Address: 900 Court St. NE, Room 140-A, Salem, OR 97301
About the Foundation
The vision of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation is to create a living history, enhance the dignity and beauty of the Capitol, and foster cultural and educational opportunities.
The Oregon State Capitol is a treasure to be safeguarded. The Oregon State Capitol Foundation is dedicated to preserving and enhancing the State Capitol and the shared heritage that it represents for all Oregonians.
Culture and Learning
The Oregon State Capitol is home to many art exhibits and historical displays. Both permanent and temporary pieces can be viewed in many of its corridors and lobbies. In the Governor's Office and the Galleria we provide many Oregon artists the opportunity to professionally display their artwork. Woodcarvings, Native American beadwork and quilts are just a few of the types of artwork that have been loaned to us in the past for the viewing pleasure of our visitors.
Each year thousands of tourists visit the Oregon State Capitol. Some come to admire the history of the building. Some are interested in the artwork. Others climb the 121 steps up into the Capitol tower and out onto an observation deck to get a closer look at the Oregon Pioneer and a spectacular view of Salem. Many more come to learn about or participate in the legislative process. During a legislative session, the State Capitol is full of activity with legislators, staff, and citizens from throughout the state of Oregon.
The idea for a non-profit organization originated in 1991 with the Capitol Preservation Advisory Committee (CPAC) who saw a need to explore funding sources and possibilities for Capitol projects which were not funded through the regular budget process. Initially, the group settled on the idea of organizing a "Friends of the Capitol" group. A subcommittee was formed to establish goals and objectives. In 1996, a Capitol Endowment Task Force was appointed by the Legislative Administrator to look into the possibility of creating an endowment fund to address ongoing maintenance needs without having to rely on General Funds. Ultimately, the 1997 Oregon State Legislature passed Senate Bill 1220 to establish the Oregon State Capitol Foundation and an Oregon State Capitol Foundation Fund. At that point, Foundation Board members were appointed and work began on a strategic plan for accomplishing their purpose.
Since its gala, kick-off event in April 2001, the Capitol Foundation has made significant progress. The Foundation's first project added four, beautiful granite benches in the Capitol Rotunda. On May 4, 2009, eight new black marble benches were added to the Capitol Rotunda. In 2003, the Foundation partnered with Oregon veterans groups to construct the Oregon Veterans Medal of Honor Memorial. The Memorial honors all members of the U.S. Armed Forces, past and present, while paying special tribute to the 13 Oregon recipients of the Medal of Honor. On June 14, 2005, the Walk of Flags was dedicated in Willson Park adjacent to the Capitol. The Walk of Flags features flags from all 50 states, displayed in order of admission to the Union. This display is a beautiful enhancement to the Capitol grounds and an educational opportunity for schoolchildren and other visitors. In addition the Foundation joined former Governor Vic Atiyeh to replace the badly weathered plaque describing the marble column segments in Capitol Park that were part of Oregon's former statehouse destroyed by fire in 1935.
The Capitol Foundation celebrates contributions to state government for the benefit of all Oregonians by sponsoring events such as Mark O. Hatfield Day, the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Commemoration, Oregon's February 14th birthday celebration, and Capitol Memories Reunions. Further, former elected officials, lobbyists and staff are interviewed for the Foundation's Oral History Project. The Foundation also publishes quarterly newsletters that provide updates on the Capitol, historical information and “alumni" news.
In 2005, the Oregon State Legislature called for the establishment of a Capitol History Center. In 2009 through passage of Senate Bills 961 and 1019, the Oregon State Legislature dedicated resources, to be generated through the sales of the Pacific Wonderland license plate, to fund a history center at the Capitol. The Legislature tasked the Foundation with the responsibility to steward the license plate sales and funds in service to the planning and development of such a history center. During 2011-12, the Foundation sponsored the Capitol History Gateway Strategic Planning Project which defines the mission and goals for the Capitol History Gateway. Phase one implementation is a two-year plan that kicked off in November 2012 and includes; interpretive plan development, 2013 and 2014 display case exhibit development, Capitol History Gateway brand development, wayfinding, exhibit and programing development, and website content development.
The Foundation sponsors several events that promote and support their mission including the bi-annual Hello Again Capitol Social and most recently, the Capitol's 75th Birthday Celebration held the week of October 1, 2013.
How You Can Help
In 2007, the Fund for the Oregon State Capitol foundation was organized as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The Fund provides the flexibility to invest all contributions to the Capitol Foundation into an interest-earning account. The Foundation is also included on the Oregon Cultural Trust's list of eligible cultural organizations. This allows the Fund for the OSCF to receive gifts that qualify a donor to make a later matching gift to the Trust and receive a 100% tax credit. Additionally, more than 200 people have joined hands with the Foundation as Capitol Friends and Lifetime Members to help further its mission. Others support the Foundation through memorial gifts and estate plan giving.
In 2009, the legislature passed two bills providing new revenue for the Capitol Foundation. SB 961 authorized a "Pacific Wonderland" license plate and divided the net revenue after expenses between the Oregon State Capitol Foundation and the Oregon Historical Society. The Pacific Wonderland plate has been re-created in honor of Oregon's sesquicentennial. By purchasing a plate, Oregonians can own a piece of Oregon history and help sustain the work of two important organizations dedicated to preserving it. The 2009 Legislative Assembly also passed Senate Bill 660, which authorizes state employees to use payroll deduction as a way of contributing to the Oregon State Capitol Foundation.
Excitement and support for the Foundation continues to grow. By partnering with the Oregon State Capitol Foundation you can have a part in preserving this grand, historical landmark and the history it represents for generations to come.
Oregon State Capitol Foundation Video