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Date published: 1/4/2013
WASHINGTON--Oscar Moreno doesn't want to miss this presidential inauguration, even if it won't be the history-making event that drew 1.8 million people in 2009.
After Election Day, the 23-year-old, Los Angeles-based artist began an online campaign on Kick starter to raise $1,100 for his travel expenses. He wants to join a group of 1,000 artists traveling to Washington from various cities to make public art on the National Mall on Jan. 21 in a crowd of hundreds of thousands of people.
For the Nov. 6 election, Moreno spent time designing and making patch prints showing a combined image of an elephant and a donkey with the message, "Whatever You Are, We're in This Together." He plans to make more of them in Washington to hand out in the crowd.
"I tried to add to the rhetoric of unity," he said. "Elephant or donkey, we're in this together."
While Washington probably won't see the record turnout from 2009, officials are planning for a bigger-than-average crowd for President Barack Obama's second inauguration. The crowd may again include many young people such as Moreno.
District of Columbia officials have pieced together early data projecting 600,000 to 800,000 people will crowd onto the National Mall on Jan. 21. That projection is based on past attendance and data such as current hotel and restaurant reservations and chartered bus permits. The National Park Service is making plans for crowds to spread across about 12 blocks of the National Mall, from the Capitol to 12th Street.
The Metro transit system is making plans for a similar-size crowd, based on its past ridership. Transit officials say they will run the system at maximum capacity with peak rush-hour service for 17 hours on Inauguration Day, from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The inauguration is the biggest event every four years in the capital, followed by the annual July Fourth celebrations. The 2009 inauguration broke records when 1.8 million packed in shoulder-to-shoulder to see the first black president take the oath of office.