- Associated Press - Thursday, December 24, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Apple started covering up the George Floyd mural on its downtown Portland, Oregon, store Wednesday as part of a plan to preserve and donate the historic artwork.

“We’re going to be putting up a protective layer of plywood over the existing artwork to preserve them for future donation,” Apple said in a statement to The Oregonian/OregonLive this week. The company said it expected to announce long-term plans for the mural early next year.

The storefront, and the windows of many other downtown retailers, have remained boarded up in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Portland artist Emma Berger began the mural on Apple’s boarded-up storefront June 1 and it was subsequently augmented with other art, becoming a national symbol of the protest movement during the summer.

In September, Berger described the mural as a collaborative effort and said she felt no personal claim to it.

Apple’s store closed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, reopened briefly in May and then shut again amid protests. The company hasn’t set a date to reopen it.

Downtown Portland has struggled throughout the pandemic, with offices emptied and many retailers and restaurants closed. Protesters and police clashed almost nightly through early summer, putting Portland in the spotlight during the nationwide upheaval triggered by Floyd’s killing.

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