Beyond Integrity

This coalition of advocates is elevating equity in preservation standards and practices. We’re looking beyond architectural integrity when deciding what places we save.

A 3-story, brick building is photographed from across the street. The building has bay windows on the 2nd and 3rd floors and a storefront with a sign reading "VAIN" on the ground floor. The building is surrounded by high rise buildings with glass windows.
Vain Building, Seattle, photo by Tera Williams, all rights reserved.

About the Initiative

There are places that are too important to lose, even as we remake our neighborhoods, cities, and landscapes. Too often, processes that prioritize architectural integrity and longevity ignore cultural significance—particularly to communities of color. Here’s how we’re tackling those challenges.

Who We Are

We are a diverse working group of advocates, organizers, and preservation professionals from across King County. We share a passion for making change in our field.

What We Do

Our goal is systemic change. We work to identify inequity in current preservation processes, engage local decision-makers in embracing new standards, and foster stronger voices for advocates throughout the region.

You Are Invited

Beyond Integrity is an open group! We meet regularly to discuss, strategize, and plan, and do independent work as well. Interested in being a part of this initiative? Contact Dana Phelan at

Explore Our Work

For the past three years, Beyond Integrity group members and program interns have researched sites, pinpointed inequities, and explored new ways to protect historic properties. Dive in to see what we’ve learned and where we’re headed.

Landmarks: What We Know

Data gathered on designated landmarks in King County and an assessment of their connection to underrepresented communities established a starting point for our work.


What is Missing?

Data on historic King County properties that were nominated for landmark status but not successfully designated was evaluated, with the goal of understanding causes and trends.


Case Studies for Change

Research on the social and cultural history of the former Colman School and the Redmond Hotel resulted in recommendations on how to enhance the cultural record.


Starting with Cultural Significance

Surveys and inventories are often the first step in identifying significant historic properties in an area. How do local survey methods line up with national standards?


Equity in Historic Preservation

Two reports: 2015-2022 landmark nominations and underrepresented communities in King County, plus nationwide models for cultural significance.


Culturally Significant Places on Beacon Hill

Ethnographic and historical research on Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood includes a catalog of culturally significant places, with oral history interviews, and a critical response to the inequities of traditional preservation practice. (2023)