Thursday, July 9, 2009

Salem, Oregon

Salem is the capital of Oregon and the state’s third largest city, with a population of nearly 200,000 (nearly 400,000 if you include the Marion/Polk county metro area).  The city is located on the Willamette River about half way between the coast and the Cascade Mountains.

Today our focus was the capitol building. This capitol is relatively new, having been built in the late 1930s and the “wings” added in the 1970s.  The previous two capitol buildings were destroyed by fire. Our tour included a walk up 122 stairs to the roof of the building for a close up view of the “golden pioneer” who stands on top.  A very knowledgeable guide took us through the House and Senate chambers and the rotunda.  From the outside, you don’t really notice a rotunda.  Perhaps the roof is flat and only domed on the inside.  In any case, there was no lighting from the top of the dome, so the photos were not good.  The seal of the state was centered under the dome, as is typical of most capitols we visit.  Along the walls of the rotunda, were several murals depicting Oregon’s history.
Circle of Flags

View of Capitol Mall
After our tour of the building and a small purchase from the gift shop, we found a small city park a few blocks away for our lunch picnic.
The Golden Pioneer
The remainder of the afternoon will be spent catching up on chores.  Gene got the “OK” from the office to watch the truck.  It is pretty dirty from driving in the misting rain for a couple days.  I’m going to scout out the laundry room myself.
Mural depicting Lewis and Clark Expedition

We are planning a trip to a nearby state park tomorrow.  Waterfalls and hiking are both involved.  We are looking forward to that.

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