Atop the highest point in Portland’s Mount Tabor sits a newly installed sculpture of York, the famous member of the Corps of Discovery that was instrumental to the expedition’s success.
York was the only black member of Lewis and Clark Expedition west to explore the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase. As the National Park Service writes, “Little is known about the life of York. He was an enslaved man owned by William Clark, and later became a member of the Corps of Discovery. William Clark inherited York as property when the elder Clark died, and the two were around the same age. York was one of only two members of the original Corps who was married. York is often mentioned in the journals kept by both Lewis and Clark throughout the course of the Expedition.”
Just like the life of York, little is known about the York Sculpture recently installed in Mount Tabor Park, located in Oregon’s most populated city of Portland — though the events leading up to the appearance of York help tell a story of social-justice and inclusiveness. Sometime in mid-February of 2021, someone installed the York sculpture atop a platform that once housed a sculpture of the former editor of The Oregonian, Harvey Scott. Scott presided over The Oregonian during the second half of the 1800s and was an outspoken conservative who fought against women’s suffrage. During the manifestations around Portland in the summer and fall of 2020, this statue was toppled, leaving the platform empty.
That is, until February of the following year, when the York statue appeared seemingly overnight.
Mount Tabor Park Reservations and Information:
Mount Tabor, Portland, Oregon 97215, United States