Willamette University, Students at the Mill Stream

WU to construct underground tunnel system to the Capitol

After several decades of questioning about a suspected -- but never confirmed -- underground tunnel system between Waller Hall and the State Capitol, officials on Monday decided to break ground.


The new tunnel network will stretch beneath State Street and finally connect the two historic Oregon institutions. The usefulness of the project remains unclear, but, according to one member of the planning committee, "Maybe they can have underground races. That'd be really safe." A task force has been set up to decide on the most sustainable and equitable way of lighting the eventual passageway.

An anonymous donor has provided the funding for the tunnels, which are to be named the Tufton Beamish Memorial Expressway.

As early as the 1940s, secret tunnels were rumored to exist as emergency-evacuation routes between the State Capitol and Waller Hall. Many suspected that they had been installed following the disastrous 1935 Capitol fire. To date, no one has unearthed photographic evidence of such a system, however. 

Additional reporting courtesy of the National April Fools Day Coalition.