Jensen-Byrd Building

Status: Most Endangered Places, In the works!

Year Listed: 2012

Location: Spokane County

Location: Spokane, Spokane County

Returning to the Endangered List for a second time is Spokane’s Jensen-Byrd Building, a visible downtown icon representing the significance of Spokane’s early twentieth century prosperity. At 200,000 square feet and six stories in height, the formidable brick structure stands as the county’s second largest historic warehouse and one of the largest historic buildings in downtown Spokane. Located on the Riverpoint Campus, the base for Washington State University’s operations in Spokane, the building initially faced uncertainty in 2006 as the university prepared to more fully develop the site. Fearing demolition, locally-based Spokane Preservation Advocates (SPA) sought to raise awareness by nominating the Jensen-Byrd Building to that year’s Most Endangered List. Following the inclusion of the structure in the 2006 List, advocates worked with WSU on scenarios designed to retain the Jensen-Byrd Building in the overall redevelopment scheme. After the failure of several redevelopment projects that included an option for rehabilitation, in the fall of 2011 WSU sold the building to Campus Advantage, a Texas-based developer with plans to demolish the Jensen-Byrd Building and construct a new dormitory for the WSU-Spokane campus. This decision was made despite a comparable offer from a local Spokane developer who promised to adaptively re-use the Jensen-Byrd as a dormitory. This action prompted SPA to once again seek Most Endangered status for the structure. While the Jensen-Byrd Building has remained on the Washington Trust’s Watch List since 2006, the organization strongly felt the need to highlight the building once again given the current course of demolition. Recent reports indicate demolition will be delayed until 2013, but overall plans for the site remain unchanged.

First Hill Apartments

Status: Most Endangered Places

Year Listed: 2012

Location: King County

Location: Seattle, King County

The Baroness, the Cassel Crag, the Chasselton and the Rhododendron comprise a cluster of historic apartment buildings along Boren Street near Madison Avenue significant for their architectural styles and their association with multi-family residential development in Seattle. Collectively, by their proximity to one another, their similar scale and building materials, and their varied ornamental vocabularies that reflect design trends in the 1920s and the 1930s, these buildings provide the historic context for understanding the development of apartments/hotels for the middle class on First Hill. Virginia Mason Medical Center, owner of all four buildings, is creating a new master plan for its campus and has been working with a Citizens Advisory Committee and the City of Seattle to gather input. Early proposals show the demolition of two buildings, while the retention of only two facades is planned for a third.

Blaine Depot

Status: Still Standing

Year Listed: 2012

Location: Whatcom County

The first train pulled up to the Blaine Depot in 1909, providing a secondary means of accessing a city primarily served by maritime vessels until that time. The depot played an important role in exporting the region’s resources and aiding in its economic growth. Vacant for the past 6 years, the Blaine Depot has been determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Responding to community concern, BNSF recently shelved demolition plans, allowing time to assess alternative scenarios. One idea gaining steam is to return passenger rail service to the City of Blaine. The plan is acquiring supporters, including the Cascadia Center for Regional Development and the City of Surrey, British Columbia. Failing the return of passenger service, a second plan under consideration would relocate the depot to serve as an anchor attraction at a nearby waterfront park.

Harborview Hall

Status: In the works!

Year Listed: 2012

Location: Seattle, King County

Located in the First Hill neighborhood, Harborview Hall stands as a fine example of the Art Deco style in Seattle and a notable work of architect Harlan Thomas. But perhaps more important is the role Harborview Hall played in training multiple generations of nurses, serving as the base for the University of Washington’s School of Nursing from 1931 to 1961. Despite this, the master plan in place for the Harborview Medical Center Campus called for the Hall to be demolished, replaced with an open plaza. Complicating matters is the fact that King County owns the buildings on the medical campus, but responsibility for facilities management falls to the Harborview Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Under the leadership of County Executive Dow Constantine, King County intervened, asking the Trustees to allow the county time to assess the economic feasibility of redeveloping Harborview Hall. In November 2016, the county included $2.5 million in the budget to convert the building to a homeless shelter. While the project experienced significant delays due to code-compliance issues, an overnight shelter opened in late 2018 on the first floor only. King County Council is still exploring ways to upgrade the building to be an “enhanced” shelter which would be open 24 hours a day with case managers to connect shelter residents to housing and behavioral health services.

As for the rest of the building, there are no immediate plans but the Council is exploring ideas to convert it to low income or affordable housing. Executive Constantine’s office has estimated that a renovation of the entire building that would fully comply with code standards is around $15 million. The county is still determining the building’s long-term plan, a process that County Councilmember Rod Dembowski expects to take at least five years, with the shelter occupying the space in the interim.

We are excited to see the shelter open and are calling this campaign a save — for now. We’ll be keeping an eye on the building and will reopen the advocacy campaign if needed!

In the news:

‘It should have been open a year ago’: Homeless shelter to open in Seattle’s Harborview Hall — but it hasn’t been easy” – The Seattle Times, July 30, 2018

Harborview Hall finally put back to use as homeless shelter set to open” – Capitol Hill Seattle Blog, December 2, 2018

Harborview Hall opening to welcome up to 100 adults and their pets to warm, safe shelter on First Hill” – King County Press Release, December 20, 2018

Bureau of Reclamation Headquarters

Status: Still Standing

Year Listed: 2012

Location: Yakima County

In 1908, the United States Reclamation Service (USRS) constructed the Sunnyside Headquarters Building to serve the Sunnyside Division of the Yakima Irrigation Project. Presently, the building stands as the most intact remaining structure associated with early twentieth century efforts to irrigate the Yakima Valley. The Sunnyside Canal irrigation system was purchased by the USRS in 1906, and the Sunnyside Division became the first division of the nearly 500,000 acre Yakima Project. Currently owned by the Sunnyside Community Hospital, the building faced demolition in order to clear the way for construction of a new student health center. Responding to community concerns over the proposed demolition, the hospital, working with the school district, identified a new site for the health center. The reprieve may only be temporary, as other proposals for the site may soon be considered. The Sunnyside Historical Museum is currently working with the hospital on plans to relocate the Reclamation Building to a nearby site in the downtown area.

Post Hospital

Status: Still Standing

Year Listed: 2012

Location: Clark County

The Post Hospital at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve, significant as a fine example of military architecture from the early twentieth century, reflects innovation in medical practices and philosophies, particularly concerning X-ray technology and with the treatment of tuberculosis. Several environmental factors contribute to various issues that threaten the existence, structural integrity, and sustainability of the Post Hospital, which sits unoccupied. Most notably is its proximity to Interstate 5 and the associated air and noise pollution, exposure to acid rain resulting from traffic pollution mixing with rain, and direct sun exposure on the west side of the building. The most significant pending threat to the Post Hospital, however, is the construction of the Columbia River Crossing slated to begin in 2014. This important national infrastructure project will widen I-5 and place the interstate wall within 4 to 6 feet of the northwest corner of the Post Hospital Building. Officials with the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve hope the efforts in place to mitigate these threats will be successful, allowing the implementation of an envisioned community arts center in the building.

Morgan Middle School

Status: Saved!

Year Listed: 2012

Location: Ellensburg, Kittitas County

Completed in 1929 with all the trappings of a modern educational facility, today, deferred maintenance and incompatible additions raised questions about Morgan Middle School’s architectural integrity. Moreover, citing structural deficiencies and other shortcomings, the Ellensburg School District proposed construction of a new middle school on the outskirts of town. But residents of Ellensburg were not quite ready to concede the existing middle school – a handsome brick structure designed in 1929 by Floyd Naramore. After a lengthy public process, in 2015 voters approved a bond to rehabilitate the historic central core of Morgan while sensitively adding new wings for needed educational programming. The rehabilitated school opened in fall of 2018.

Efforts to rehabilitate the school were championed by local advocates organized as Modernize Our Morgan (MOM). With private funding, MOM commissioned a feasibility study which found the costs associated with rehabilitation to be comparable to new construction. These findings helped establish rehabilitation as the preferred option for the community. MOM member Robert Walker was instrumental in this effort. Sadly, Robert passed away a few years ago, but we acknowledge him here for his commitment to Morgan Middle School.

Historic Buildings within Washington’s State Parks

Status: Saved!

Year Listed: 2012

Headlining 2012’s roster was a thematic listing including the Historic Resources of Washington’s State Park System. With over 600 historic buildings and structures, Washington State Parks is the single largest owner of historic buildings in the state. The inventory of historic buildings, structures, and sites under the jurisdiction of State Parks includes territorial forts, coastal military fortifications, lighthouses, artillery installments, CCC picnic shelters, a seminary, and numerous others listed in local registers of historic places, in the National Register, and as National Historic Landmark Districts. Recent economic woes have made it increasingly challenging for the agency to sustain the needed level of maintenance at parks statewide, let alone address mounting capital needs. In the current biennium, the capital budget for buildings and structures is less than one-third of funding levels provided in the recent past. Moving forward, the State Parks operating budget will rely entirely on the success of the Discover Pass, a visitor fee-for-use program, the revenues of which have thus far fallen short of projections. Without adequate funding for capital projects, mounting deferred maintenance could lead to more serious building deterioration in the near term. Park Rangers, who already do double duty in performing a variety of maintenance tasks on buildings, will be going to seasonal employment, leaving dozens of structures unattended for periods of time.

The poster child for this thematic listing was the Seminary in St. Edward State Park, an impressive Renaissance Revival style building that has been largely closed off to the public since State Parks acquired the site from the Seattle Archdiocese in 1977. As the largest underutilized building in the State Parks system with rehabilitation costs far exceeding Parks’ financial capacity, the Seminary was at the forefront of our advocacy efforts. Thankfully, after several years of planning and negotiations, a public/private partnership emerged to adaptively reuse the Seminary as a lodge-style hotel.

Led by Daniels Real Estate, the plan required cooperation with Washington State Parks, the City of Kenmore, Bastyr University, preservation advocates, and hundreds of supporters who understood the value of a historic building situated within a state park. The plan even required legislative action to give State Parks the authority needed to negotiate a long-term lease of the site. But in the end, Daniels Real Estate’s reputation for tackling complex rehabilitation projects carried the day, and The Lodge at St. Edward State Park opened to the public on May 7, 2021—a stunning example of adaptive reuse and precedent-setting in terms of creating a public/private partnership.