Tacoma City Council Meeting - March 25, 2014



Resolution No. 38865 A resolution setting Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at approximately 5:30 p.m., as the date for a public hearing by the City Council on the proposed declaration of surplus and sale of a .45-acre parcel of Tacoma Water property near the intersection of State Highway 165 and Ryan Road in Buckley, Washington, to the City of Buckley. [Gloria Fletcher, Senior Real Estate Officer; Linda McCrea, Superintendent, Tacoma Water]

The Consent Agenda was adopted without comment.



Mayor Strickland proclaimed March 27, 2014 as Tacoma Historical Society Day. In 1989 a group of local historians and history buffs met to discuss and plan a repository of Tacoma-centric artifacts that would help tell story of our city. One year later they officially formed Tacoma Historical Society, dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and presentation of the history of Tacoma. 24 yrs later the organization sponsors walking tours, memorials, exhibits, restoration projects (including the Murray Morgan Bridge), and more. They will once again be hosting their Grand Historic Homes of Tacoma Tour this year, with the theme of North Tacoma Highlights, on Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4. The Tacoma Historical Society has also found a new home at 919 Pacific Avenue, and they invite everyone to come help them celebrate at their grand opening this Thursday.

The Mayor also recognized Don Curtis as the First Quarter 2014 Human Rights Champion Award recipient. The award recognizes the devotion of the recipient to advancing the human rights of all people. Mr. Curtis has worked with the African American Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Association to ensure that all veterans receive the benefits they are due.



A half dozen commenters all spoke in favor of the "Tacoma's Auto Row" resolution, mostly car dealers and other business owners from the area. We heard support for the move, and a desire to attract renewed business to the strip, which was once Tacoma's major north-south thoroughfare, before I-5 was built. Several speakers referenced the loss of traffic (and business) that came with the construction of the interstate, and their hopes for the potential of posting signage directing drivers in their direction. 




Resolution No. 38866 A resolution awarding a contract to Rodarte Construction, Inc., on its bid of $1,304,944.40, including sales tax, plus a 20 percent contingency, for a cumulative total of $1,565,933.28, budgeted from the Surface Water Fund, for the A Street Storm Sewer Replacement and Retrofit Project located in the vicinity of A Street from South 10th to South 12th Streets - Specification No. ES13-0187F. [Geoffrey M. Smyth, P.E., Division Manager; Michael P. Slevin III, P.E., Director, Environmental Services]

The resolution was adopted without comment.



Resolution No. 38867 A resolution designating South Tacoma Way, between South 37th and South 80th Streets, as a commercial district to be known as “Tacoma’s Auto Row”, allowing the auto dealers the ability to submit applications to the Washington State Department of Transportation for display of directional signage on Interstate 5. [Shari Hart, Program Development Specialist; Ricardo Noguera, Director, Community and Economic Development]

Despite what we heard about the loss of traffic and business to I-5, the auto dealers along South Tacoma Way still generate significant tax revenue and jobs for Tacoma. By posting signage along I-5, the dealers and the City hope to attract more business not only to the car dealerships, but to other businesses along the strip. We heard from both the businesses and the Council about plans to clean up and reinvigorate South Tacoma Way to make it attractive for potential customers. Councilmember Boe recused himself from commenting or voting on the resolution to avoid the potential for conflict of interest.



Government Performance and Finance Committee – Councilmember Lonergan shared recent work of the committee.

  • Heard and forwarded recommendations to changes to Title 6 of the TMC to clean up tax and licensing language.
  • Forwarded a recommendation to approve renewal of the title 5 telecom franchise agreement.
  • Heard a presentation from TPU water regarding water wholesale rates and ways to be competitive throughout the region.
  • Heard a presentation about efforts to optimize SAP software.
  • Conducted 2014 work planning.

At its next meeting, the committee will hear updates on Tacoma 24/7 and budget book performance measures.

Councilmember Boe shared a couple of upcoming events as liason to the Tacoma Arts Commission.

Boe also shared his now weekly reminder of how to opt out of the TNT's non-subscriber advertising circulars: customerservice@thenewstribune.com or 800-289-8711.

Deputy Mayor Woodards reminded us that the last of the Women’s history month films at UWT will be showing this Friday at 6 p.m. in the Carwein Auditorium on the UW Tacoma campus. Girls Rising is the film this week. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for light refreshments. The film starts at 6, followed by hosted conversation. The event is free and open to the public.

Councilmember Campbell shared information on the City's Pedestrian Crossings Improvement Project, and chances for the public to "Talk the Walk" by showing up at one of the scheduled public meetings. The City will spend $2.5 million on prioritization, design, and implementation of pedestrian crossings - $300,000 per Council District, plus another $1 million for downtown improvements. Several "Talk the Walk" public meetings are on the calendar, including one for District 4 (Eastside) at Blix Elementary School this Wednesday, March 26. A second set of meetings is planned for June to present the feedback and a list of priortized project locations.

Campbell also reminded us that the Grand Opening of the Swan Creek Mountain Bike Trails is scheduled for this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They've got fun activities including test rides on new Trek bicycles, giveaways, and a poker run planned for the day. Swan Creek Park is located along Portland Avenue between 38th to 56th. You can access the park at 56th (closest to the trails) and 44th.

Councilmember Mello reminded us that the next Charter Review Committee public meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 9. Citizens are invited to come and join in the conversation about the governance of Tacoma.

Mello also presented a ceremonial crowbar to Mayor Strickland in honor of the depaving project at Division and Sprague. The project is the first in Washington from the Oregon-based organization. More than 200 volunteers came out to replace pavement with rain gardens, which now collect and filter stormwater runoff that would have previously ended up as runoff. The crowbar reads  “from parking lots to paradise – free your soil.” 

Mayor Strickland thanked the volunteers and partner agencies that worked on the depaving project. The Mayor reiterated Mello's invitation to all citizens to participate in the Charter Review process, which closely examines the Charter, which she called "Tacoma's constitution."

Councilmember Walker was absent from this week's meeting.


For more on the items on this week's agenda, see our City Business Preview for the week.

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