For the third time since August, vandals have struck Jefferson Davis Park, which sits on private property outside of Ridgefield.
This most recent defacing of the monument to the Confederacy took place in mid-January, when someone broke open security locks on flagpoles at the site and then cut down the flags, according to Garth McKinney, first lieutenant commander of the Pacific Northwest Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which maintains the site. The site was flying at least three Confederate flags, McKinney said: the First National Flag of the Confederacy, the Third National Flag of the Confederacy and the “Bonnie Blue” Confederate flag. McKinney’s organization hasn’t replaced the flags yet.
In August, Portland anti-fascist activists claimed responsibility for covering two monuments at the site in tar and paint. A few months ago, a group painted over the plaque dedicating the site in honor of Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America. The group also left “a note that had a threat attached,” McKinney wrote in an email. McKinney thinks that it has been the same group defacing the park each time.
Confederate monuments and statues have drawn ire around in the country in recent months from opponents who say they are improperly honoring controversial historical figures and promoting American racism. The movement to take down the monuments, or deface them, picked up in August after the death of Heather Heyer, who was killed when a motorist drove a car into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
Unlike the August incident at Jefferson Davis Park, a Portland anti-fascist organization didn’t take credit for the most recent vandalism.