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The statue was apparently moved to an unknown location by local conservative groups, who posted photos of the heist online.

PMG PHOTO: ZANE SPARLING - Two elk statues have watched over a traffic island on Southwest Main Street at Third Avenue, but as of Friday, Oct. 10, both have vanished. An elk statue subbing for a similar piece of artwork removed by the city has, itself, vamoosed.

Protesters adopted the original 120-year-old Elk sculpture and fountain at Southwest Main Street and Third Avenue as an iconic symbol of their monthslong occupation of downtown Portland — but the city removed it in mid-July, citing fires that damaged the basin and demonstrators routinely perching atop its metallic antlers.

Shortly thereafter, a replacement elk statue was left in its place, presumably by protest supporters. On Friday, Oct. 10, that statue vanished as well, though the culprits weren't hard to find.

Social media accounts affiliated with Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys posted photos posing with the sculpture in an unknown location — calling it the "nightmare elk" and joking that it was now registered to vote for Donald Trump.

Chandler Pappas, who gained notoriety after his associate Aaron "Jay" Danielson was shot dead during the tail-end of a conservative car parade, claimed credit for the heist in an interview with the Oregonian.

An eyewitness to the snatch-and-grab told Pamplin Media Group men in two trucks arrived around 9:15 a.m. on Friday, with some quickly hoisting the sculpture onto a flatbed while others armed with stick-like batons provided security.

"What are you going to do about it," the men said as the eyewitness poked his head out of a tent, according to the witness.

A spokesman for the Portland Police Bureau said they were aware of the incident but stated no one had reported it as theft.

"Of course we would investigate any theft of property from a community member making a report," Sgt. Kevin Allen said in an email.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council, which oversees public art in Portland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One local protester at the scene where the two deerlike creatures once stood, identifying themselves as Jay, said the removal of the statue was a distraction from the months of activity supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and condemning police brutality.

"So many folks who side with Patriot Prayer claim so much outrage over the original elk statue being taken down by the city, and are valuing statues more than human lives," Jay said. "The statue is not the point."

Zane Sparling
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