Capitol construction zoo of trees
SALEM — A labyrinth of fences surround the state Capitol, caging in the historical Camperdown Elm trees and other trees on the grounds.
While resembling a zoo for trees, it's, in fact, a method for protecting the trees during the latest phase of the two-year, $59.9 million Capitol Accessibility, Maintenance and Safety (CAMS) project.
Portions of the State Capitol State Park grounds were closed last month and are scheduled to remain off limits through December 2019, while workers construct more accessible doors and walkways at the east and west entrances to the Capitol, said Marina Cresswell, a project manager in Legislative Administration.
The Capitol was built in 1938 and has outdated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. In 2016 Legislative Assembly approved the construction project to address Americans with Disabilities Act deficiencies; the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and security and safety issues in the marble building. The project also calls for adding an accessible entry and pathway to the main entrance on Court Street in spring 2019.
Crews are removing landscaping and five trees to make way for two short gravel roads for dump trucks, cranes and other equipment needed during the project. To make way for the west side gravel road, the Walk of Flags area will also be fenced off and all flags removed, along with about half of the flag poles and monuments.
The east and west entrances to the Capitol will be closed intermittently during construction. The south entrance on State Street and the north entrance on Court Street will not be affected. A temporary ADA ramp and door will be installed at the south entrance.