Activists Vow To Keep Message Going After Motorist Defaces BLACK LIVES MATTER Art

Jun 20, 2020

Less than a day after it was finished, a large “BLACK LIVES MATTER” mural painted outside the Wayne Morse Federal Courthouse in Eugene was vandalized. 

Shawn Goddard of the Eugene BIPOC Artists Collective, standing before the BLACK LIVES MATTER mural that was damaged when a yet unidentified motorist burned rubber across its length Friday night.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Dark tire treads were burned in a wavy pattern across the entirety of the mural painted on 8th Avenue.  Eugene Police released surveillance photos of an orange car – possibly a Dodge Charger or Challenger – that was on the scene Friday night, around 10:30.  (UPDATE: Investigators say they've since found the car and its driver, and no longer need the public's assistance)

Two images provided by EPD show an orange/yellow muscle car - possibly a Dodge Charger or Challenger - near the federal courthouse where the mural was marred.
Credit Eugene Police Department

Saturday, members of the Eugene BIPOC Artists Collective were back, painting over the treadmarks. Shawn Goddard says when he heard of the vandalism, he came and added white handprints to the damaged section.

About a dozen members of Eugene BIPOC Artists Collective came back Saturday to paint over the tread marks. Shawn Goddard earlier had applied white handprints to the damaged areas, as a way to reclaim and "adapt" the artwork.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

“I just happened to have white paint in the back of my car," laughs Goddard.  "And in graffiti, this happens. Somebody will mark out your tag, or do something, and you have to adapt.  You have to figure out: how do you turn that into more art?”

Goddard also tells KLCC that he’s not surprised that someone’s already vandalized the mural, calling it someone's "five minutes of fame" type of incident.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say, 'Well, it’s in the street, what do you expect?'" he adds. 

Aerial overhead photo of the mural after it was completed June 19, 2020.
Credit Jason Coon

"The street is a place where we all go when we find democracy is lacking. The street is also where the most downtrodden and most forgotten people live.

"So yes, the street is a place to have a protest, the street is a place to put this type of message.  And it is vandalism for one person to feel that their voice should be louder than a whole city, a whole county, a whole nation. That’s not right.”

Eugene Police were by Saturday morning to measure the tracks and film the damage.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Meanwhile, Goddard says Sunday his organization is inviting black, brown, indigenous people, and members of the LGBTQ community to show unity by painting their individual handprints on the mural. He says this incident is bringing many folks together, through empathy.

"The pain’s already there, already real. Now you have other people reaching out and empathizing this is disgraceful and doesn’t speak for Eugene at large.  But we’re dealing with the same things that we’ve been dealing with so long ago. 

"So it's not gone away, it’s prevalent, so we need to fight just as hard."

Copyright 2020, KLCC.