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A Step At A Time Davenport Hotel Restoration Proceeds With Reopening Of Elizabethan Room

Davenport Hotel owner Wai Choi Ng, still frustrated by the historic building’s environmental problems, returned Thursday to preside over another step in its restoration - the reopening of the Elizabethan Room.

Ng raved about the work done to refurbish the room even as he continued to complain about the handling of an oil spill in the area, and what he said is a minor problem with a separate leak from one of the hotel’s old dumbwaiters.

Contamination from a spill at a nearby steam plant owned by the Washington Water Power Co. has complicated Ng’s efforts to obtain funding for full restoration of the Davenport, a downtown centerpiece since its completion in 1914.

It has been closed since 1985.

Earlier this month, the Washington Department of Ecology determined oil found beneath the Davenport was not from the steam plant spill, which dates to 1982, but from sources within the hotel.

Ng said the hydraulic fluid spill may be as little as 40 gallons, but the hotel is drilling to determine the extent of the problem.

“We certainly will clean it up as quickly as possible,” he said.

Ng said he would have a full report on the results within a few weeks. That should be augmented with an update on his efforts to secure financing for the restoration in Switzerland, he said.

But those concerns did not spill over into Thursday’s gathering in the Elizabethan Room, where wood panels and floor glowed from efforts to reverse the effects of neglect.

Six silver chandeliers hung beneath a ceiling raised in a medieval pattern and highlighted with gold paint.

Contractor Don Phillips said crews had worked for almost three months to restore the wood paneling, which had been concealed by wallpaper.

“A lot of elbow grease went into this place,” he said.

“This encompasses tradition,” said Ng, who has professed a fondness for the Davenport despite his ill-starred efforts to restart hotel operations.

The building has been open only as a site for banquets, receptions and other events in restored rooms on the ground floor and mezzanine, where the Elizabethan Room is located.

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