Oregon State Capitol Tour
Oregon's State Capitol
Oregon's present Capitol has its origins in two fires. On December 30, 1855, fire swept through a newly occupied Statehouse, completely destroying the structure. The Holman Building, in the business section of Salem, served as a temporary Capitol from 1859 until another one was completed in 1876. On April 25, 1935, fire again destroyed the elegant Statehouse patterned after the U.S. Capitol.
Francis Keally with the New York firm of Trowbridge & Livingston designed the current building, which was dedicated October 1, 1938.
A four-story structure of Modern Greek architecture, it was completed at a cost of $2.5 million and is the fourth newest Capitol in the United States. The exterior is faced with white Danby Vermont marble. The rotunda, the halls, and all of the lobby areas are lined with a warm, delicately polished Rose Travertine from Montana. The floor and stair- cases of the rotunda utilize large squares of Phoenix Napoleon grey marble from Missouri with borders of Radio Black marble from Vermont.
A Capitol "Wings" project, completed in 1977, at a cost of $12.5 million, added further space for legislative offices, hearing rooms, support services, a first floor galleria, and underground parking.
Surrounded by the State Capitol State Park, the beauty of the Capitol is enhanced by its utility. The building houses several elected state officials - the Governor, the Secretary of State, and the State Treasurer - in addition to the entire Legislative Branch of state government. Spacious hearing rooms provide Oregonians an opportunity to participate in legislative decision making and to view state government at work.
In the late 1990's a series of health and safety issues were identified in the Capitol wings. After an initial plan for replacing only the defective pipes, wiring and ceiling was developed, it was determined that it would be most cost effective to address additional areas of concern in a single project. The 74th Legislature approved the "Capitol Restoration Project" in June 2007. Work in the Capitol wings took place between July 2007 and November 2008.
Early in the morning of August 30, 2008, fire broke out on the terrace outside the governor's office complex on the second floor of the Capitol. The fire resulted in water and/or smoke damage to areas in the basement, first floor galleria, second floor governor's complex, Committee Services in Rooms 350 and 453, and the Legislative Counsel library. The fire began in construction materials being used on a terrace project outside the governor's ceremonial office.