Oregon's U.S. District Court judges get their jobs by being careful and measured and by working within the bounds of the legal system. They are not typically people who protest in the streets.
But WW has learned from multiple sources this week that the judges acted expeditiously to remove from the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse a portrait of Oregon's first federal judge, the Hon. Matthew Deady, who served from 1859 to 1893.
Since the courthouse was completed in 1998, Deady's portrait has held a place of honor in the building's soaring lobby, across from a green Italian marble wall inscribed with the words of Alexander Hamilton: "The first duty of society is justice."
Before becoming a judge, however, Deady presided over Oregon's Constitutional Convention in 1857, and according to a scholarly investigation that UO commissioned, advocated for slavery and to exclude blacks and Chinese from the convention.
Last week, UO President Michael Schill reversed an earlier decision and will ask trustees to rename Deady Hall, the university's oldest building.
Schill made his announcement after Andrew Colas, a university trustee and the president of Colas Construction, the state's largest black-owned contractor, called for reconsideration of a 2017 decision to keep Deady's name on the building.
"It is now apparent to me that, as long as Matthew Deady's name remains in a place of honor on our campus, our students of color will feel that they are not valued; that this institution is not their institution," Schill wrote in a June 10 memo.
UO trustees will vote on Schill's request June 24. Meanwhile, the federal judges have already acted and Deady's portrait is gone from the the Hatfield Courthouse.
The Hon. Chief District Judge Marco A. Hernandez declined to comment.