Rep. Flannigan awarded historic preservation Deeds Award

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announced Tuesday the recipients of its fourth annual Landmark Deeds Award for Public Service.

The awards are presented annually to public figures who demonstrate leadership on issues connected to preserving and retaining Washington’s heritage and who understand the critical role historic resources play in providing livable, sustainable communities statewide.

The Washington Trust presented the 2008 awards to Rep. Dennis Flannigan (D-27th), Sen. Craig Pridemore (D-49th), and King County Councilmembers Bob Ferguson (District 1) and Larry Phillips (District 4) in recognition of their contribution to protecting Washington’s invaluable cultural resources.

Award presentations were made at the Stimson-Green Mansion in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood on Dec. 2 as part of the Washington Trust Members’ Holiday Open House.

The 2008 award winners are being honored for the following:

Rep. Dennis Flannigan (27th District)

For 95 years, the Murray Morgan Bridge has commanded a prominent position in Tacoma’s skyline and played a vital role in the city’s economic and social development. Today, however, the National Register-listed structure is closed to vehicular traffic and faces an uncertain future. That the bridge even has a future at all is in large part due to the efforts of Rep. Flannigan. At one point several years ago, state funds were allocated to demolish the bridge. As Vice Chair of the House Transportation Committee, however, Rep. Flannigan effectively negotiated terms permitting state funds to be used for bridge rehabilitation. In addition, during the 2008 legislative session Rep. Flannigan introduced a bill that would enable the City of Tacoma to create a transportation improvement district with sales tax revenue going toward maintenance and operation of the bridge. The campaign to save the Murray Morgan Bridge continues today (it was included in the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2008 Most Endangered Historic Properties List). With tremendous support from local elected officials and civic groups, Representative Flannigan has been instrumental in keeping preservation on the table as an option for the Murray Morgan Bridge.

Sen. Craig Pridemore (D-49th)

Throughout the course of his public service, both in the state legislature and as a Clark County Commissioner, Sen. Pridemore has been a supporter of issues related to heritage and the sites and structures that embody Washington’s historic and cultural layers. This held true a few years ago with the passage of House Bill 1386. Passed in 2005, the bill increased the surcharge on document-recording fees collected at the county level for the preservation of historical documents from two dollars to five dollars. Seeing an opportunity to further the work of local museums and heritage organizations, Sen. Pridemore penned an amendment to the bill requiring that one dollar of the surcharge deposited in the county general funds be earmarked to promote historic preservation or historical programs. As written, the enabling legislation gives county commissioners authority over how the funds are distributed.

After three years, the funding made available through Sen. Pridemore’s amendment has had a positive impact. No fewer than nine counties across the state have implemented grant programs or made allocations to heritage-related organizations for historical programming. A sampling of projects receiving funds to date includes survey work, preservation planning, bricks and mortar rehabilitation, and collection acquisitions. Efforts are underway in other counties to establish processes for distributing funds.

King County Councilmembers Bob Ferguson (District 1) and Larry Phillips (District 4)

With incentives for owners of landmark properties including the current use taxation program, dedicated grant programs, low interest loans, and the recently established Barn Again and Historic Cemetery Preservation programs, King County has supported the types of preservation policies and practices that enrich the quality of life for everyone. King County Councilmembers Bob Ferguson and Larry Phillips, through their co-sponsorship of several county ordinances passed in October of 2008, have ensured historic preservation will play a stronger role in decision-making and advance efforts to preserve and protect historic and cultural resources throughout King County. Specifically, legislation co-sponsored by Councilmember Ferguson and Councilmember Phillips includes historic preservation action plans for improving stewardship of county-owned historic resources and streamlining the permitting process for privately owned historic and archaeological properties. In addition, major maintenance reserve funds may now be utilized for historic preservation projects. Finally, updated cost estimates and a financing plan associated with the restoration of the landmark King County Courthouse have been approved.

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, an independent, nonprofit organization, promotes the preservation of historic places in Washington State through advocacy, education, collaboration, and stewardship. Founded in 1976, the Washington Trust addresses its mission through the annual Most Endangered Historic Properties List, educational tours of its landmark headquarters, the Stimson-Green Mansion in Seattle, conferences and training workshops, a quarterly members’ newsletter, a small grants fund, and action on legislation and public policy.

Visit the Trust Web site at for more information.