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Decaying Totem at Portland Avenue Community Center Scheduled for Removal

A totem pole located at Portland Avenue Park is scheduled for removal from its current location due to public safety risks on July 22, 2014.

The pole, carved by Lummi tribal member Joseph Washington, was commissioned by a citizens group as part of a Neighborhood Arts grant in the 1970s. The group requested the opportunity to display the piece at Portland Avenue Park following its completion.

Contact was initiated with group members in 2012 to advise that the pole was showing severe signs of decay and would need to be removed if it continued to deteriorate. At that time an artist with the Lummi tribe expressed interest in acquiring the pole with intentions of seeking funding to restore it. His vision was to locate the pole inside one of the tribe’s education facilities following restoration in order to help preserve it.

The pole has continued to deteriorate and Eastside neighbors recently contacted Metro Parks Tacoma requesting its removal after a large piece fell off, citing concerns for the safety of children playing in the park.

Metro Parks Tacoma is continuing to communicate and coordinate the transfer of the totem pole to the Lummi Business Council and is working with Tacoma Public Utilities to move the totem to a temporary off-site storage location pending final transfer or declination by the Lummi Tribe.

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Contact:

Vito Iacobazzi, parks trades manager, 253-305-1027vitoi@tacomaparks.com
Roxanne Miles, community outreach manager, 253-305-1068,roxannem@tacomaparks.com


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