In racist display, toy monkey hung by noose
Driving home from visiting family in Scappoose on Sunday, June 7, Steven Marshall was appalled by a scene he saw alongside Highway 30.
A stuffed toy monkey was hung by a noose from a roadway sign, drawing on racist representations of black people and the traumatic history of lynchings in the United States.
Marshall, a 66-year-old black man driving home to Kelso, Washington, turned his car around and stopped to remove the effigy so that others would not see it.
He sent a photo to his son, Darrell Bell.
"I think that's probably the extent that he would have done with it… but I just felt that in light of current events, it shouldn't be ignored," Bell said.
Bell shared the photo on social media, where it garnered outrage.
Aside from a few individuals who argued that the racist effigy could have been planted by "antifa" or other left-wing activists to increase tension, most people seem to have taken the incident seriously, Bell said.
Oregon State Police are investigating the incident as a bias crime and are seeking suspects.
The hateful display came just days after the Black Lives Matter protest in St. Helens, and as protests continue nightly in Portland and cities across the country.
The stuffed monkey was found near milepost 44, between the cities of Prescott and Rainier.
Columbia County's population is 93% white and 1% black.
The man who took down the racist symbol was, for more than three decades, part of the county's small black population.
Marshall married Bell's mother, a white woman, when Bell was one year old. They initially lived in Northeast Portland, where decades earlier, Marshall's father had been one of the first black physicians in the city. In the 1980s, Bell and his parents relocated to Scappoose.
"It wasn't always a friendly place for a biracial family," Bell said. "I have witnessed him (Marshall) being pulled over for nothing other than being a black man with a white woman in Scappoose in the '80s."
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