Tacoma City Business Preview - Week of October 1, 2013

Eastside Community Center

The City of Tacoma, in partnership with Metro Parks, the Tacoma Housing Authority and the Tacoma School District, is in the process of conducting a feasibility study for a new Eastside community center, inspired at least in part by community organizing following the 2011 shooting death of Eastside teen Billy Ray Shirley.

On Wednesday, October 2nd, two community meetings related to the feasibility of building a new state-of-the-art community center on the eastside of Tacoma will be held. 

  • The Program Partners Forum - hosted by the City, Tacoma Housing Authority, Tacoma Public Schools, and Metro Parks - The community is invited to this forum to share their comments on what types of services are needed in the eastside.
  • Public Open House for public input - hosted by Metro Parks & the Eastside Neighborhood Advisory Council - Attendees at this event will form small focus groups to brainstorm ideas for programming, site location, and what they believe a community center should look like. It will be the first of two opportunities for community members to share their ideas.

Destination Point Defiance

"Destination Point Defiance" is a long-term initiative of Metro Parks to develop a omprehensive plan for Point Defiance Park, with a vision that focuses on improving access, enhancing activities and stewarding resources. At a joint study session on Tuesday Metro Parks staff will update Tacoma City Council and Metro Parks Board of Commissioners on the planning initiative.

Destination Point Defiance planning began in 2005 Some recent changes in the park show some of the direction these plans are taking, including the initial opening of the "missing link" of walking and bike paths between Ruston Way and the park, and the news that the Point Defiance Go Karts will likely not have their lease renewed. If you're interested in the big picture vision for Point Defiance, you can learn more at metroparkstacoma.org/destinationpointdefiance, and if you want to share your two cents with Metro Parks, take the online survey, or show up at the next 3rd Thursday Destination Point Defiance community dialogue. 


North Downtown Subarea Plan & EIS

Tuesday's regular study session agenda includes the presentation of a report on the progress of the plan that will govern development in Tacoma's north downtown sub-area. Key issues to be addressed include on- and off-street parking in the Stadium District, the management of the Stadium Way hillside, and the integration of the future LINK extension into the existing urban fabric. When completed, the North Downtown plan, along with the MLK and South Downtown plans, will complete the sub-area planning work for Tacoma's Downtown Regional Growth Center.


Proposition 1

A resolution on this week's City Council meeting agenda would express Council support for the passage of City of Tacoma Proposition No. 1.


Public Safety & Morals

In order to be consistent with a state-level change this summer in the way vehicle prowling is treated as a crime, the City needs to make adjustments to its own code.

The state-level change makes the third or subsequent conviction of vehicle prowling in the second degree a class C felony. An ordinance scheduled for a first reading this week would amend Title 8 of the Tacoma Municipal Code, "Public Safety and Morals," by repealing the existing section dealing with vehicle prowling (as adopted in 1976), and adding a new chapter, "Vehicle Prowling in the Second Degree," consistent with the new update to state law.


Transportation Master Plan

The Transportation Element of Tacoma's Comprehensive Plan is in need of major refinements to provide more detailed guidance about future mass transit and roadway improvements and connections, and more information about how each component will work together to provide a cohesive, efficient, and effective multimodal transportation system that meets the needs and goals of the community.

To complete this work, the City will hire a consultant to work with City staff and the recently formed Transportation Commission. A purchase resolution on this week's agenda would award the contract for consultant services for the preparation of the City’s Transportation Master Plan to Seattle-based Fehr & Peers, in the amount of $500,000, budgeted from the General Fund.

The work of updating the transportation plan will include a survey of existing conditions, transit scenario and corridor analysis. The plan will include a roadway update identifying future connections and potential improvements to the network of roads, add a Transit component to the plan, and include and updated list of priorities for future improvements in the Port area.

The process will involve significant public and stakeholder input. A draft of the Transportation Master Plan is forecast for completion by late fall 2014, to be finalized and adopted as part of the 2015 Comprehensive Plan.


South 56th Improvements

The Puget Sound Regional Council recently awarded University Place $778,500 in funding for the design phase of improvements to the South 56th Street arterial corridor from I-5 to Cirque Drive in advance of the US Open. As the corridor runs through both Tacoma and UP, the funding and work will be split between the two cities, with UP responsible for design work associated with Cirque, and Tacoma responsible for design on 56th. Funding will be split 50/50, which gives Tacoma $389,500 in grant funding, with a required $60,750 local match, which is budgeted and available from gas tax revenues. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize an interlocal agreement with the City of University Place, for the design of the South 56th Street and Cirque Drive corridor improvements.


Recreational Marijuana

In the wake of the passage of I-502, while the rules and regulations associated with legalized marijuana are still being hashed out at the various levels of government, Tacoma, like so many other municipalities, is trying to figure out how it will deal with pot-related issues. Land use issues will need to be addressed when the City begins reviewing applications forwarded by the Liquor Control Board, including the definition of marijuana-related uses,designation of zoning districts where such uses would be allowed or prohibited, and the application of sensitive use buffering.

While more permanent solutions to these issues are being deliberated, the City is proposing interim regulations to provide effective policy and regulatory guidance for the review of marijuana applications, which are expected to come forward beginning in November. The proposed interim regulations would adopt marijuana-specific uses (production, processing, and retail); provide zoning and development standards for each; and add "urban horticulture" as a new use category.

A resolution on this week's consent agenda would set Tuesday, October 22 as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on these proposed interim land use regulations. If all goes ahead according to the proposed timeline, the Council could adopt the interim regulations by November 5, roughly two weeks before the WSLCB is expected to begin accepting applications for marijuana-related licenses. We've seen quite a few marijuana-related items - some passed, some postponed - and it seems like a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kind of game. We'll see how many steps we get this time.


I-5 Widening

As a part of its project to widen the I-5 bridge at the I-5/I-705/SR-7 interchange in Tacoma to four lanes plus one HOV lane in both directions, WSDOT needs property rights to 2,115 square feet of property within Tacoma Rail Mountain Division railroad right-of-way. WSDOT has requested to purchase the property, which is held in fee simple by TRMW, whereas most other TRMW right-of-way located within the area is held by easement rights. City staff has recommended the sale of the fee simple title for the property to WSDOT, while retaining necessary easement rights. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would set Tuesday, October 15 as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed sale of the TMRW property to WSDOT to accommodate the Interstate 5, M Street to Portland Avenue, HOV Project.


Other Items

In 2010 the City Council authorized an Interlocal Agreement with Pierce Transit for the Transit Signal Priority project, which provided for equipment, installation, and annual maintenance of 86 signalized intersections in the downtown area to reduce transit delays. The initial installation work is complete, but during construction, additional services were requested by Pierce Transit of City crews. The added work adds just short of $50,000 to the $200,000 project. A resolution on this week's consent agenda would authorize an amendment to the ILA, to increase the project total by that amount. Pierce Transit will provide the additional revenue to cover the expenditures following the mutual approval of the Amendment.

We will also hear the final reading of the substitute ordinance, as introduced at last week's Council meeting, amending the TMC, as it relates to the Compensation Plan, to implement rates of pay and compensation, and changes in classification to reflect the organizational structure, for employees represented by the Professional and Technical Employees Union, Local 17, which consists of approximately 258.9 budgeted, full time positions; and the Teamsters Local Union No. 117, PAF Unit, which consists of approximately 14 budgeted, full-time positions.

The Mayor will read recognitions of three Disability Advocate of the Year Award recipients; a recognition of Tucci and Sons Inc. for their efforts on the Pacific Avenue Streetscape Project to ensure access for individuals with disabilities; and a recognition of Thomas McCarthy as the Third Quarter Human Rights Champion Award recipient.

A resolution to reappoint Lillian Hunter to the Tacoma Public Library Board of Trustees for a five-year term beginning October 5, 2013 through October 5, 2018 will also be considered this week.


Once again this week a public hearing is scheduled for the appeal of the finding of the Hearing Examiner regarding the request to reclassify approximately 1.78 acres of a larger property located at 4601 South Orchard Street from a “R-2” Single-Family Dwelling District to a “M-1” Light Industrial District, as rescheduled from the September 24 meeting, as originally rescheduled from the August 20, 2013 Council meeting.


The next City of Tacoma Prop 1 info session is coming up Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Tacoma Main Library.

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LOL “Hashed out”...I see what you did there. ;)

September 30, 2013 at 2:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred Davie

A teenager who was violating Tacoma’s curfew law was tragically shot and killed and…  now the taxpayers of Tacoma are on the hook for a new state of the art community center? How about the community “organizers” build the center? If there really is great support for this idea (that hasn’t been determined) then donations should be sufficient.

Better to allow common sense and budget priorities to drive spending decisions at city hall, the parks department, and the school board and not emotion.  A community center wouldn’t have prevented Shirley’s killing. In honor of Shirley’s killing we should have a series of seminars about parenting techniques.

September 30, 2013 at 3:13 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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East side resident

The Boys and Girls Club was moved to South Tacoma, libraries were closed, 3 schools on the East side were closed, fire services were reduced, banks were closed and grocery stores were moved.  The need is because all residents of the city deserve the same access to services. Just because you got yours doesn’t mean the services are there for all.

A feasibility study does what?  OH yea it examines the feasibility of locations, type of facility and the amount of support for it.  Then the fund raising would begin.  Hopefully everyone can count on you for a private donation.

Please come the public meeting Wednesday and share your thoughts and comments.
I promise the people of East Tacoma will be more tolerant and willing to listen to your lack of understanding than you will ever be of their needs.

September 30, 2013 at 5:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred davie

Fund raising wasn’t mentioned in the story, you just made that up.

The city of Tacoma isn’t responsible for providing you east siders with banks and grocery stores. The marketplace determines what services and businesses locate there. Pretty sure you have banks and grocery stores. Ever heard of Safeway, key bank, Fred Meyer?

Secondly, I find it odd that you speak for all the people in east Tacoma. How were you chosen to represent everyone’s views?

Thirdly, what “services” does east Tacoma “need” that would be provided by a taxpayer funded “state of the art” community center?” Are these really needs…or merely wants?

Finally,  on the topic of tolerance, why is it that you demand that other people tolerate your POV but you are unwilling to accept other people’s? Maybe the low income people on the east side would be better served by a low tax policy that allowed them to keep some of their money to spend as they choose.

September 30, 2013 at 8:37 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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A child’s death is not a decent time to blindly criticize the parents. If you had read any of the articles written on the family or if you know the Family or their friends - than you would know better. All information shows that he was a good young-man who wanted to have a community-center in his neighborhood. This was the wish of him and many other community-members before his death. It was something they were already working-on. It is not a response to his death.
It may or may not be true that a community-center would have prevented his death - but it is true that community-centers in neighborhoods lower crime-rates. When programs are cut, crime rises. I feel the Eastside would benefit from equitable services that are comparable to other parts of the city, as opposed to just a talking-point about lowering taxes.

October 1, 2013 at 3:08 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

“Community centers in neighborhoods lower crime rates.” Rize


” This was the wish of him and many other community-members ” Rize

That doesn’t mean a majority of people on the east side want a community center. Apparently the money for the center is coming from the school district, the city of Tacoma, and Metro parks. So that money is going to have to be taken from EXISTING PROGRAMS. You just said programs should not be cut.  Where is the funding to build and maintain a state of the art (whatever that is) community center? What programs should we cut?

“I feel the Eastside would benefit from equitable services” Rize

Who says they don’t have equitable services? How much does that neighborhood contribute to the city tax base compared to other neighborhoods?

Pretty sure I’m not the only person who would like lower taxes. Poor people like to pay lower taxes TOO. That gives all of us more spending power.

October 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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It has a ring of opportunism on the part of those who were looking for leverage to get the City to build them a new community center. I may be too cynical, but I have my doubts that this kid’s dreams revolved around a new community center.

October 1, 2013 at 6:48 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Have ya been following the story? The previous articles elaborated about how the young-man desired to open a community-center in his neighborhood…

October 2, 2013 at 9:37 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

I’ve been following the story.

His mom CLAIMED he said that. Is she credible? Is she a good parent?  Even if he did say that ...so what? My teenager wants the city to build an amusement park at point defiance. Does that mean the city has an obligation to build her an amusement park?

As a taxpayer, I’m getting tired of every additional appeal for city funding at a time when we can’t maintain our city’s EXISTING infrastructure.

Have ya been following the stories regarding our city budget problems RIZE?

October 2, 2013 at 10:21 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Yes I have been following the story and what there is evidence of is that people who have an interest in a community center SAY that this is what he desired. Perhaps this is true, but I f I were a betting man… my money would be on this being opportunistic move on the part of those who have an interest in a new community center.

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

Rahm Emanuel


October 2, 2013 at 11:01 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Way to demonize his mother & people in the community who want a safe-place for kids to go. It’s obvious ya have some serious trust issues w/ the folks in this community. It is a nasty jump to claim these folks are some sort of poverty-pimps trying to capitalize off the death of a child so they can get their evil wishes of a community youth-center built. Ya are coming across as mad-xenophobic…

October 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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I will admit that experience has inculcated in me a distrust of “community organizers.” 

You are asking people who have nothing to go on but your word to take a leap of faith.  I am pointing out that I have not seen any convincing evidence that this kid’s hopes and dreams are not necessarily what others’s ascribe to him. Being that he is not here to say one way or the other, I don’t know if claims made on his behalf are genuine or whether people are using his memory as leverage to get what they want. 

I did not opine on the value of a community center, in a vacuum I think community centers are great. Whether or not they are the highest and best use of available revenues is something that cannot be debated in a vacuum. In that vain, I prefer to base my judgments on factual information and am very suspect when someone tries to use emotion to control that debate.

October 2, 2013 at 3:14 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Yeah, she was a good-parent. The proof is in the outpouring of love that the family’s community is showing them. Everyone that is close to that family said he was an upstanding young-man & since his mother raised him than she did a good-job.
The city has no obligation to build the center. It’s just something that is a good-idea so they’re exploring it.
I bet yo daughter is stupid enough to want an amusement-park at Pt. Defiance. Ya should work w/ all yo private-enterprise no tax people & see if ya can pull that off.
I’d rather honestly have pot-holes & a community-center than no pot-holes & no community-center…

October 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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“I’d rather honestly have pot-holes & a community-center than no pot-holes & no community-center…”

I would prefer to have both, but given the totally irresponsible and reckless programming of future revenues and profligate budgeting and spending practices of the past three decades Tacoma has forfeit the luxury of having any discretionary incoming revenues for the foreseeable future. The potholes that jar your suspension and are tripping hazards are only a symptom of failing pavement infrastructure. Unfortunately you fail to recognize that failing pavement is just like a leaky roof and left unattended to both will result in CATASTROPHIC FAILURE of the entire structure that lies beneath it.

Today a concrete mixer or garbage truck will drive down one of our City streets that has failed and no longer is able to carry the load of much more than a passenger car. That trip will result in utilities that are buried in our streets being crushed and/or broken. How do I know that? Because City employees have told me that a day does not go by in which these incidents are happening.

You might also “rather honestly have” a new big screen color TV, than a new roof, but if your roof is failing you had better use common sense and fix tat roof first or your new television will be getting rained on.

October 2, 2013 at 3:28 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Here’s just 1 of thousands of articles that show crime rises when programs for youth are cut,

Most of the money the group is receiving for the youth-center was awarded to them from a grant. If you read the earlier articles concerning this issue it is there in black & white.

Most people would say the Eastside doesn’t have equitable services. I’m not sure how ya have missed that.

Yeah, maybe if taxes were lowered than Eastside residents could open a youth-center w/ millions of their own $‘s. GTFOH!

October 2, 2013 at 9:36 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

“most people would say” RIZE

No they wouldn’t. That’s just your opinion.

Most of the money the group is receiving for the youth-center was awarded to them from a grant” RIZE

Really? citation please.

“Here’s just 1 of thousands of articles that show crime rises when programs for youth are cut, ” RIZE

Who is cutting a program for youth?

October 2, 2013 at 10:14 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Fred, ya wrong. Go to the Eastside & ask people if they want a community-center. Let me know how many “yes” & “no” ya get. Ya will feel stupid.
All ya have to do is read the TNT articles ‘bout this young-man. They clearly state the group was just awarded a grant to help them get the community-center process started.
If ya don’t like that last article I posted, just read another 1. There are thousands on-line & they all show that funding neighborhood-programs for youth lower crime-rates. Do ya really need my help in doing this research? I can easily post another article if ya would like…

October 2, 2013 at 12:34 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Studies of this ilk are notoriously poorly supported. They are commonly commissioned by groups that have an agenda and the research, if you can call it that, is designed to support a fore ordained conclusion.

October 2, 2013 at 11:04 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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That was just 1 article of thousands that cite proof that neighborhood-programs for youth lead to lower crime-rates. Just choose 1 ya trust if ya don’t like the 1 I posted. They all support my argument…

October 2, 2013 at 12:36 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Any Grandmother will tell you, “Idle hands are the Devil’s tools.”  Ever heard that?  Community Centers occupy time for these kids.  No study needed.

If “equitable services” for the east side residents equates to money, than they probably have their share right now in entitlements.

October 2, 2013 at 11:49 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

“Any Grandmother will tell you, “Idle hands are the Devil’s tools.”  Ever heard that?  Community Centers occupy time for these kids.” jesse

Billy Shirley was shot at 5:30 in the morning. Are you saying that he could have been at a community center at that time?  Do community centers stay open all night? Does the hip hop community like to spend time at community centers?, Is it the taxpayers job to make sure there are no idle hands among Tacoma’s youth? If parents would exercise some responsibility for their own kids we wouldn’t have any reason to fund a community center.  No study needed.

October 2, 2013 at 12:33 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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He may not have been at a community-center at 5:30am, but perhaps his entire neighborhood would be experiencing lower crime-rates if this center was available. All ships rise w/ the tide.

October 2, 2013 at 12:39 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

I personally feel that crime rates would drop if people took more personal responsibility. Far too many people becoming 100% dependent on the government to fulfill their every need. 

When I was growing up in the 1950s we didn’t have any community centers and we also didn’t have hardly any youth crime. I would suggest that youth crime is a reaction to the liberals destruction of the market for entry level workers. In an open economic system, these youths would be busy earning some money for themselves instead of out on the streets beating people up and stealing hubcaps. The community centers are basically just a way to waste time, sort of a virtual prison.

October 2, 2013 at 1:06 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Ya are comparing how ya grew-up in the 50’s to how the youth on the Eastside are growing-up now - That should show how disconnected ya are.
I’m not an expert, but I do know that it was corporate-leaders who shipped manufacturing-jobs overseas. Mostly the CEO’s who make those decisions are Republicans. Ya cannot place the loss of manufacturing-jobs on “the liberals destruction of the market for entry level workers.”

October 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Billy Shirley was shot at 5:30 in the morning. Are you saying that he could have been at a low paying starter job at that time?  Is it the low end minimum wage slum lords job to make sure there are no idle hands among Tacoma’s youth?

October 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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fred davie

He COULD have been at a job instead of farting around town in violation of Tacoma’s curfew law. He would be alive today.

I see no reason to disparage people who work minimum wage jobs. Some people including most teenagers have minimal skill sets and zero experience.  I worked for a $1 an hour when I was Billy’s age. I turned out OK and never felt any shame in my humble job.

October 2, 2013 at 5:21 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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When you were growing up in the 50’s lynch mobs were committing murders without prosecution across the South.  The presence of all those entry level manufacturing jobs had a little something to do with the fact that Europe was a bombed out shell and women were only allowed to work in a few narrow fields.

The 50’s were a great decade for injustice and cold war paranoia.  Interesting comparison.

Well…people have come around to building fallout shelters again and injustice is rising, but I-phones won’t be built in America until robotic workers reach a price point where the “God-like” class of industrialists don’t ever have to hire another human being.

October 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Published Author RR AndersonRegistered

We need robocop

October 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Now there’s going to be a transportation master plan, perhaps a lighting master plan is in order.  As if the (about) thirty different types of lighting types in downtown are not inconsistent and bad enough, now they’ve decided to start painting them different colors.  What message does this send to outsiders?  How about possible new businesses or transplants?

October 2, 2013 at 11:34 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Oh ya, I vote for the cool gothic light fixtures, like the ones on Pacific Avenue, painted in black, for the entire downtown grid.

October 2, 2013 at 11:37 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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