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What's Happening with the City’s Monuments?

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Master
Each of the City’s monuments is at a different status. Explore the charts below to learn about each monuments status.

Subject

George Washington

George Washington

Artist

Pompeo Coppini

Materials

Bronze, Granite 

Installation Date

1926

Acquisition Context

Commissioned and donated by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe

Where was it originally located?

German-American Society, intersection of NE 57th Ave and Sandy Blvd (needs new home)

Was there engagement when it was created?

No

What happened to it?

The monument was toppled June 18, 2020. It is currently in storage in need of repair.

Representative feedback from public comments, testimony and City-led public conversations

“The statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson should be put back on their pedestals.   Even the US constitution allowed for slavery in their day.  And, what George Washington and Thomas Jefferson did to our country quite outweighs the fact they owned slaves.” 

“My belief is keep the statues of only the legitimate leaders of this country (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson) and remove the illegitimate leaders (confederate leaders) and place them in a museum to be viewed as a historical era piece to be studied.

“The purpose of these statues is not to make a statement that these men are saints, but rather to honor their achievements and place in history.  I want to briefly touch on Washington. Besides his leadership in the American Revolution and founding our country, Washington was remarkable in his commitment to republicanism. He refused an offer to be King, in the 18th century, in the  age of absolute monarchs.  This was the same time as Catherine the Great, Frederick the Great, and the height of the French ancien regime (before its demise during the French Revolution).  He and the other founders created one of the first democratic bodies since the Roman Senate.  True, our democracy was imperfect in the 1790s (and is today).  But, Washington laid the groundwork for the steady march toward emancipation and liberty we have seen through 230 years of American history.” 

Status

Will return to the public pending relocation, restoration, repair, and the addition of new interpretive signage. Additional public engagement on interpretations will occur during the 2024 Monuments Symposium.

Subject

Abe

Abraham Lincoln

Artist

George Fite Waters

Materials

Bronze, Granite

Installation Date

1927

Acquisition Context

Presented to the city by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe

Where was it originally located?

South Park Blocks

Was there engagement when it was created?

No

What happened to it?

The monument was toppled October 11, 2020. It is currently in storage in need of repair.

Representative feedback from public comments, testimony and City-led public conversations

“As for the statue of Lincoln, I do believe it is inappropriate to remove this work which arguably commemorates one of America's greatest leaders and who is perhaps associated with "racial injustice" and "social change" on a scale that dwarfs any other figure in American history. Lincoln singularly represents the greatest upheaval in America's history and led the nation to reimagine and reinvent itself. Yet, perhaps the presence of Lincoln should be re-contextualized beside another historic American figure which both compliments and challenges everything Lincoln represents. I recommend a new commission of a monument of Sacajawea (the Agai-Dika, Lemhi-Shoshone woman who was crucial to the success of the Lewis and Clark Expedition), an Indigenous woman significant to the nation but also the region of the Northwest.”

“Abraham Lincoln had a huge role in ending slavery and moving this country forward in addressing racial injustices. Lincoln was by no means perfect, but it is wrong to dismiss him as not measuring up to current equity standards, ignoring historic context and his many dimensions. This is an arrogance of hindsight. I am a person of color and am committed to racial equity, but I am ashamed of RACC's decision to not return the Lincoln and Roosevelt statues to their historic locations, especially without clear opportunities for public input. This is Abraham Lincoln for God's sake, not some Confederate general. Please do work toward adding to the histories and heritages that are celebrated in our public art (we certainly need much more acknowledgement of our first peoples), but this doesn't mean we need to remove statues of people who are such important parts of our history, such as Lincoln.” 

Status

Will return to its original location in the South Park Blocks, pending restoration, repair, and the addition of new interpretive signage. Additional public engagement on interpretations will occur during the 2024 Monuments Symposium.

Subject

Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt

Artist

Alexander Phimister Proctor

Materials

Bronze, Granite

Installation Date

1922

Acquisition Context

Presented to the city by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe

Where was it originally located?

South Park Blocks between Madison and Jefferson streets

Was there engagement when it was created?

No

What happened to it?

Monument was toppled on October 11, 2020. It is currently in storage, in need of repair.

Representative feedback from public comments, testimony and City-led public conversations

“The toppled statues of former US Presidents Lincoln, Roosevelt, Washington, etc., should either be reinstalled in their rightful places or installed somewhere where they will be shown the respect they deserve… It is not "racist" to honor men like Washington and Lincoln who are extremely important to our national story as Americans and widely considered among the best of US Presidents. We should promote art from marginalized cultures and install it around town, but not at the expense of existing pieces of art.

“Dr. Coe, friend to racist and anti-Indigenous Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt, and respected doctor of 19th century psychiatry of the time, donated several statues to the City of Portland, held Alaska Natives captive in the Morningside Hospital and buried them away from their families and ceremonies here in Portland while the South Park Blocks were being developed and Portland continued to grow as a city--an important point that cannot be ignored, even if the statues are removed.”

See the American Museum of Natural History’s effort to grapple with the iconic Theodore Roosevelt statue in from of the museum in its short film “The Meaning of a Monument” 

Status

Will return to its original location in the South Park Blocks, pending restoration, repair, and the addition of new interpretive signage. Additional public engagement on interpretations will occur during the 2024 Monuments Symposium.

Subject

Promised Land

Promised Land

Artist

David Manuel

Materials

Bronze, Granite

Installation Date

1993

Acquisition Context

Commissioned by the Oregon Trail Coordinating Council. Donated to the City of Portland.

Where was it originally located?

Center of Chapman Square in downtown, directly west of the Justice Center

Was there engagement when it was created?

No public engagement. The Multnomah Arts Commission advised against accepting the art at the time of its donation.

What happened to it?

The monument was damaged in 2020. It is currently in storage in need of repair.

Representative feedback from public comments, testimony and City-led public conversations

“the depiction of subject matter was found to be [an] inappropriate and inaccurate portrayal of the settlers of Oregon, excluding the many other races and religions of those who have come to call Oregon home. It is also insensitive to the history of the indigenous peoples of the area.” - Report on Site Committee I Process in “Metropolitan Arts Commission Special Arts Project Files -- Promised Land Move." City of Portland Archives & Records Center, Portland, Oregon.

Status

Will be deaccessioned from the City’s Public Art Collection. Additional public engagement on deaccessioning will occur during the 2024 Monuments Symposium.

Subject

Hervey Scott

Harvey Scott

Artist

Gutzon Borglum

Materials

Bronze, Basalt

Installation Date

1933

Acquisition Context

Gifted to the city by Scott’s wife, Margaret Scott

Where was it originally located?

On the summit of Mount Tabor in Mt. Tabor Park

Was there engagement when it was created?

No

What happened to it?

The statue was vandalized with red paint in May and November 2019. In October 2020, the statue was toppled and damaged. It was removed by the City on October 20, 2020, and put in storage. 

On February 20, 2021, a bust of York, an enslaved Black member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, by a then-anonymous artist (now known to be Todd McGrain), appeared on the pedestal. On July 28, the bust of York was torn down and irreparably damaged.

Representative feedback from public comments, testimony and City-led public conversations

“I loved the York statue that was erected in the spot where the Harvey Scott statue was illegally removed and was disappointed when it was knocked down. I hope the York bust returns to some prominent place in the city, but it should not be at the expense of another artwork, it should be an addition. I would like to see RACC adopt a policy of encouraging artistic acts of addition rather than bureaucratic and illegal acts of subtraction. RACC's message to would-be vandals should loud and clear, that any statue that is illegally removed or damaged will be repaired and stood back in its original place as soon as possible, only once the piece has been put back where it was will RACC solicit public input on how it may be re-contextualized.” 

“I am glad to see the statue of Harvey Scott gone. I have often walked by this monument and dreamed of it being replaced by one of his sister, Abigail Scott Duniway, a much more deserving person to honor. And it would only be appropriate to replace a tribute to someone who hindered the struggle for women's rights with an Oregonian who fought so hard for them. At the same time I also believe York should be honored and am glad to see a monument has been made to recognize his life.”

Status

Will be deaccessioned from the City’s Public Art Collection. Additional public engagement on deaccessioning will occur during the 2024 Monuments Symposium.

Subject

York

York

Artist

Todd McGrain

Materials

Wood, Urethane, and Bronze Paint (materials meant to be temporary)

Installation Date

2021

Acquisition Context

The bust of York was a guerilla art intervention by an anonymous artist (later found to be Todd McGrain).

Where was it originally located?

Summit of Mt. Tabor Park, on the pedestal formerly occupied by the toppled Harvey Scott monument

Was there engagement when it was created?

No, guerilla installation

What happened to it?

The monument was damaged in 2021. It is currently in storage beyond repair.

Representative feedback from public comments, testimony and City-led public conversations

“I think that the new bust of York is beautiful and I have no problem whatsoever with it.  It is important to uplift and represent historical figures who previously have been overlooked or ignored in our national story. I do, however, have a problem with the manner in which is was put up.  The bust of York was put up after a criminal act of vandalism removed the previous statue.  No discussion, no debate, just an undemocratic act of violence.”

“i would like to say 'thank you' to the artist. it was a beautiful guerilla piece of art and sculpture; it mattered, people who had never heard of york learned his story, people learned about revered figures who had kept slaves, people thought. when i went to see the sculpture, the feeling of awe and compassion was palpable. i would like to see the stature remain / return there in a more permanent state.”

Status

Monument commissioned in Spring 2024. Additional public engagement will occur during the 2024 Monuments Symposium.

Subject

Elk

Elk

Artist

Roland Hilton Perry

Base designed and built by local architect H.G. Wright

Materials

Bronze, Eastern Granite

Installation Date

1900

Acquisition Context

Commissioned by David P. Thompson

Where was it originally located?

SW Main between 3rd and 4th Aves between Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square

Was there engagement when it was created?

No

What happened to it?

The monument was damaged in 2020. It is currently under the process of repair and restoration.

Representative feedback from public comments, testimony and City-led public conversations

“i do mourn the loss of the lovely elk, that held no political meaning and yet was vandalized. I think more statues honoring our local current and past wildlife is much more universal in its messaging.”

“I'm heartbroken about the elk and I hope it can find its way back on its pedestal in the middle of Main. Unless I just don't understand why they took the beautiful proud, present animal. What terrible thing did it represent besides Wild Nature?” 

“I love the Thompson Elk so much, and this just makes me sick! Thank you for also removing and saving the pedestal and fountain. That location is lovely, in the middle of the street surrounded by trees, but it will always be vulnerable due to the government buildings next to it.  Please consider relocating it to the South Park Blocks or Waterfront Park. Perhaps something less susceptible to vandalism could replace it. Even a really nice flag pole, or something that can't be climbed, or a simple fountain that can't be defaced.”

Status

Repairs of the Elk are complete and a groundbreaking for construction of the fountain is planned for Fall 2024.