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Inaugural ball moved to Capitol

OLYMPIA — The location of the Inaugural Ball, which has been the subject of much kvetching since it was announced several months ago, has changed. It will be back at the Capitol.

The Capitol has been the traditional location for the inaugural celebration, and the domed Legislative Building even has a large reception room with a dance floor (usually covered with a rug) for the inaugural dance.

A few months ago, however, the Inaugural Ball Committee announced it would hold the ball at the St. Martin's University gymnasium because of concerns over security and traffic control at the Capitol.

Admittedly, parking is not ample, and some streets around the Capitol aren't very wide.

But the announcement generated some biting complaints. A petition to return the ball to the Capitol circulated. One high-ranking legislator said he wouldn't be going out to the  because “I already attended a prom, in high school.” Some incoming office-holders, who will be inaugurated that day, also weren't pleased.

The committee held firm — until  Friday afternoon, when it announced the ball is being moved back to the Capitol grounds “through a cooperative effort” with Gov. elect Jay Inslee's transition team and the Department of Enterprise Services.

“The logistical concerns that first demanded a move away from the Capitol have been discussed with the relevant players, managed and changes have been made that will help with accessibility and security,” spokeswoman Lisa Cosmillo, the committee spokeswoman, said in a press release. St. Martins “graciouisly released” the committee from its commitment.

Little stroll down the dome

A worker from Western Waterproofing Co. of Seattle makes his way down the dome Tuesday.

OLYMPIA – Things are looking up at the Capitol. Up to the dome, that is, where a $1.1 million restoration project is cleaning off some eight years of grime, mold and moss on the outside surfaces of masonry and sandstone.

The cleanup, scheduled to continue through November, was delayed briefly last week when one of the platforms holding two workers gave way about 40 feet off the ground just as they were preparing to pressure wash part of the building. The workers were wearing safety harnesses and were unharmed, although one was suspended in the air for a couple minutes until a co-worker pulled him back to the fourth-floor roof.

Work stopped until all the equipment was checked and workers got additional safety training.

This week, some workers from Western Waterproofing Co. of Seattle, the contractor hired for the cleanup, seem to be rappelling down the dome on their way to cages attached to ropes that snake down the curved sides. Others are making their way along narrow ledges, power-washing or hand-scrubbing the many curves and crevices on the exterior ornamentation. . .

To read the rest of this item, click here to go inside the blog.

To get to the state Department of Enterprise Services webpage that follows the restoration project, click here.

Cherry blossom time in Olympia

The brightest spots in Olympia are actually outside the Capitol. Cherry blossoms and daffodils are blooming on the Capitol Campus. 

The State Capitol in autumn

OLYMPIA — So it's the calm before the election night storm here in Olympia, and with time to spare on the way back from the Washington State Redistricting Commission meeting today, (story above) I stopped to admire the fall colors which are still very much on display.

This is the north side of the Capitol Building from the north entrance to the Sunken Garden.