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 Governor Inslee’s 2019-2021 state budget proposal, now headed to the state legislature for review. Contact your legislators and request these programs’ continued funding! 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 has 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.
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.
What does the Washington Trust do?
Statewide: The Washington Trust serves as the voice for preservation in Washington State. When our state legislature is in session, we maintain a presence in Olympia through active participation in the state’s Heritage Caucus, testifying before legislative committees, tracking heritage related bills and policy, and assisting lawmakers in drafting preservation-related legislation.
Nationwide: On the national level, we coordinate and provide travel scholarships for grassroots preservation advocates to attend Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, DC. Through social media and other forms of electronic communication we serve as a clearinghouse and alert center for federal legislation and undertakings impacting the preservation community. Relationship building is a key component of our policy work. To this end we foster and maintain relationships with our Congressional delegation and their staff, providing key information on federal issues. Interested in joining our grassroots delegation and advocating for preservation on a national level? Learn more here.
Major advocacy successes from recent years include:
- Passage of state bill establishing the “Special Valuation” program which provides a ten-year property tax abatement for rehabilitation of historic properties.
- Passage of state bill establishing Washington Downtown Revitalization Program resulting in Washington Main Street which uses a 4-point approach for downtown revitalization, which includes historic preservation.
- Increased in the tax-based incentives encouraging private businesses to support local downtown revitalization efforts.
- Legal victory in the Washington State Supreme Court establishing the jurisdiction of local preservation ordinances over state-managed institutions of higher education.