What we have there, in Salem, is a handsome building surrounded by a well kept park. More important, citizens have unfettered access to the seat of the state government. There is security, including some plain-clothes officers who were not present in years past. But there is no checkpoint. You can walk in without anybody stopping you, and you can drop in on the House and the Senate when they meet.
If you have some time to kill, you can find a seat in one of the hearing rooms and listen to the testimony on, say, the proposal to have Oregon voters consider a sales tax one more time. You’ll be bored, probably, because you heard these same reasons for and against going back 30 or 40 years, and you may have made some of the same points yourself. Still, you have to admire the earnestness of the witnesses making their case and the legislators listening to the points being made.
The Oregon Capitol is not crowded, even when hundreds of people show up for a special day — like OSU Day this past Wednesday. The Capitol remains what it has been all the time I have lived in Oregon, a friendly and open place. And even parking is not difficult to find — just bring plenty of change. (hh)