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Abandoned pig found at Portland's Eastbank Esplanade

Police, demonstrators and two local women are to thank for protecting "Betty the Pig" and finding her a new home.
Credit: Mary McDonald-Lewis

PORTLAND, Ore. — Saturday’s night demonstration in Portland led to an interesting find on the east bank of the Willamette.

"I got a little message on Facebook that simply said, ‘are you up?’ And I had a feeling something was up," said Mary McDonald-Lewis.

Mary knew she had to quickly hoof it to get downtown. She’s been involved in animal rights and rescues for many years, but this will probably go down as her most unique experience.

"I pulled up and it was dark down there," she said. By then it was Sunday, about one o’clock in the morning. She met her friend Sue near Mayor Vera Katz’ statue where demonstrators were still hanging around.

Abandoned on the Eastbank Esplanade was a 300-pound pig. Mary mentioned that pigs have been used to make statements about police brutality at protests across the country. But she also points out that in this case it was demonstrators that protected the animal from harm.

"They had taken off all their jackets and had found a blanket to make ‘Miss Betty Pig’ as we called her, to keep her warm and calm," Mary said.

Credit: Mary McDonald-Lewis

As late as it was, she and Sue knew realized they were going to have to spend the night to protect the pig and eventually corral her. “I realized that if we pulled our cars in super tight, we could create a pig sty. So that’s exactly what we did,” said Mary.

Passing officers noticed the situation and the pig in a blanket. After a few tries, they got Betty into a police van. “You should have heard the screaming, she complained so mightily.” She was taken to an animal sanctuary. Thanks to Mary and Sue, Portland Police and the demonstrators who rescued her.

"She was no longer in police custody and now she is 'some pig,'" Mary said.

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