A queer circa 1970’s bronze looking over the bluff down onto Portland from the university of Portland is this sculpture of an anonymous native male, William Clark and his slave York. Perhaps this is the furthest point they scouted on the Willamette.

Now hidden behind bushes (those bushes!) and shown slyly to frosh parents by the Pilot marketing staff, it’s been forgotten by others. At its foot is a stone description of Clark and Lewis’ crazy adventure and amateurish bronze busts, about four inches tall, set in a large boulder.

The main piece is a bit larger than life size, is stylishly crafted in probably wax, then cast in parts. The native person and Clark are rough and distant, Clark holding a book and waving his hand before him, blessing the valley. This wouldn’t be typical behavior for Clark. York, about whom almost nothing is known, is depicted as sensual and muscular.

The Naming of Mt. Jefferson (1988), by Michael Florin Dente, portrays York on the far right, along with William Clark and an unnamed American Indian.

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