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Statue honoring only Black man on Lewis and Clark Expedition toppled in Portland

Portland, Oregon
Posted at 12:04 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-29 12:04:20-04

A bust honoring the only African-American to accompany Lewis and Clark on their 1800s expedition of the western U.S. was toppled in Portland, Oregon, earlier this week.

Oregon Public Broadcasting and KOIN-TV report that the statue of York in Portland's Mt. Tabor park was knocked over and damaged overnight Tuesday into Wednesday.

The York statue appeared in the park under mysterious circumstances in February. The artist is unknown, and the bust was put up without formal permission.

The bust has been a point of political controversy, as it was put up in the spot where a statue that honored newspaper editor Harvey Scott once stood.

Scott, a former editor of The Oregonian, was a respected journalist in his time, but he was also opposed to some modern social norms like women's suffrage. The statue of Scott was toppled in October amid months of protest following the death of George Floyd.

Oregon Public Broadcasting says that city officials are hoping to salvage the bust of York.

"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," Portland Parks and Recreation 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."