Policy Success Stories

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 the INVEST in America Act, a $715 billion, five-year transportation bill in the U.S. House of Representatives. The final bill included an amendment from Rep. Teresa Leger Fernandez (D-NM) to permanently reauthorize the Historic Preservation Fund and double its authorization from $150 million annually to $300 million annually. The Washington Trust wrote a letter of support to Rep. Leger Fernandez regarding the amendment and received a mention in her press release about the bill.
  • 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 four-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.