By Beth Slovic
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PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland leaders on Thursday condemned the apparent act of vandalism that defaced the city’s memorial to fallen police officers this week.
The Portland Police Memorial in Tom McCall Waterfront Park honors officers who died in the line of duty and includes the names of 29 officers who died between 1867 and 2002. Former President George H.W. Bush dedicated the memorial in May 1993.
A vandal or vandals on Tuesday destroyed the marble tiles and glass plates that lists the officers’ names and the dates they died, police said. The plates are built into a curving brick wall, which cost $200,000 to build 30 years ago.
“This is a senseless, destructive and intentional act,” said Police Chief Chuck Lovell in a press release. “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 their legacy. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the people named on the memorial. There are spouses, children, grandchildren and more who suffered greatly by the loss of their loved one. To see a cowardly act such as this done in an attempt to dishonor that memory is disgraceful.”
A joint statement from Mayor Ted Wheeler and commissioners Carmen Rubio, Dan Ryan, Mingus Mapps and Rene Gonzalez also denounced the vandalism.
“This ugly criminal act seeks only to fuel divisive and destructive rhetoric that is not representative of who we are as a city,” they wrote. “We at City Council will work together with the Portland Police Historical Society to ensure the memorial is restored. We recognize the hardworking public safety personnel who work to keep our community safe every day and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Funding for the memorial came from corporate donors, police officers and agencies and the Portland Police Association union, according to a story in The Oregonian on May 15, 1993.
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