The prime movers of the effort to keep the Seahawks in Seattle were not politicians, but fans
| Members of the group “Save our Seahawks” join the members of the County Council
after the Council recognized the 20th Anniversary of the organization’s
effort to keep the NFL in Seattle
It started with an announcement of a team for sale, grew into a community-wide collaborative effort that involved all levels of government, community organizations and fans, and reached its peak with a statewide vote—and ended with a Super Bowl Parade down 4th Avenue.
Today the Metropolitan King County Council celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the effort that became known as “Save Our Seahawks,” the successful campaign to keep the team in the region after it was put up for sale.
“The Seahawks are a remarkable part of our region’s history and culture and it’s a great pleasure as well as a relief that we still are able to enjoy our Seahawks today,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles who was a member of the 1996 Kingdome Task Force, appointed by King County Executive Gary Locke, and in the State Senate in 1997 working out the legislation that placed a referendum on the statewide ballot for voter approval of building the stadium that is now called CenturyLink Field. “Besides rallying fans across all walks of life, the Seahawks are also a major economic contributor regionally, bringing in a substantial amount of revenue.”
“In 2017, it’s hard to imagine the Pacific Northwest without the Seahawks to root for,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, who convinced Microsoft co-Founder Paul Allen to purchase the team in 1997. “The Seahawks are here today not only because Paul Allen stepped up to purchase the team, but because volunteers and voters came together to support funding for a new stadium.”
The prime movers of the effort to keep the Seahawks in Seattle were not politicians, but fans—fans like Mark Collins, who founded Save Our Seahawks in 1996 shortly after Ken Behring attempted to move the Hawks to Southern California. It grew into a civic-wide effort when Behring announced that he was putting the team up for sale.
Paul Allen did agree to purchase the team, but on the condition there would be a facility to replace the Kingdome. Fans from throughout the Pacific Northwest rallied behind the effort to place Referendum 48, the legislation that would help finance the construction of a new stadium, onto the ballot. In June 1997, state voters approved R-48 with a 56 percent yes vote—and the rest would be history.
WHEREAS, King County’s greatness lies not in our buildings, businesses and institutions, but rather in the spirit, character and unity of our people; and
WHEREAS, the Seattle Seahawks and Seahawks fans bring together our community beyond just game days, as the organization and many individual players work on and fund important projects and charities throughout the County, as children find important role models for success, and as fans transcend their differences and unite with one very loud purpose; and
WHEREAS, Seahawk fans are the best in all professional sports with a rich history: their deafening roar causes earthquakes, breaks noise records and exerts such demonstrable force on the playing field that they were named the 12th MAN, known also as the 12s; and the Seahawks organization has awarded the fans their own jersey and subsequently retired it, awarded them a game ball for causing so many false starts and missed field goals, and now raise a flag in their honor before each home game; and
WHEREAS, in 1996 our community almost lost this treasured heritage when he-who-shall-not-be-named attempted to move the Seahawks to California, thereby stoking the 12th MAN’s fury and power as Seahawks’ fans united like never before to defeat this enemy; and
WHEREAS, the most dedicated Seahawks fans came together to give voice to the 12th MAN, as Mark Collins founded Save Our Seahawks and did what he promised in his legendary 1995 letter to the former owner, joining with his fellow 12s Jennifer Collins, Patti Hammond, Paula Jellison, Dean Olsby, Cindy Olsby, Rod Long, Bev Hauptli, Juan Cotto, Mick McHugh, Vinnie Richichi, Bruce Strothers, Damon Huard, Mike Huston, and Mike Gastineau, together leading countless other dedicated fans in a grassroots effort that will forever define the spirit of the 12s; and
WHEREAS, with the help of dedicated and capable staff like Mike Flood and Bert Kolde, Paul Allen stepped into the breach to take the reins of ownership, making a huge commitment and contribution to our County; and
WHEREAS, Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer played a major role in convincing Paul Allen to purchase the team and brokered essential agreements, and Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles in her role then as State Senator and who became known as Senator Jock, helped get the Legislature to approve the legislation placing Referendum 48 on the ballot, with then-Governor Gary Locke signing the measure; and
WHEREAS, Washington voters passed Ref. 48 on June 17, 1997, to save the Seahawks by authorizing the stadium that stands today;
NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize the
|20th Anniversary of Saving Our Seahawks
and extend our gratitude to everyone who helped keep the team in Seattle, furthering a tradition of excellence and community spirit, and uniting the people of King County long into the future.
DATED this thirtieth day of October, 2017.