WASHINGTON (AP) — Three areas of the Lincoln Memorial statue still show faint signs of staining after a vandal splattered green paint at the site last week, National Park Service officials said Thursday.
James Perry, the chief of resource management for the National Mall in Washington, said conservators were hoping a fourth cleaning process would remove the last signs of the vandalism. But they decided to apply a fifth application of the cleaning process Thursday night.
The statue was stained from the mid-chest area down to the floor with flecks of green and white paint early on July 26. Most of the paint was removed in an initial cleaning Friday after it was discovered, Perry said.
The darkest pigment remains on the Abraham Lincoln statue, below the statue’s right foot, on the left leg and on a chair arm.
“The statue itself is very porous white marble from Georgia,” Perry said. “So that’s been something we want to be very slow and deliberate in addressing so we’re not causing any deterioration of the statue.”
With each cleaning process, the stain has become fainter and fainter, he said. This week conservators used a soft-bristle brush and a marble cleaning solution to try to remove the remaining traces.
“Our preservation crew is saying we’re probably the only ones who are going to see it right now,” Perry said.
Green and white paint vandalism was also discovered this past week at the Washington National Cathedral, on a statue outside the Smithsonian Institution headquarters and at a church and statue of Martin Luther in downtown Washington.
A woman was arrested Monday and charged with defacing the cathedral. Authorities believe Jiamei Tian, 58, was responsible for all the incidents. She has a Chinese passport and apparently arrived in Washington in recent days, traveling on an expired visa.
Repair work is continuing at the National Cathedral and at another church where paint was found. The paint was removed more easily from the Smithsonian statue.
On Thursday, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s delegate to Congress, sent a letter to National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis asking for information about U.S. Park Police staffing, resources and coordination to prevent such vandalism on the Mall.
“There is now considerable concern about whether other monuments on the National Mall are in jeopardy of being vandalized, and whether there is adequate protection to ensure that such acts do not occur in the future,” Norton wrote.
She specifically questioned whether automatic budget cuts from Congress have reduced the number of park police officers on patrol around the clock. Planned furloughs of those officers ended on June 1.
National Mall Superintendent Robert Vogel said the agency remains confident that all of the paint stain can be removed from the memorial.
“We’re making good progress,” he said, “and we will be there very soon.”
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