George Washington

Information
Photo of Portland monument of George Washington

George Washington, 1926, granite, bronze

Location

Intersection of Northeast 57th Avenue & Sandy Boulevard, outside the German American Society, Portland

Creation and Dedication

Made by artist Pompeo Coppini, commissioned and donated by Henry Waldo

Vandalism/Removal

On the night of June 18, 2020, protesters set the statue aflame before toppling it and spray-painting political statements on the remains.

Current Status

This statue is designated as a Significant Resource (subject to 120-day demolition delay). This monument is part of the City of Portland and Multnomah County Public Art Collection, courtesy of the Regional Arts & Culture Council. It is currently in storage, in need of repair. The monument cannot be reinstalled at its original location near the German American Society. Therefore, a new location must be identified for its potential reinstallation.                                                                                                                    

Noted Accomplishments and Issues: George Washington was commander in chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War (1775-83) and served two terms as the first U.S. president, from 1789 to 1797.[1]

When George Washington was eleven years old, his father willed him his 280-acre family and ten enslaved people[2].  Washington went on to own enslaved people for 56 years and at the time of his death.

Washington began to question the morality of owning enslaved people, writing a letter to his cousin admitting that he wanted to clear himself of slavery but in 1782 when it became legal to free slaves, he did not free those who were enslaved by him.

Shortly before Washington’s death in 1799, he left instructions in his will for the emancipation of the enslaved people he owned after his wife passed away. Martha chose to free them a year after her husband passed and of the 317 enslaved people at Mount Vernon, 123 of the individuals were owned by George Washington and were eligible to be freed per the terms of his will.

During Washington’s time as a commander of the Continental Army, he ordered the destruction of indigenous communities. As a landowner, he constantly sought to expand his holdings with Native American land, claiming or buying large tracts and then fighting protracted battles to prove the deeds he held legitimate.[3]


[2] 10 Facts About Washington and Slavery https://www.mountvernon.org/geo…

[3]  George Washington owned slaves and ordered Indians killed. Will a mural of that history be hidden? https://www.washingtonpost.com/…