Q: Why does the Astoria Column need to be restored?
A: The Column is exposed to extreme weather conditions, particularly during winter months, when rain and wind can be both prevalent and harsh. These conditions conspire to trap dirt and harbor biological growth on the rough “sgraffito” surface of the Column, darkening the artwork to the point that its colors and designs are almost indiscernible.
Q: Why is it important to perform restoration work on the Astoria Column now?
A: The 1995 restoration paint is eroding away due to hard-driven rain and climatic conditions. There are also structural evaluations and repairs that need to be performed.
Q: How much will it cost to restore the Astoria Column and who will pay for it?
A: Restoration of the Column, the plaza, and activities related to the project will cost approximately $1 million. The Friends of Astoria Column is paying for the work, through grants and private contributions. Over half of the cost has already been secured through private contributions and we encourage you to join the effort by making a donation.
Q: What treatments and repairs will be applied during this project?
A: Exterior stucco coat and murals will be cleaned of biological growth; delaminating stucco will be stabilized and murals will be painted; any necessary structural repairs to observation deck will be performed; and vertical cracks will be filled.
Q: Who is doing the restoration work on the Astoria Column?
A: MCL Conservation, LLC of Portland, with the assistance of two managers from Astoria and scenic artists from the Seattle Opera. The structural evaluation will be performed by Wiss Janney Elstner Associates, Inc.
Q: How long will the Astoria Column restoration take?
A: The restoration will take place May through September of 2015.
Q: Will the Astoria Column be open during the restoration project?
A: The Column grounds will remain open during the restoration project, though access to the interior of the Column will be prohibited through September 2015. Please call or visit us online at www.astoriacolumn.org, Facebook, or Twitter for the latest closure information.
Q: When is the last time a restoration was completed at the Astoria Column?
A: The artwork was last restored in 1995, along with repairs to the cupola and observation deck. Subsequent improvement projects include plaza and accessibility upgrades, seismic upgrades and installation of lighting in 2004, and replacement of the Column’s internal spiral staircase in 2008.
Q: When will it be necessary to do this type of a project again?
A: An ongoing maintenance manual and treatment plan for future restoration is part of this summer’s work. It is reasonable that another restoration will occur in 20 to 30 years.
Q: Where can I learn more about the Astoria Column restoration project?
A: Visit us online at www.astoriacolumn.org to learn more about this restoration. Visit the Column’s social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter, call, or come up for a visit. There are scheduled docent talks throughout the summer months to share information on the Column’s history and restoration.