Opossum Incident protest


Originally published in the Oregon Journal, this photograph shows mounted police looking on as people protest the “Opossum Incident.” Two Portland policemen, Craig Ward and Jim Galloway, dropped four dead possums in front of the black-owned Burger Barn on NE Union Avenue on March 12, 1981. The racist “prank” led to massive protests and public denouncements by city and state leaders, including Gov. Vic Atiyeh, and the establishment of a public police review board. The policemen were fired by Commissioner Charles Jordan (who was African American), but they were reinstated months later after Mayor Frank Ivancie removed Jordan as head of the Police Bureau and replaced him with Ron Still, a former commander of the Special Investigation Division in charge of investigating the Black Panthers. Through the efforts of civil rights leaders such as Ron Herndon, however, the incident served as a catalyst for police reform, including the creation of a public police oversight commission. Learn more about the Opossum Incident on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54v5GW5h_rk

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Rights & Usage

In copyright. Used by permission of the copyright holder, who retains publication rights thereto. Use of resources from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Copyright held by the Oregonian Publishing Group. This image may not be reproduced without prior approval. Please contact the Oregon Historical Society Research Library for additional information on usage.


  • PUpic_001259


March 12, 1981



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  • 23752; Oregon Journal Photographs Collection; Org. Lot 1027;

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