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Security scaled back at Olympia Capitol, pedestrians allowed back on campus

Pedestrians now have access to the West Campus of the Capitol in Olympia. (Washington State Patrol)

Washington State Patrol announced Thursday that it is relaxing security restrictions at the West Capitol Campus in Olympia, and is now reopening pedestrian access.

State patrol, National Guard set up extra security in Olympia

The west campus will remain closed to vehicles, but people will be allowed to traverse the area daily between 5 a.m. and 11 p.m.

“There are still many unknowns and substantial uncertainty as to how our security environment will continue to evolve, but we are hopeful that threat levels or illegal activity do not affect this restored pedestrian access in the days and weeks ahead,” Department of Enterprise Services (DES) Director Chris Liu said in a written release.

While this represents a significant change for recent increases in security at the state Capitol, some fencing surrounding the area will still remain in place. Pedestrians will be able to access the campus at gates located at each crosswalk of Cherry Lane “and at the top of switchback trail north of the Law Enforcement Memorial that leads down to Capitol Lake.”

The DES and WSP will continue to have personnel on-site providing added security.

Lawmakers, protesters prepare for legislative session in Olympia

Added security was first installed in Olympia in the wake of the siege on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. All 50 states fielded warnings from the FBI of threats to capitol buildings in the wake of that attack.

Despite those concerns, things were quiet in Olympia in the days to follow, short of two arrests made for failing to comply with a lawful order after attempting to enter the restricted area. One of the two people arrested was also determined to have been one of the people that breached a gate at the governor’s mansion on Jan. 6.

In late January, Gov. Jay Inslee announced that while the National Guard would be scaling back its presence at the state Capitol, WSP troopers and other security measures would remain for the foreseeable future. Up until Thursday, the west campus of Olympia’s Capitol was a restricted area.

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