About Evergreen Land Trust

The Evergreen Land Trust Association (ELT) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 1974 in Washington State. The purpose of the Trust is to encourage the development of cooperative communities and sustainable land use practices through the preservation of land and housing. ELT serves to:

  • Hold title to real property, and the development rights to real property, in order to protect affordable housing, resource lands, and conservation lands.
  • Provide education and encourage the study of ecological systems, human development, resource conservation, and sustainable technologies.
  • Develop organizational models for cooperative stewardship of land that benefit both present and future generations.

ELT History

The Evergreen Land Trust Association is the oldest community land trust in the Pacific Northwest. The organization began as a grassroots effort to promote affordable housing, cooperatives, recycling, and other progressive initiatives related to land reform. Founded in 1974 through the efforts of Thomas von Bahr, with early support from Joyce Siniscal, Henry Boothe, and George Case, along with several hands-ful of dedicated progressives. In 1976, the first properties were donated into ELT—Prag House in Seattle and Pragtree Farm, near Arlington.

For each of these properties, a Trust Agreement was established to convey specific stewardship and educational purposes that would be held in perpetuity. A corresponding Use Agreement was written to define the responsibilities of residents in caring for the property. Over the years, ELT incorporated other properties using the same model. Each property’s unique stewardship and educational objectives align with ELT’s core purposes.

Organizational Structure

ELT holds both urban and rural properties in the Puget Sound region, including cooperative houses and farms. The ELT Board of Directors is made up of two representatives from each ELT property and Board members representing the community at-large. The Board meets quarterly to provide fiscal and legal oversight to the Trust and to advance long-range goals.

Once a year, a general membership meeting is held for all members of ELT to share information, report on annual stewardship activities, and elect the Board of Directors. The diverse mix of residents from the urban and rural properties brings a rich exchange of experience and perspective to the organization.