Portland Police Memorial honoring fallen officers, destroyed
A memorial to fallen police officers in Portland, Oregon was vandalized this week, according to the Portland Police Association.
In a statement on Facebook, the association’s president, Sgt. Aaron Schmautz, said the memorial at Tom McCall Waterfront Park was vandalized sometime Tuesday night. Pictures were missing and names had been scratched out on individual plaques dedicated to fallen officers.
Schmautz called the destruction “appalling and ugly” and said whoever was responsible was stupid and short-sighted.
“As a current member of the Honor Guard, my heart is broken at such a cowardly and foolish act. The Police Memorial is an enduring reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by heroes in Portland who gave their lives defending strangers in our community. Each of these individuals is also engraved on the wall of the National Memorial in Washington DC,” Schmautz said.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told Fox 12 Oregon the vandalism was “senseless, destructive and premeditated,” adding that it attempted to “dishonor” the memory of those who lost their lives in the service of the city of Portland have, is “disgraceful”.
“This memorial honors heroes—people who had the courage to give their lives while serving the city of Portland. No amount of destruction can erase her legacy. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the people named on the memorial,” Lovell told the outlet.
As of Thursday evening, no arrests had been made in connection with the vandalism.
Schmautz called on the City of Portland to support the rebuilding process and ensure the memorial site is restored.
“The memory of those named there is ingrained in the bedrock of our city. It is borne in the hearts and on every patch and badge worn by the officers who now stand guard and carry out their mission. No stupid or cowardly act can change that,” he said. “You will be remembered. Those who fly in the shadows to destroy will not do it.”
The Portland City Council released the following statement to local media, condemning the act and committing to rebuilding the memorial:
“The Portland City Council condemns the despicable destruction of the Portland Police Memorial, a site honoring Portland Police Officers who have died in the line of duty. The memorial has stood in Portland’s Waterfront Park for nearly 30 years in recognition of their service to Portland residents. This ugly criminal act is intended only to fuel divisive and destructive rhetoric that is not representative of who we are as a city. We at the City Council will work with the Portland Police Historical Society to ensure the monument is restored. We recognize the hard-working public safety personnel who work hard every day to keep our community safe and honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”
Built in 1994, the memorial is located near Hawthorne Bridge. There are 29 Portland police officers on the wall, from the first dead in 1867 to the most recent in 2002.
Schmautz said donations can be made to the Portland Police Historical Society for recovery efforts. He said the organization is responsible for managing the memorial and museum and is not directly linked to the police.