Scottish Rite Temple reprieved

By Jim Haley

Herald Writer

EVERETT — The historic Scottish Rite Temple could earn another lease on life, but a judge Friday said the building’s owners have some high hurdles to jump before the structure can avoid razing.

The 91-year-old building’s owners want the judge to reverse a condemnation ruling that would permit the destruction to make way for the city’s new special events center.

Skagit County Superior Court Judge John Meyer said he would give the Ancient Scottish Rite of Freemasons a chance to show that the Everett City Council was "arbitrary and capricious" Dec. 12 when it rejected a proposal to save the building and still build the events center.

"It gives us an opportunity to have our argument heard by the court, and we didn’t have that opportunity before the city council," said attorney Tom Adams of Everett, who represents the building’s owners, after the judge’s decision.

But the city’s attorney doesn’t think the outcome will change.

"We’re still comfortable with our position. It will just take a little longer," said Walt Tabler, a Seattle lawyer hired to handle city condemnation of land for the special events center.

Meyer said he would come to Everett to hear the case when the lawyers can find an appropriate date, probably in mid-January.

In the meantime, this delay isn’t expected to put a crimp in city plans to start construction by March 1, Mayor Ed Hansen said. The March deadline is necessary to accommodate the opening of the 2003 Western Hockey League season, which will have an Everett team playing in the new facility.

Still another possible problem for the city is the gathering of signatures on an initiative to force Everett to pick another site for the events center.

The $75 million facility is planned in a two-block section of downtown Everett between Broadway and Oakes Avenue on the east and west, and Hewitt Avenue and Wall Street on the north and south.

A second chance for the old temple building arose, said Adams, because of actions early this month by the city council and a city public facilities district — after the freemasons reluctantly agreed they didn’t have grounds to stop condemnation of the property for a public use.

The conditions changed when the public facilities district proposed moving the events center north 20 feet, changing an entrance, reducing the sidewalk area on Hewitt and making other changes that would save the temple.

In fact, the facilities district board even contemplated integrating the old structure into the new complex to possibly make up for destruction of two other historic buildings within the two-block area.

Those hopes were dashed Dec. 12 when the council voted 6-1 to demolish all three historic buildings.

Adams said he was promised time to make the freemasons’ case to the council Dec. 12, but the decision was made without taking his testimony.

Judge Meyer was handed the property condemnation matter after all the Snohomish County judges stood aside. Adams’ new motion to set aside the freemasons’ acquiescence was heard in a Mount Vernon courtroom.

Meyer greeted Adams with a terse comment: "Mr. Adams, you made a deal, and now you want to change your mind."

What do the freemasons object to?

"The freemasons object to government taking their property and demolishing it when it isn’t necessary," Adams told the judge.

He told Meyer he has subpoenaed materials from the Dec. 12 council meeting and an earlier public facilities district meeting to help make his case. Those materials should be available in early January. He asked the judge for another hearing so those materials can be reviewed by Meyer.

Tabler said Adams "is taking the court into areas where courts seldom venture," and he pointed out that it’s up to the city council and not the judiciary to decide on the design for the special events center.

Meyer agreed, then emphasized that Adams has a "very high burden" to prove the city council didn’t act correctly. But, "I think he deserves the opportunity to try to convince this court," Meyer said.

You can call Herald Writer Jim Haley at 425-339-3447 or send e-mail to

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian along I-5. Investigators believed a man had parked on the shoulder to refuel.

FILE - A person walks near the Legislative Building, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington's redistricting commission failed to meet its deadline and on Tuesday, Nov. 16, kicked the job of creating new political maps to the state Supreme Court. The bipartisan commission had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Monday to approve new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts following the 2020 census. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Do Snohomish County lawmakers want a 2020 presidential rematch?

The Herald contacted seven Republican legislators representing parts of Snohomish County about their primary choice. Five did not respond.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

Photo provided by 
Economic Alliance
Economic Alliance presented one of the Washington Rising Stem Awards to Katie Larios, a senior at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Mountlake Terrace High School senior wins state STEM award

Katie Larios was honored at an Economic Alliance gathering: “A champion for other young women of color in STEM.”

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

Flowers for slain trooper Chris Gadd begin to collect outside Washington State Patrol District 7 Headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Police: Lynnwood man consumed marijuana, beer before crash into trooper

Trooper Chris Gadd, 27, was stopped along I-5 when he was hit and killed early Saturday. Troopers suspect Raul Benitez Santana was impaired.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State trooper killed, 1 arrested in crash on I-5 near Marysville

Authorities said Trooper Chris Gadd had been stopped along the freeway around 3 a.m. near 136th Street NE. A Lynnwood driver, 32, was arrested.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night on December 11, 2017. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Following lawsuit, Providence commits to improved care for Deaf patients

Three patients from Snohomish County sued Providence in 2022 for alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.