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Chateau rehab at the Oregon Caves hit a snag

Is there any news about the reopening of the Chateau at the Oregon Caves? It closed in 2018 and was supposed to reopen in 2020, and the best information I can find now says 2021.

— Dave W., Libertyville, Illinois

Originally, 2021 did look like a good target for the reopening of the chateau, which has a large creekside dining room and canyon views that are even more enjoyable after climbing out of the caves.

Unfortunately, according to George Herring, chief of interpretation, a much more realistic possibility is 2023.

Why the delay? Some structural issues that will take some time to repair in the chateau’s foundation were discovered a few months ago during a rehabilitation project.

A flood in 1964 pushed the building slightly off its foundation, and it did not re-settle exactly right, according to Herring.

“When you go into the building you actually can find places where the beams are at an angle — they’re not straight up and down,” Herring said. “And other structural things where it kind of nudged things around inside the building. Again, what happened is during the rehabilitation there’s a lot of external walls and things that are taken down in order to affect the changes for the rehabilitation, and they started noticing things that called attention.”

The structure of the chateau is sound, he added.

And in case you were wondering, David, the caves themselves aren’t open either. Besides being loads of fun, spectacular and just plain cool, the deep, dark, wet caves are also an ideal environment to transmit a virus.

“Normally, we open in late March,” Herring said, “but as of now we’re going to start tours no sooner than Memorial Day weekend, which may be optimistic.”

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.