Bust of Black hero on Lewis and Clark trip toppled, damaged in Oregon park

Crime

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A statue in Oregon honoring York, an enslaved Black member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, was toppled and damaged earlier this week, according to officials.

A spokesperson with Portland Parks and Recreation told KOIN that the bust was torn from its pedestal in Mt. Tabor Park and was damaged significantly sometime Tuesday night or early morning Wednesday. A park visitor notified a maintenance worker of the incident shortly after 7 a.m. on Wednesday.

“The York bust appeared in Mt. Tabor Park in February as a happy surprise to Portland Parks & Recreation. Unfortunately, the numerous racist responses to the memorial of a Black man forced to participate in the Corps of Discovery Expedition have not been a surprise,” PP&R Director Adena Long stated. “The latest act of vandalism is incredibly disappointing for me, and I’m sure the majority of Portlanders will miss seeing York at the top of Mt. Tabor.”

The bust mysteriously appeared in February in a southeast Portland park where a statue of Harvey Scott stood until it was torn down. Scott was a conservative and editor of The Oregonian who opposed women’s suffrage.

It remains unclear who created or placed the York bust. 

The shattered bust has since been cleaned up and cleared from the area. Long said PP&R staff will inspect it and determine if it can be salvaged.

This is the latest act of vandalism against the statue. In June, a woman accused of vandalizing the bust was identified and cited.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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