Friends of Astoria Column launch ‘Join the Crew’ capital campaign

The intensive restoration of the Astoria Column is underway: a critical assessment of required repairs is complete; intricate surface cleaning process and preparation for new paint is right on time; and the hand-painting and restoration of the historic murals is underway. Local citizens and visitors are becoming engaged in the process to preserve and prepare the beloved icon for its 90th birthday in 2016. With restoration expenses estimated at $1 million, the nonprofit Friends of Astoria Column now launches a ‘Join the Crew’ capital campaign to invite others to support the effort.

“For nearly three decades, the Friends of Astoria Column have helped maintain the Column, and there’s an intensive restoration underway now as we prepare for a 90th birthday celebration,” said Jordan D. Schnitzer, Co-Founder and President of the Friends of Astoria Column. “We’ve had 100% participation in donations by members of the Friends board; and we’ve received generous contributions from local businesses and individuals, but we now seek the support of citizens, businesses, historians, Oregonians and visitors alike to help preserve this iconic attraction now and in the future.”

Join the Crew!

While more than $500,000 has been raised to date by Friends of Astoria Column through private donors and regional events, the organization now launches the ‘Join the Crew’ campaign to support the caretaking of this historic treasure now and in the future. Join the Crew here:

·        Text the word ‘CREW’ to 9 10 11 from your smart phone

·         Contribute at,

·         Bring donations directly to the Astoria Column Gift Shop

·         Mail checks to Friends of Astoria Column, PO Box 717, Astoria, OR 97103

·         Visit and for upcoming fundraising events and restoration updates.

In a continued effort to protect, preserve and restore the Astoria Column, the City of Astoria and nonprofit Friends of Astoria Column last spring announced a joint venture to ensure the national landmark remains an enduring symbol of the pride, resolve and fortitude of the people who settled the Pacific Northwest. The project is now underway through September 2015. The Column celebrates 90 years in 2016.

“The Astoria Column, in and of itself, is an historic treasure unique to the entire nation,” says Marie Laibinis, internationally recognized expert in conservation of art and cultural objects, and Project Director and Conservator for the 2015 Astoria Column Restoration Project. “What makes the Astoria Column so incredibly special is its original artwork by Italian painter Attilio Pusterla, whose sgraffito technique was very similar to that used in Italy to adorn exterior building facades.”

Due to unforeseen weather-related structural damage found during the survey and assessment, the cupola will be completely waterproofed during the restoration and the Column will be closed to the general public through September for safety purposes while all construction takes place. The Column grounds, however, will remain open during the entire restoration project.

About the Astoria Column

Since 1926 the Astoria Column has stood tall atop Coxcomb Hill as the ‘crowning monument’ in a series of 12 historical markers constructed between St. Paul, Minnesota and Astoria, Oregon to celebrate early American settlers for their role in expanding the country to the Pacific Coast. The icon was constructed 600 feet above sea level which exposes it to punishing environmental conditions, gale-force winds and rain that inflict wear on the structure and artwork and require periodic restorative upkeep. The Astoria Column is a ‘crowning monument’ in a series of 12 historical markers constructed between St. Paul, Minnesota and Astoria, Oregon to celebrate early settlers for their role in expanding the United States to the Pacific Coast. The markers were the pet project of Ralph Budd, who was president of the Great Northern Railroad at the time. With funding for the project from New York philanthropist Vincent Astor—great-grandson of businessman John Jacob Astor, whose Pacific Fur Company settled in Astoria in the early 1800s—and the expertise of architect Electus Litchfield and artist Attilio Pusterla, the Astoria Column commemorates the historic events that transpired at the mouth of the Columbia River. The 125 foot tall national landmark was completed in 1926 and today welcomes more than 400,000 visitors a year. For more facts on the Column, visit

About Friends of Astoria Column

Friends of Astoria Column, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preservation, stewardship and public awareness related to the Astoria Column. The group was formed in 1988 to raise funds for and oversee the Column’s first full art restoration, an endeavor totaling approximately $1 million and completed in 1995. In 2004, the Friends raised funds for and managed a subsequent restoration totally $2 million, to include a new ADA-accessible granite plaza with benches, landscaping, night lighting and bollards. The group, with the City of Astoria, raised $600,000 in 2008 to replace the original 164-step spiral staircase. The Astoria Column Restoration Project 2015 is now underway.

For more information, contact:

Claudia Johnson, 503-799-2220,