The bronze Thomas Jefferson statue that has loomed for years above the Jefferson High School football field and North Killingsworth St. was pulled from its marble pedestal Sunday night, hours after a protest had gathered at the school. The words "slave owner" and "George Floyd" were spray-painted on the white marble beneath where the Jefferson statue had stood.
In recent months the statue has been vandalized numerous times with anti-slavery messages, the anti-fascist symbol, and the word "decolonize."
Jefferson has one of the highest percentages of Black students among Oregon schools and has long been a center of the historically African-American community of North and Northeast Portland. Its 620-student enrollment makes it small for a high school, but it's gained fame recently for its rapidly rising graduation rate, particularly for students of color.
More than 1,000 people had gathered at Jefferson late Sunday afternoon for a planned Black Lives Matter march from the North Portland high school toward Alberta Park and then return. According to one person connected to the organized march, the statue was pulled from its pedestal by people who weren't associated with the protest, and it occurred after most demonstrators had left.
It wasn't the only time statues of historical figures were forced from their places over the weekend. Activists in Eugene pulled down two pioneer statues on the University of Oregon campus Saturday.
Correction: OPB has changed this story to include a more accurate estimate of the size of the protest at Jefferson High School Sunday.