shaping the future of this project.


Reevaluation of Historical Monuments

Portland 5 Monuments

In 2020, protests and calls for racial justice led to a rethinking of monuments in Portland. This includes monuments of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, George Washington, and other pieces like Harvey Scott and York.

Each monument tells a unique story. George Washington, a key figure in our history, is also remembered for being a slave owner. His statue was removed during protests. Theodore Roosevelt and Harvey Scott also have histories that mix achievement with controversy. York's story reflects, the yet often unrecognized, contributions of Black Oregonians and the injustices they’ve faced throughout history.

 Learn more


The Story of York

York Bust

The York Explorer's story is especially powerful. An unrecognized African American member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, York's statue replaced Harvey Scott's in Mount Tabor Park. This led to meaningful discussions about racial justice, though the statue was later vandalized and removed.

 Learn more


Restoration of the Thompson Elk Fountain

Elk Timeline

The Thompson Elk Fountain, affectionately known as The Elk, holds a special place in Portland's heart. Following its removal due to damage, in 2021 City Council unanimously adopted a resolution, championed by Commissioner Ryan, for its restoration. Collaborative efforts between city bureaus and the Portland Parks Foundation seek to restore and return The Elk to its historic grandeur by the end of 2024.

 Learn more


Community Engagement on the Portland Monuments Project

  • 2020:
    • The City of Portland and the Regional Arts & Culture Council have been gathering public feedback since 2020.
  • 2021:
    • Launch of listening sessions within the South Park Blocks Master Plan by Portland Parks & Recreation.
  • 2023:
    • Commissioner Dan Ryan led "Arts Talks" in October and November, focusing on monument discussions across Portland's four new voting districts. A recording of the November 16 Arts Talk at the Multnomah Arts Center in District 4 is available on YouTube.
    • Release of the Monuments Survey, available in six languages, to collect broader community input on monuments.
  • 2024:
    • New public engagement opportunities and creative arts grants to be announced, with more details coming in Spring 2024.

Stay engaged: Join a public talk or conversation in 2024. Subscribe the City Arts Program’s newsletter to stay up to date regarding next steps and community engagement opportunities and other related efforts related to the Portland Monuments Project. 


Monuments Survey Participation

The Portland Monuments Project is about enriching our shared history. This survey is designed to collect comprehensive feedback from Portlanders regarding the monuments within the city.

How to Participate

  • Share your thoughts about monuments in Portland by taking this SURVEY
  • Join public talks and conversations led by our community partners (event calendar coming 2024)

Your insights are vital and your involvement will shape the City’s policy and decisions about monuments. Help us ensure our approach reflects Portland's diversity.


Report: Public Engagement with Portland's Monuments and Memorials

In June 2023, the City received and made public a report: “Public Engagement with Portland's Monuments and Memorials.” This report provided recommendations for how the City should go about engaging the community to make decisions about its public art monuments – including those that were toppled and removed in the summer of 2020, as well as guidelines for considering new monuments in the future. 

We are extremely grateful to Lewis & Clark College and the Portland’s Monument Engagement Process Committee members for their steadfast work and partnership. 

“This report is the culmination of nearly five months of collective discussion, outreach, research, and contemplation by committed Portland citizens. Our committee members bring perspectives from psychology, art, education, history, urban planning, Black studies, rhetoric and media studies, historic preservation, and cultural resource planning. We are also parents, community members, teachers, and learners. Although our perspectives are diverse, we each agree that monuments and public art have the capacity to transform our shared spaces, generating dynamic and necessary conversations about where we have been and where we are going as a country, a city, and in local communities. We are deeply invested in the stirring conversations we have had, the ideas we are sharing, and the hope we bring to the future of monuments and public art in our beloved city.”  

--From the Introduction

https://www.portland.gov/monume…

Learn more and download report


Project Timeline

Now, the City is asking for the community's help to inform several policy decisions in 2024, including the fate of the monuments that were toppled and/or removed in 2020/21.  

A timeline for the Portland Monuments Project through July, 2024

Questions/concerns

Contact Darion Jones, the Senior Policy Director of Arts, Culture and Equity for Portland City Commission Dan Ryan anytime at darion.jones@portlandoregon.gov to share feedback, concerns, or ask questions.