From the Salem Statesman Journal, June 10 2009
Both paintings will be destroyed as demolition continues, officials say
Two murals on the walls inside Oregon State Hospital’s crumbling J Building will be destroyed by demolition work, officials said.
Both paintings are expected to disappear this week as bricks continue to fall during razing of a portion of the J Building along Center Street NE.
Little is known about the origins of the colorful, landscape-depicting murals that became unveiled in recent days as state-hired contractors began to take down Building 43 — a 60-foot-wide section of the fortress-like J Building.
Hospital-replacement planners said they didn’t know who painted them or when. They said photos of the murals had been taken as a measure to preserve the pieces of hospital history.
Two years ago, a group of Salem history buffs waged a successful campaign to have the entire state hospital campus included on the National Register of Historic Places.
The prestigious listing doesn’t bar hospital-replacement planners from tearing down portions of the 126-year-old J Building and other hospital structures.
Plans call for more than half of the J Building to be razed to make way for a new $280 million, 620-bed psychiatric facility in central Salem.
The razing of Building 43 is designed to create a separation between parts of the J Building earmarked for destruction and other parts that will be preserved and incorporated into the new hospital.
The J Building was made famous by the 1975 movie that was filmed there, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” based on the novel by the late Oregon author Ken Kesey.