Oregon News

Oregon Capitol south entrance reopened

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Oregon Capital Insider

It’s now easier for Oregonians to enter their State Capitol in Salem.

Although the main entrance remains closed due to the ongoing renovations and seismic improvements, the public entrance on the south side reopened Monday. Since July, visitors had been limited to winding their way through side entrances.

Visitors are welcome in the open portions of the statehouse during regular building hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Due to construction-related closures, reduced occupancy limits and higher than average foot-traffic, visitors should anticipate some delays or potential wait times to enter the Capitol,” officials said in a press release.

The south entrance, which includes a new wheelchair ramp, is on State Street across from Willamette University. It provides entry to legislative offices and to Hearing Rooms A-F, which will be used for Legislative Days that begin Wednesday. Lawmakers will resume in-person committee meetings. The Senate also will meet Friday morning.

The historic portion of the Capitol mostly remains off-limits to the public until construction wraps up, expected by January 2025. That means Holidays at the Capitol, which traditionally filled the Rotunda with the sounds of school choirs and other musicians, will not take place this year.

Nearby parking could be an issue for visitors. Construction vehicles and other reserved spaces have taken over much of the parking on the State and Court Street NE sides of the Capitol.

Paid parking is available on adjacent streets. A limited number of public metered spaces are located in the underground Capitol Mall parking garage. On Monday, most of the reserved spaces in the garage sat unused.

The construction is part of the Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance, and Safety project (CAMS). Work continues on the State Street side.

After new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ramps and entrances were installed along the northwest and northeast sides of the Capitol in phase one, the project began a second phase in 2020 to extend ADA accessibility to the south entrance. The project also provided seismic retrofitting to the Capitol’s House and Senate wings, and the connecting corridor.

This year, the project began its third and final phase, which will provide seismic upgrades to the historic portion of the Capitol, including the House Chamber, Senate Chamber, Governor’s Ceremonial Office, Rotunda, Galleria and Observation Deck. Since July, these areas have been inaccessible except to construction personnel.

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