Graffiti removed from war memorial after Portland protest
A plinth slathered in paint during a political protest is nearly good as new — restored to not-quite pristine condition less than a day after it was vandalized.
Graffiti pic.twitter.com/rpCT1Q0wLz— Zane Sparling (@PDXzane) February 8, 2020
A video with more than half a million views on Twitter shows several people spraypainting anti-police slogans across the obelisk during the tail end of an anti-KKK demonstration on Saturday, Feb. 10.
At 6 a.m. on Sunday, contractor crews using hot pressure water scrubbed the statue, leaving faint outlines of what was once there. The graffiti had been cloaked by a tarp overnight.
"We have a process for dealing with these type of incidents. They're not uncommon," said Heather Nelson Kent, a spokeswoman for the Regional Arts & Culture Council, which is tasked with taking care of the city's publicly-owned art.
"This is a granite monument, which is one of the hardest stones, so it typically doesn't absorb paint," she added. "We don't expect any lasting damage."
Designed by famed California artist Douglas Tilden, the statue formally known as "Spanish–American War Soldier's Monument" honors the overseas deployment of the 2nd Oregon Volunteer Infantry Regiment at the turn of the century. A nearby fountain honors those killed during the Philippine–American War.
The cost of the restoration work was estimated at $4,000, not including city or RACC staff time.
"It's owned by the public," said Kent. "We wish people would take care of it."
RACC says it will continue to restore the artwork as needed.
The vandalism happened during a protest that drew hundreds of anti-fascists known as Antifa to downtown Portland in order to protest a planned rally by the Klu Klux Klan that had been called off at the last minute.
Portland police officers on bikes interceded moments after the conclusion of the 10-second viral video, chasing down and then arresting a 25-year-old, whose address on court docs leads to a center for homeless youth.
Police are offering a cash reward for info on another masked vandal who escaped into the crowd.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.