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Pioneer Statues Won’t Be Put Back, Says UO President

Rachael McDonald

The two Pioneer statues that protesters toppled Saturday will not be returned to their pedestals on the University of Oregon campus. UO President Michael Schill made the announcement in a letterto the campus community Monday. 

Unidentified activists tore the Pioneer Man and Pioneer Mother down Saturday. They also dragged the Pioneer Man across the street and up the steps of Johnson Hall.

Credit Rachael McDonald
A handwritten sign was left on the rock that previously held the Pioneer Man statue, Sunday.

The statues have been the subject of protest for their symbolism of Oregon’s history of racism and white supremacy. Groups had previously urged the UO to remove them. Schill said while he believes in the power of peaceful protest, he condemns, quote, “these acts of destruction.” Last week, he announced he wanted to move forward with a process to evaluate the value of monuments on campus, including the Pioneer statues.  President Schill also recommended re-naming Deady Hall, who’s namesake espoused racist views. For now, the statues are in storage.

Credit Rachael McDonald
The Pioneer Mother was left on the ground after protesters pulled her down Saturday. Now she and her counterpart are in storage

Copyright 2020 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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