Current public policy advocacy efforts:
Grant Programs – In partnership with the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the Washington Trust is proud to administer the Heritage Barn Initiative, Historic Courthouse Program, and Historic Cemetery Grant Program, funding rehabilitation projects across the state. To date, these programs have supported the preservation of 103 barns, 26 courthouses (through 59 individual grants), and 22 cemeteries, and there’s much more work to be done. All three programs have been included in the 2019-2021 proposed budgets put forth by Governor Inslee, the State House of Representatives and the State Senate. Contact your legislators and request these programs be included in the final budget! For more information, visit our Grant Programs page.
Beverly Bridge Rehabilitation – The Washington Trust is part of a broad alliance of statewide conservation, recreation, and preservation organizations — including the Washington State Parks Foundation, Rails to Trails Conservancy, and many more — advocating for the rehabilitation of the Beverly Bridge in Central Washington. The Beverly Bridge currently sits as the pivotal missing piece connecting the eastern and western halves of the 285-mile-long Palouse to Cascades Trail. Rehabilitation of the Beverly Bridge represents a critical investment in Washington State tourism all along the trail, while continuing to enrich the recreational lives of Washingtonians. Governor Inslee, the House and the Senate have all proposed funding in the 2019-2021 state budget for the rehabilitation of this important structure. Support funding for the rehabilitation of the Beverly Bridge! For more information, visit our Beverly Bridge Rehabilitation Project page.
Washington State Main Street Program – The Washington Trust is proud to administer and operate the Washington State Main Street Program, in conjunction with the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP). Comprised of 34 Communities and 28 Affiliates, Washington Main Street is a major driver of downtown revitalization, economic development, and community placemaking in Washington State. Currently, however, the program is stretched thin. Whereas National Main Street Center standards recommend one staff person per 10 towns served, Washington Main Street has only one staff person serving the entire roster of 60+ Communities and Affiliates. DAHP requested additional program support in the amount of $120,000 for the biennium from the state legislature. This level funding is included in the proposed House budget. The proposed Senate budget is even more hopeful, as it includes $240,000 in additional funding for the biennium. Increased funding levels will enable Washington Main Street to hire another staff person and to provide much-needed additional resources. For more information about Washington Main Street, visit our Main Street page.
Washington State URMs Report – Brick buildings represent the greatest risk for damage and injury from a seismic event, and they are often among our state’s historic sites. A recent report issued by the Washington State Department of Commerce and Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation found 4,493 suspected or confirmed unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings in Washington State, 748 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places or the Washington Heritage Register. Thus, as architectural historian and Washington Trust board member Michael Sullivan puts it, “Remedies for earthquake preparedness are all about historic preservation.” For more information, visit our URMs in Washington State page.
Restore Our Parks (S. 3172 and H.R. 6510) – The National Park Service (NPS) manages more than 400 national park units—iconic landscapes, historic and cultural sites, trails, military battlegrounds, monuments, and memorials—throughout the country. New bi-partisan federal legislation to address deferred maintenance in our National Parks has been introduced in both the US Senate and the US House of Representatives. The bills are supported by the Washington Trails Association (WTA), the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), Pew Charitable Trusts, and the National Wildlife Federation — among others — and the Washington Trust has also now officially endorsed the legislation. Ask your Congressional representatives to sign onto these bills to help protect the natural and cultural resources on public lands! More info here.
Historic Tax Credit – The national preservation community recently rallied to protect the Federal Historic Tax Credit that has created more than 2.4 million jobs and leveraged over $131 billion in private investment.
Lobby Day – The Washington Trust coordinates and provides travel scholarships for grassroots preservation advocates to attend Preservation Advocacy Week (aka Lobby Day) in Washington, DC every March. Convening a grassroots group of citizen advocates, we meet with our Washington Congressional delegation and their staff, providing key information on federal preservation issues and sharing examples of the tangible benefits of historic preservation, including putting local craftsmen to work, bringing new life to abandoned and underutilized buildings, leveraging millions of dollars in private reinvestment, and generating economic development. By working together with a cohesive message in support of preservation-positive legislation, we strive to ensure a strong future for our federal historic preservation programs. For more information, visit our Lobby Day page.