PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After community pushback, Portland officials are considering returning the bronze elk statue to its historical site, along with restoring its fountain base.
On Friday, the Portland Parks Foundation announced it would be working to redesign the Thompson Elk Fountain, so it doesn’t create traffic concerns as the fountain sits in the middle of Southwest Madison Street.
The fountain was removed and disassembled after its base was damaged during the 2020 protests against racial injustice. Since then it has been stored away in an undisclosed location.
When city officials announced the statue was being brought back but with a smaller base, many Portlanders voiced “strong objections.”
“There’s a lot of passion for restoring the elk and the fountain,” said Randy Gragg, executive director of PPF. “But in Portland’s system of government, the task is bureaucratically complicated. What we need is a design—and a price tag—that encompasses all the competing interests.”
In a statement, the PPF said it will be investing in a study to determine what improvements are necessary to restore the fountain to its former glory. Along with that, the foundation is looking into ways to better accommodate traffic.
The fountain, which is Portland’s second-oldest piece of public art, has sat between Chapman and Lownsdale Square for 120 years. And during that time, it has frequently served as a gathering place for activists.