State Senate Unanimously Approves Bill Making State Nickname Official


The state Senate on Monday approved Senate Bill 5595, officially making “The Evergreen State” Washington’s nickname. The nickname had already been the state’s unofficial nickname for about 100 years.

“We caught this nickname problem in the nick of time,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview. “Imagine what might have happened if anyone realized we hadn’t made it official and snuck a bill through the Legislature. We might be The Slush and Drizzle State today. If this bill passes, we won’t have to worry about that anymore.”

SB 5595 was approved by a vote of 49-0 and now moves to the state House for approval.

The nickname’s earliest usage dates to 1890 when it was included in a promotional booklet by a Seattle real estate broker titled “Washington the Evergreen State and Seattle it’s Metropolis.” Gov. John McGraw used the name in his 1893 inaugural address and newspapers reported passage of a resolution in the state Senate declaring The Evergreen State Washington’s official nickname.

The nickname is commonly used today, appearing on license plates and the state quarter.

Speaking on the Senate floor, state Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, speculated the newspapers were likely correct when they reported the passage of a resolution in 1893 declaring The Evergreen State Washington’s official nickname. Rolfes believes the resolution may have been misfiled, as no one in the state Senate or the State Archives can find a record of it.

According to Wilson, state Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, attempted to correct the error in 2009, but the bill failed to reach the Senate floor.

“By declaring Washington to be The Evergreen State, we tell the world that our state remains green all year long,” Wilson said. “How do you do that? You add water and love.”