The city of Livermore shared a social media post Thursday informing the community that a maintenance evaluation required the removal of a well-known local art landmark.
The Centennial Park totem pole is currently missing from its usual post located at the corner of Fourth and Holmes streets, city officials said.
"The totem pole has been removed so that it may undergo a maintenance evaluation. We’ll update the community upon completion of the evaluation," the city's Facebook post reads.
City officials told the Weekly that its Public Works Maintenance Division is conducting the evaluation and fumigation is required because "there are pests present." Additionally, officials said there are other "significant structural issues" that are being assessed. They did not elaborate on the expected length of the totem pole's absence.
The piece of historic public art was carved by artist Adam "Fortunate Eagle" Nordwall in 1969 and was installed at Centennial Park in celebration of Livermore’s 100th anniversary in 1974, according to the city's public art guide.
In December, the totem pole was brought up during a social media-fueled controversy over the city's Equity and Inclusion Subcommittee after an article circulated online by pro-police website Law Enforcement Today suggested that the city group was debating whether the Thin Blue Line flag -- which is used to express support for law enforcement, but is considered by others as a symbol of intimidation -- should be labeled as a symbol of hate.
At the time, one of the Equity & Inclusion subgroups that focused on community, culture and representations was considering conducting a community-wide assessment and action project, involving taking inventory of artwork, artifacts and other symbols throughout the city that represent and signify systemic racism as well as the symbols that signify equity and inclusion.
While the Thin Blue Line flag was at the center of the debate, concerns were raised by community members that public art displays -- like the totem pole and the "Circle of Peace" sculpture depicting three children holding hands in a circle located in Hansen Park -- were at risk of removal.
Then-Mayor John Marchand clarified that the city had not made any decisions to remove any of the city's artifacts.
"We are not considering removing the totem pole, we're not removing the statue of the three children and the city has not decided to do anything at this point," Marchand said during the Dec. 14 City Council meeting.
"This is merely an exercise to begin a community conversation. So, with that -- just to put everyone's minds at ease -- we're not taking out the totem pole, we're not removing the circle of children," he added.
The city's complete post about the totem pole's removal for maintenance evaluation can be found here.