Archive for the ‘News’ Category

March 2018 AKCHO board meeting report
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AKCHO Awards Committee Chair Pat Filer

The AKCHO Board welcomed Awards Committee Chair Pat Filer to its monthly board meeting on Monday, March 5, and discussed and approved the slate of AKCHO Award nominees that had been forwarded to the board by the AKCHO Awards Committee. 

AKCHO Board member Judie Romeo is in charge of managing the AKCHO Awards Program. It will be held at the Northwest African American Museum on the evening of Tuesday, March 27. DeGruv Catering will be back as the caterer.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of the sponsors listed below, admission to this event will be free, but advance registration is required. Watch for details to be posted soon.

Event sponsors (to date) include 4Culture, Historical Research Associates and Chateau Ste. Michelle. If your company or organization is interested in helping to sponsor this event, please contact AKCHO board president Alice Stenstrom.

Also at the board meeting, board members reviewed the current advocacy issues that are on their radar, including concerns over the Hahn building highrise project at the entrance to the Pike Place Market, and the King County Council’s interest in assuming more oversight of 4Culture activities.

All board meetings are open to the public. There are also some open positions on the board – contact board president Alice Stenstrom if you are interested in learning more. 


King County Council votes for more oversight of 4Culture
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After debating the merits of proposed Ordinance 2018-0086, the King County Council on Monday (March 19) approved the measure by a 6-3 vote

The King County Council has passed a controversial measure that will give it more authority over the governance of 4Culture. Ordinance 2018-0086 gives the Council the power to confirm the hiring of the new executive director after current director Jim Kelly retires; it will approve 4Culture’s annual budget, and it will give the Council a more direct role in selecting people to serve on 4Culture’s board.

“These are three small improvements to the way we interact with 4Culture,” said Councilmember Dave Upthegrove (District 5), who had introduced the measure in January. Councilmember Rod Dembowski (District 1) praised the new set of rules as “reasonable and modest reforms” and Councilmember Kathy Lambert (District 3) voiced the hope that this would be “a step forward in better communication and better clarity.”

Not all of their colleagues on the Council shared those sentiments. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (District 4) lamented that the councilmembers who proposed the ordinance hadn’t reached out to the cultural community in advance to gain insights that would guide the design of the measure. She said the move caught her by surprise, as well. Although she serves as an ex officio member of 4Culture’s board, she said she hadn’t been consulted by her fellow councilmembers before they introduced the ordinance. “That seems, frankly, very bizarre,” she said.

Councilmember Joe McDermott (District 8) called the action “a hostile takeover of the 4Culture board.” 

Councilmember Claudia Balducci (District 6) joined Kohl-Welles and McDermott in voting against the measure.

In public comment sessions prior to the vote at this meeting, as well as at previous Committee of the Whole meetings, the audience was packed with 4Culture supporters, and almost all of the people who gave public testimony decried the Council’s effort to encroach on the cultural development authority’s independence.

But citing this measure as an opportunity to ensure more equitable geographical distribution of 4Culture funding, as well as an impetus to do a better job of reaching underserved populations, Councilmembers Upthegrove, Gossett, Dembowski, Dunn (District 9), Lambert and von Reichbauer (District 7) voted in favor of the measure.


Emotions run high as Council contemplates 4Culture oversight
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 “Pretty disheartening on a number of levels” and “a circus act” were the ways two different attendees at the King County Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting on March 7 described the proceedings they witnessed. Councilmembers had gathered to debate an array of amendments to proposed Ordinance 2018-0086, the measure that would place additional Council oversights on 4Culture, which is currently an independent cultural development authority.

Two weeks earlier, at a previous Committee of the Whole meeting, members of the public were allowed to offer testimony regarding the Ordinance, and almost all of the 40 citizens who spoke were against allowing Council interference in 4Culture’s long-established funding distribution process.

But this time, the public could only listen – and squirm – as councilmembers debated, undercut and overrode one another in an emotional three-hour-long battle of wills and procedural tactics. At one point, three legal advisors were summoned to the podium to determine the appropriate procedure to follow. At other times, councilmembers used the term “power grab” to describe the way the Council’s actions might look to the audience members, most of whom wore green scarves to identify themselves as members of King County’s cultural community.

While councilmembers up and down the dais repeatedly stressed their interest in working with the community to determine a way forward, Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welle’s proposal to form a task force and seek community input in advance of taking a vote on Ordinance 2018-0086 was defeated. However, the Council later voted to include language that would mandate formation of a task force that specifically would have an equity and social justice lens – after the ordinance would go into effect.

Before the long meeting came to its official end, there was some audible scoffing from the audience, which prompted a rebuke from Council Chair Claudia Balducci. Later, some audience members walked out en masse to convey their displeasure at comments being made by one of the councilmembers.

Ultimately, in a 6-3 vote, the Council passed a striker amendment that had been created after meetings with all councilmembers and 4Culture board leadership over the last seven weeks. The elements of that striker include:

  • Eliminating the Council’s ability to remove the Executive Director (which was in the original proposed ordinance);
  • Clarifying the budget process by:

               • delaying the requirement of the budget review to 2020 to allow the organization adequate time to prepare for the change;

               • providing more specificity in the process for transmitting the budget;

               • including only one year of capital expenditures as part of the budget information submitted instead of six years in advance;

               • automatically transferring funds in the next fiscal year even if the Council does not take action at least 30 days before the end of the year;

  • And creating a process for the 4Culture Board to provide input and recommendations to councilmembers regarding the current makeup of the Board and needs/expertise the Board is seeking in new members when a vacancy occurs.

There were also a few more amendments that were added, including:

  • Creating a task force to evaluate the changes and the governance structure, processes and practices through an equity and social justice lens
  • Adding a policy statement regarding regional planning, outreach and regional investment strategy.

This version of the proposed ordinance, with the elements stated above, is scheduled to be acted on at full Council on Monday, March 19, at 1:30 PM.


History is more than human
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Author Frederick Brown and AKCHO member Fran Clifton

Dr. Frederick Brown spoke to AKCHO members at AKCHO’s February 2018 membership meeting. The author of last year’s AKCHO Award-winning book, The City Is More Than Human, Brown makes the argument that Seattle wouldn’t exist without animals.

“Materially and culturally, animals have shaped the area’s transformation,” he wrote in the introduction to his book, and at the AKCHO meeting, he detailed the many ways that animals have participated in the development of this place – as food, as labor, and as companions.

Yet he pointed out that our current tendency to neglect the historical import of animals differs significantly from the worldview of the Salish people, who were here millennia before the white settlers, and who viewed animals as powerful allies in understanding the cosmos.

Brown discussed how different animal species – cows, horses, pigs, chicken, salmon, and others – have had varying influences on the layout and development of Seattle, on the definition of different neighborhoods, and on human attitudes.

The Q&A following Brown’s presentation was one of the liveliest sessions ever -attendees had plenty of opinions and stories to share about relationships with animals and their “footprint” in different neighborhoods.

Brown is working on two more book projects at the moment. One is a project for the National Park Service that focuses on the Redwoods National and State Park Systems. The other has the working title of Sparrows and Starlings: The Avian Immigrants That Conquered a Continent.


Council hears from cultural advocates on proposed Ordinance 2018-0086
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AKCHO board members Sarah Frederick and Alice Stenstrom were among those who came to hear testimony on Proposed Ordinance 2018-0086

The King County Council got an earful of public testimony at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday, February 21, one month after proposing Ordinance #2018-0086, a move that would reclaim some of the critical governance powers that had been accorded to 4Culture when it was spun off fifteen years ago as an independent cultural development authority in charge of managing King County’s cultural assets. 

4Culture board members and some 40 members of the overflow crowd gave testimony on the impacts the proposed ordinance would have on the County’s cultural community. The overwhelming majority of the people testifying opposed the ordinance. 

Janet Way of the Shoreline Preservation Society seemed to sum up the sentiments of many in the crowd when she noted that “The King County Council must stand up for our culture, not undermine it.”

Most of the people who signed up to speak before the Council were from the arts sector – only about five representatives from heritage organizations spoke. AKCHO has gone on record as questioning the necessity of Ordinance #2018-0086. 



Heritage Advisor is published by the Association of King County Historical Organizations as a service to members and those who support its mission. We update our website continually throughout the month, and on the first of every month we e-mail a condensed version of Heritage Advisor to our mailing list – you can subscribe to this service by filling out the requested information in the right sidebar on this page.

AKCHO was established in 1977 to encourage cooperation among historical organizations; promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve; and support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

The Heritage Advisor welcomes submissions of news items, calendar items, and opinion columns from AKCHO members, HA subscribers, and readers. Articles are limited to 300 words and they should have a strong relevance to historic preservation and heritage issues in King County, Washington. Submission of an article does not guarantee publication. AKCHO does not pay for published submissions. All articles are subject to review by AKCHO staff. Please send your article within the body of an email (no attachments, please) to

AKCHO welcomes new members year round. Individual memberships are $25, and we have a three-tiered system for organizational memberships, with dues dependent on budget size. For more information and an application form, visit

More than 150 individuals and organizations support heritage work and historic preservation in King County, thanks to their membership in AKCHO. Please join us!




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AKCHO was established to encourage cooperation among historical organizations and to promote and encourage the study and preservation of the history and heritage of King County through member organizations, individual members, and the community they serve, and to support such preservation efforts through public awareness and understanding of legislative issues.

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