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King County voters on Forward Thrust bonds approve stadium and aquarium and nix transit on February 13, 1968.

HistoryLink.org Essay 2168 : Printer-Friendly Format

On February 13, 1968, King County votes on 12 proposed Forward Thrust bond propositions (and one transit administration referendum) totaling $815.2 million. Voters approve seven propositions worth $333.9 million by the required 60 percent, including a $40 million multi-purpose stadium (the Kingdome) and $118 million for new parks. Local bonds for $385 million to help fund a $1.15 billion rapid transit system fail with only 50.8 percent of the vote.

Also approved were funds for a youth service center and arterial highways in King County, as well as neighborhood improvements, sewers, and fire protection in Seattle. Failing were proposals for community centers and storm water drainage in King County and low income housing and municipal maintenance shops in Seattle.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer called the vote a "major community triumph," but supporters such as Forward Thrust founder James R. Ellis and Seattle Mayor Dorm Braman expressed disappointment in the failure of the Rapid Transit measure. Braman predicted that the transit system's rejection would have "tragic results."

The following final but unofficial tally was reported in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on February 15, 1968:


Proposition 1: Rapid Transit ($385 million in local bonds; $1.15 billion total)
Yes -- 97,339 (50.8%)
No -- 94,187

Proposition 2: Transit System Administration (voided by failure of Metro Prop. 1.)
Metro Council -- 75,808 (46.8%)
New Commission -- 86,202


Proposition 1: Youth Service Center ($6.1 million)
Yes -- 174,749 (72.4%)
No -- 66,594

Proposition 2: Multipurpose Stadium ($40 million)
Yes -- 151,489 (62.3%)
No -- 91,499

Proposition 3: Community Centers ($26.2 million)
Yes -- 136,804 (58.7%)
No -- 96,129

Proposition 4: Arterial Highways ($81.6 million)
Yes -- 147,379 (62.2%)
No -- 89,489

Proposition 5: Storm Water Drainage ($68 million)
Yes -- 139,254 (59.3%)
No -- 95,373

Proposition 6: Parks & Recreation (with Aquarium, $118 million)
Yes --157,323 (64.7%)
No -- 85,790


Proposition 1: Neighborhood Improvements ($12 million)
Yes -- 74,915 (60.8%)
No -- 48,259

Proposition 2: Sewer Bonds ($70 million)
Yes -- 74,852 (62.6%)
No -- 44,596

Proposition 3: Low Income Housing ($3 million)
Yes -- 69,089 (57.9%)
No -- 50,057

Proposition 4: Fire Protection ($6.2 million)
Yes -- 82,867 (69.8%)
No -- 35,758

Proposition 5: Maintenance Shops ($3 million)
Yes -- 66,061 (57.6%)
No -- 48,555

"Forward Thrust at a Glance," The Seattle Times, February 11, 1968; Bill Sieverling, "The Anatomy of Thrust Vote," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 15, 1968, p. 1; Bill Sieverling, "Stadium Wins, Transit Loses," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 14, 1968; Mike Conant, "Mayor Sees Tragic Loss in Rapid Transit Defeat," Ibid., February 15, 1968; "The Triumph of Forward Thrust," Ibid., February 15, 1968.
Note: This essay was revised and expanded on October 20, 2002, and the figure that voters approved by 60 percent was corrected on May 11, 2007.

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Related Topics: Government & Politics | Infrastructure | Sports | Roads & Rails |

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This essay made possible by:
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Seattle Aquarium Society (SEAS)

Jim and Mary Lou Ellis, 1970s
Courtesy Jim Ellis

J.D. (Dorm) Braman (1901-1980), ca. 1962
Courtesy Seattle Municipal Archives

Kingdome construction, 1975
Courtesy King County

Seattle Aquarium dome construction, ca. 1977
Photo by Frank Shaw

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