Literally! In 1932, when Seattle’s Aurora Avenue was little more than a strip of leveled dirt, we were already in existence (as the King County Traffic Safety Council) developing traffic safety programs for roads that were becoming increasingly congested. Since then, much like the road, we have gone through many changes. But one thing that has remained constant is our goal to promote the safety of our roadways, workplaces and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Today we operate as a 501(c)(3) organization of professionals, council members and associates who are deeply committed to safety. We work closely with businesses, trade associations, state agencies and policy makers to develop and promote programs that keep people safe. We offer a variety of safety training programs at our Kirkland training facility as well as training and consultation at our customer’s locations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
The Evergreen Safety Council was established in 1932 as the King County Traffic Safety Council. Records indicate it remained under that title until at least 1963. Sometime later it became the Evergreen Safety Council (ESC) serving all of Washington State.
In 1972, the Evergreen Safety Council applied for chapter status with the National Safety Council (NSC). With this new status the Council became a training agency for defensive driving classes and the sale of National Safety Council training and information products. At this time the office of the Safety Council was located in Seattle’s Cascade Business District on John Street.
In the early 1980’s the Evergreen Safety Council moved to offices located in the administrative area of a hangar building under the jurisdiction of the National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at the Sandpoint Way Naval Station in Seattle. The Council remained in these facilities until 1991 when NOAA gave notice that rental to outside organizations would cease. Evergreen once again moved to the Cascade Business District in Seattle to a location at 401 Pontius Avenue N., in a building owned by PEMCO.
In the 1990’s Evergreen Safety Council developed new training and certification programs in Traffic Control, Flagger, Pilot/Escort Vehicle Operator, Motorcycle Sidecar/Trike safety and defensive driving. These same programs continue to be a mainstay in our safety training catalog today. Additionally, the council’s efforts in providing occupational safety and health training and workplace compliance programs were greatly expanded during this period of time. Today we offer a full catalog of occupational safety and health services to our members and customers.
In 2001 the Evergreen Safety Council was involved in the formation of a new association of safety councils, the American Association of Safety Councils (AASC). As a charter member the Evergreen Safety Council was instrumental in unifying the efforts of similar organizations around the country with the shared goal of greater safety in our workplaces, our roadways and in our communities. Today the AASC stands as a premier association of non-profit safety councils that span the country. Evergreen Safety Council is proud to be a founding member.
In January 2013, Evergreen Safety Council moved to our current location in Kirkland, Washington. While it was difficult for us to leave Seattle after 80 years, the new location provided us with a world-class training facility with multimedia equipped classrooms, a computer testing lab, banquet facilities, meeting space and a paved outdoor range for motorcycle and forklift training.
Today the Evergreen Safety Council continues as a successful, independent, 501 (c)(3) non-profit, non-governmental organization. While much has changed in the world since 1932, our dedication to the safety of people in the Pacific Northwest has not. We invite you to participate in our training programs, to become a member of our council and to join with us in our shared determination to make our roadways, our workplaces and our communities safe.
“I never let politics break my heart. Politics is politics. Sometimes it’s the best salesman who wins, but I have no regrets. I’m proud of what I did as governor. I did a lot before that too. I’ve never stopped trying to contribute.”
–John D. Spellman
If you have any interest at all in Washington state history, you will have heard the name of John D. Spellman at some point: commissioner, first King County executive, governor; progressive, environmentalist, avid advocate of civil rights, worker and roadway safety, firm believer in bipartisanship; modernized state government, championed the construction of the Kingdome giving the Mariners and Seahawks their first home, vetoed projects that endangered Puget Sound ecology. A man variously described by his peers as “a man of honor”, “one of the nicest people in public life I’ve ever known” and “one of the good guys”.
What you might not know, however, is that the governor played a crucial role in our continued existence. So important, in fact, that without his intervention, Evergreen Safety Council would not be here today or, at least, not in as fine a shape as we are.
To set the stage for you, the year was 1989 and we had just gone through a rough patch which left the Council on very shaky ground. Without hesitation, Governor Spellman stepped in and lent us his good name, which bought us the time we needed to rebuild. Not only did he selflessly resolve our immediate crisis, but he also stepped up to serve as President and Executive Director and would remain on the Board of Directors for over 35 years, providing wise and unwavering counsel to all, without ever asking for anything in return.
Governor Spellman passed away on January 16, 2018, at the age of 91, just a few weeks after attending his last board meeting. His wife of 63 years , Lois, passed away nine days later. In honor of his long and selfless service, we established the John D. Spellman Safety Award which recognizes and rewards those who actively pursue and reinforce a positive safety culture in their workplaces.
For a man with such a rich and varied career, saving our organization was probably just another in a long list of accomplishments. To us, however, it was no less than a helping hand when we needed one most. John D. Spellman had our back when it counted and we will always be grateful for his kindness, his wisdom and his help.