Bipartisan Bill Supports Historic Downtowns in Lewis and Cowlitz Counties

House Bill 2868 recently passed the State House with unanimous Bipartisan support. The legislation, Sponsored by 19th Legislative District Representatives Walsh and Blake, is very important to small and rural communities because it encourages investment and reinvestment into historic downtown properties.

Centralia Downtown Historic District

Historic downtowns are a vital part of the local economy and way of life in many parts of rural Washington. I work in historic downtown Centralia in the historic Masonic Building. I live in a historic neighborhood in Centralia. Preserving, enhancing, and encouraging investment in historic downtown communities is important to any diverse economic development plan.

Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District
Peter Abbarno in front of his law office, Althasuer Rayan Abbarno, in historic downtown Centralia.

According to House Bill 2868, Rehabilitated historic properties receiving Rehabilitated historic properties receiving special valuation for purposes of property taxation are eligible for two seven-year extensions of the special valuation if the property is located in a city that is listed as a distressed area by the Employment Security Department (ESD) and has a population of less than 20,000. This would include many cities in the 20th Legislative District, including Centralia and Chehalis in Lewis County.

Some properties that are currently receiving this tax preference are nearing the expiration of the exemption. I know there are many historic property owners haven’t recouped their investment and this would help them, and organizations like the Centralia Downtown Association and Chehalis Renaissance, continue revitalizing their building and revitalizing our historic commercial and residential buildings. I am very glad to see the bipartisan leadership on this issue to support our historic communities.

Peter Abbarno, Business Owner, Attorney, Centralia Mayor Pro Tem, Candidate for State House in the 20th Legislative District
Historic Downtown Centralia with the Lewis and Clark Hotel on the Left and the Masonic Building with law office of Althauser Rayan Abbarno on the Right

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