Q: What is the Oregon State Capitol Foundation?

A:  The Oregon State Capitol Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that works to preserve the Oregon State Capitol, share its history and engage Oregonians in our democracy. It also funds educational programs, projects and displays focused on connecting Oregonians to their shared heritage.

Its volunteer board of directors shares a deep love for the Capitol and its history. Board members include current and past elected state officials, former state agency staff and current and former legislative advocates.

Q: What is the Oregon State Capitol Foundation’s vision?

A:  Our vision is that Oregonians know their Oregon State Capitol as a beautiful, vibrant place to engage with history and democracy.

Q: What is the organization’s mission?

A:  Our mission statement is, “The mission of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation is to preserve our Capitol, share its history and engage Oregonians in our democracy.”

Q: What does the Capitol Foundation do?

A: The Capitol Foundation supports projects that help enhance the Oregon State Capitol and its surrounding grounds and preserves the rich history it represents. The Foundation also helps develop, sponsor, and fund events, exhibits, displays and other programs and activities that preserve our state’s history and engage Oregonians in our democracy.

Q: How is the Capitol Foundation governed?

A:  The Oregon State Capitol Foundation is an IRS-designated 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization; tax ID 20-5164853.

The Capitol Foundation is overseen by a 25-member board consisting of four officers, three senators, three representatives, fifteen voting members, and three emeritus members.

Q: How is the Capitol Foundation funded?

A:  The Capitol Foundation is not government funded and does not use your tax money. The Foundation operates with funds from a variety of sources, including:

Because the Capitol Foundation is a nonprofit, should you choose to make a donation, all or part of your gift may be tax deductible as a charitable contribution. Please check with your tax advisor.

Q: Are you part of the legislature?

A:  No, the Capitol Foundation is not currently a part of Oregon Legislature. Originally founded by statute in 1997 under the auspices of the Legislative Administration office, OSCF became an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2015.

Although the Capitol Foundation is now a stand-alone nonprofit, the Senate President and House Speaker continue to appoint legislative members to serve as liaisons between the board and the legislature, particularly because Oregon is one of a handful of states in which the legislature owns the Capitol.

The the Capitol Foundation Board nominates voting members. The Legislative Administration Committee confirms and appoints the nominees.

Q: What events does the Capitol Foundation sponsor?

A:   The Capitol Foundation is the presenting sponsor of annual Capitol History Gateway events at the Capitol including:

  • Oregon’s Birthday and Anniversary of Statehood.
  • Cherry Blossom Day.
  • Spring Break Passport to Fun!
  • Asian and Pacific Islander Day.
  • Multicultural Day at the Capitol.
  • Hispanic Heritage Day at the Capitol.
  • Oregon’s Bounty.
  • A Tribute to Veterans.
  • Tree Lighting Ceremony.
  • Holidays at the Capitol.

The Capitol Foundation also sponsors the:

  • Oral history project, which records the stories of prominent Oregonians in their own words. We’re currently working on transcribing the videos.
  • Installation of Capitol History Gateway displays in the galleria that showcase the stories of Oregon’s history while celebrating the diverse culture, ethnicity and heritage of Oregonians.
  • Display of exhibits from nonprofits, heritage partners and museums throughout Oregon.
  • The Capitol Foundation speaker series, which provides a platform for Oregonians to share their inspirational stories at the Capitol.
  • Summer concert series where talented Oregon musicians bring the community together to listen to live music at the Capitol.

Preserving history

The Capitol Foundation also funds improvements that contribute to the dignity and beauty of the building and grounds as well as projects that preserve history. Examples include the:

  • Creation of a 360° virtual tour of the Oregon State Capitol in multiple languages, including English, Spanish and Mandarin.
  • Construction of a welcoming information center in the heart of the Capitol, featuring interactive displays.
  • Restoration of Oregon’s Liberty Bell.
  • Purchase of the climate-controlled case, allowing opportunities to display sensitive historic materials (e.g., the Oregon State Constitution) to the public.
  • Gift of Steinway & Sons pianos to the Senate and House chambers.
  • Purchase of vests and personal amplification systems for Capitol tour guides.
  • Production and installation of signage for Capitol tours.
  • Installation of important memorials such as the:
    • Walk of Flags, featuring flags from all 50 states and the nine flags of Oregon’s federally recognized Native American tribes.
    • Oregon Veteran’s Medal of Honor Memorial, a collaborative project of the Foundation and Oregon Veterans Group.
    • Claire Phillips Memorial, honoring the entertainer turned spy, a humanitarian and World War II hero.
    • County flagstones recognizing three of the original counties incorporated into current counties including Champooick District, Twality District and Umpqua County.
  • Addition of granite benches to the rotunda.
  • Commission of governors’ portraits.
  • Purchase and installation of benches on the west grounds of the Capitol.
  • Replacement of the cane on Dr. John McLoughlin’s statue on the Capitol grounds.
Q: What are some interesting facts about the Oregon State Capitol?

A:  You can find free, family-friendly educational Capitol History Gateway displays and exhibits in the Capitol located at 900 Court St NE in Salem, Oregon. The Capitol History Gateway is a project of the Oregon State Capitol Foundation. The Capitol’s Visitor Services team executes the programming.

The Oregon State Capitol is home to both branches of the Oregon Legislature, the House and Senate. The building has offices for the governor, secretary of state and treasurer. Numerous citizens work there to shape our future. It’s easy to get involved in Oregon’s democracy. Learn how you can make a difference at

Oregon’s Capitols destroyed by fire…twice.

The current Capitol is the third building to house Oregon state government in Salem. Fire destroyed both previous Capitols; the first in 1855 and the second in 1935. 1938 marked the completion of construction on Oregon’s current Capitol. Learn more details about the Capitol construction.

The building uses a renewable energy source

The Oregon State Capitol became the first state capitol in the nation to use a renewable source of energy on May 1, 2002. Solid Ground Electric, in partnership with Independent Electrical Contractors of Oregon and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 280, installed solar panels to power lights that illuminate the golden Oregon Pioneer statue atop the Capitol at night.

It’s a great place to find public art

The astounding public art collection at the Capitol features work by over 150 of Oregon’s finest artists. The project was the first funded by Oregon’s Percent for Art legislation, one of the state’s many groundbreaking laws. Preview Oregon’s Capitol Art Collection.

Q: Who designed the current Capitol?

A:  Modern in its sparingly adorned facades, the building, sometimes described as “Stripped Classical” or “Art Deco,” won acclaim for the architect, Francis Keally of New York, who was associated with the New York firm of Trowbridge and Livingston for the purpose of the design competition. Also associated with the winning design were three East Coast artists of national reputation who, joined by a fourth at the time of construction, contributed sculptural relief and murals to an elegant, restrained decorative scheme depicting Oregon history and emblems. The sculptors were Ulric Ellerhusen and Leo Friedlander; the muralists were Frank Schwarz and Barry Faulkner. Learn more about the Oregon State Capitol.

No matter how you describe the building’s architecture, we believe our Capitol is beautiful and worth preserving.

Q: How old is the Oregon State Capitol?

A:  1938 marked the completion of construction on the Oregon State Capitol. In 2023, the building will be 85 years old.

Q: How many visitors does the Capitol see each year?

A:  Each year, more than 200,000 people visit the Oregon State Capitol. Visit the Capitol’s website to learn about the many exciting Foundation-sponsored exhibits, displays and events at the Capitol, which are free and open to the public.

Your donation to the Oregon State Capitol Foundation and purchase of Pacific Wonderland license plates allows us to continue working on behalf of all Oregonians. Thank you.

Q: How can I contact the Oregon State Capitol Foundation?

A:  You may contact us by: