A message from Rob Gannon, General Manager of King County Metro
I want to take a moment to reflect on the remarkable contributions that James Reed “Jim” Ellis made to King County. It’s not an exaggeration to say that all you have to do is look around our beautiful region – or ride a King County Metro bus – to enjoy the benefits of Jim’s decades of selfless work and service.
Jim famously spearheaded the cleanup of Lake Washington in the 1950s, when millions of gallons of sewage contaminated the lake, then went on to create what would eventually become King County Metro, which started as an agency to manage wastewater and water quality before moving into public transit.
His long list of accomplishments include the preservation of farmlands and millions of acres of land along the I-90 corridor, the development of the Washington State Convention Center, and the financing of public pools, fire departments, parks, including Freeway, Discovery, Gas Works and Marymoor, and mass transit. As King County Executive Dow Constantine tweeted last night, “Our work to build a rail system is the fulfillment of his extraordinary vision.”
Jim created a space for civic discourse and activism on a regional scale that has been unparalleled, and we can draw inspiration from his example. He demonstrated how urban and suburban communities can work together to preserve our environment, combat climate change and build healthy communities.
The legacy he leaves behind is one of profound responsibility and service – to each other, our communities, our land, and future generations to come – that Metro will carry forward.
Learn more about the meaningful contributions that Jim made to King County on HistoryLink.org.