As Protests Continue in Portland and Other Cities, Demonstrators Topple UO Statues

Echoing actions across the country, protesters pulled down symbols of historic racism.

As protesters around the U.S. pull down or destroy statues reflecting painful chapters in the country's history, two prominent statues on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene met the same fate Saturday night.

"A group of protesters that gathered at Deady Hall to educate community members on systemic racism tore down the long contentious Pioneer and Pioneer Mother statues Saturday at about 7:20 pm, dragging the Pioneer across 13th Street to block the entrance to Johnson Hall," the UO Daily Emerald reported.

The Pioneer statue has stood on the campus since 1919 and the Pioneer Mother since 1932. Both were sculpted by the artist Alexander Phimister Proctor.

"The Pioneer and Pioneer [Mother] statues have sparked controversy on the University of Oregon campus," the Emerald reported. "Last year, red paint was sprayed on the Pioneer's whip and crotch to protest the statue's colonial history. Members of the Native American Student Union said shortly after the incident that the statue makes many students feel unwelcome on campus."

University President Michael Schill last year decided not to remove the statues, despite a push to do so. Last night, protesters overruled that decision.

A university spokesman told the Emerald the statues would be placed in storage.