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Save Our Capitol! Make your voice heard: A Free Public Forum to Mobilize Action

Save Our Capitol! Program Description

A planned billion-dollar demolition and rebuild at the California State Capitol threatens to restructure the historic landscape and demolish a mid-century annex building. Among the threatened resources are some of the 100 trees in the public park.

Preservationists, small business advocates, government watchdogs, and environmentalists are opposing this project, and CPF is holding this public forum to inform and engage people so they can take action.

This online forum will focus on the Annex and Park/West Plaza areas threatened. Dick Cowan, former Chair of the Historic State Capitol Commission will provide context; M. Wayne Donaldson, former Chair of the ACHP and former SHPO will discuss the issues with the Capitol Annex; Karen Jacques, from Preservation Sacramento will provide an overview of the West Plaza issues; and Paula Peper will discuss the planned damage to the memorial trees in the West Plaza.

We will close with a call to action for all in attendance and a moderated Q&A with the panelists.


Dick Cowan is past chair of the Historic State Capitol Commission and President of the construction management division of Clark & Sullivan Construction. He has worked on such projects as the Denver International Airport, California State Capitol Restoration and the Sacramento Main Library. Cowan earned a bachelor of science in civil engineering from Cornell University in New York and a masters in construction management from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a registered professional engineer in California.


M. Wayne Donaldson was appointed by President Barack Obama as Chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation in 2010. He was formerly the California State Historic Preservation Officer from 2004-2012. Architect Milford Wayne Donaldson FAIA celebrates its 37th year with projects throughout the United States. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from California Polytechnic University, Master of Science from the University of Strathclyde, Scotland and has received his Masters in Public History and Teaching from the University of San Diego. He is an architect of innovative design and has received several awards in preservation architecture including the 2014 American Institute of Architects Historic Resources Proclamation, the 1990 California Council, American Institute of Architects Award of Excellence, the 1991 CCAIA Distinguished Historic Preservation Award and the Preservationist of the Year Award by the California Preservation Foundation in 1995. In 1992, the American Institute of Architects inducted Mr. Donaldson into the College of Fellows.

Karen Jacques has lived in the Central City of Sacramento for over thirty years and is a long-time preservationist and neighborhood activist. Karen and her husband have rehabbed nine historic buildings in the Central City, doing most of the work themselves. She founded the Midtown Neighborhood Association (formerly Winn Park/Capitol Avenue) in 1991 and began serving on the SOCA board in the mid 1990’s. She also coordinated the Fainted Ladies Tour - a bus tour designed to call attention to old buildings in danger of demolition due to neglect (1994 to 2003). Ms. Jacques has served on both the Preservation Commission, including two years as chair, as well as the Sacramento Heritage Board.

Paula Peper is a nationally recognized, award winning ecologist, tree expert, historian, author, urban forest researcher, and retired United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service employee.