Bulletin Board: New from Tacoma and Beyond

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Police shoot suspect at traffic shop

On July 21 at approximately 10:45 a.m., a Tacoma police officer made a traffic stop in the 500 block of South 40th St. The male driver and sole occupant of vehicle stopped and exited the vehicle with a rifle, pointing it at the officer. The officer ordered the subject to drop the weapon, but he refused to do so. The officer, fearing for his safety and the safety of others, shot the subject.

Medical aid responded and the subject was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital for treatment of his life threatening injury. The subject is described as a black male in his mid-twenties.

The department’s Investigations Bureau, to include detectives and forensic personnel, responded to the scene for processing and to interview potential witnesses.

The officer, who was not injured in the incident, is a white male, 39 years old, who has been a Tacoma officer for 10 years and nine months. He has been placed on paid administrative leave, per department policy.

This investigation is ongoing and further information will be provided when appropriate.

 

Teen male shot, injuries life-threatening

On July 30 at approximately 12:40 p.m., officers responded to the 4600 block of South J Street for a “shots fired” call. Officers located a 16-year-old male who was the victim of a gunshot wound. Medical aid was administered until Tacoma Fire arrived to transport the victim to Tacoma General Hospital for treatment of the life threatening injury.

Several witnesses were present and will be interviewed.

Detectives were called to the scene for the investigation and forensics responded to process the scene. The investigation is active and ongoing.

 

Harmon Brewing closes Stadium District location

Tacoma Harmon Brewing Company discontinued brewing operations and close one pub and restaurant location, The Hub and Tap Room, on July 27. Both are located in Tacoma’s Stadium District at 203 Tacoma Ave. and 204 St. Helens Ave. The closures will allow for further reinvestment in the company’s other operations, including the original location downtown on Pacific Avenue as well as Hub locations in Gig Harbor and Puyallup’s South Hill.

Harmon Brewing cited declining revenues and high labor costs in recent years at the Stadium District location as the primary factor for the closure. The company is seeking a contract brewing partner to continue production of its craft beers while searching for an opportunity to re-establish the brewery.

Harmon Brewing was purchased from the original owners, Pat Nagle and Carole Ford, by a private equity group in June 2018. At that time the company faced significant and mounting debt and unprofitable business operations at each of its locations. New management has stabilized the company’s finances and several of the pubs are now on a path to profitability.

The Stadium District taproom and brewing operations employ 35 staff and management personnel, and they will be offered available positions at Harmon’s other locations.

Harmon Brewing opened its doors in 1997 in the historic Harmon Manufacturing Company Building at 1938 Pacific Avenue. It was at the forefront of brewpub phenomenon in the Northwest and has since evolved with a variety of beverage offerings, menu innovations and family-friendly environments.

 

New revenue for affordable housing

The City Council has adopted Resolution 40388 relating to local retail sales and use tax, stating the City of Tacoma’s intent to authorize the maximum capacity available under the provisions of Substitute House Bill 1406 for affordable and supportive housing. The local retail sales and use tax provide a 0.0146 percent credit against Washington State’s sales tax. There is no increase in sales tax for the consumer.

Concurrent with this resolution, the City Council has also adopted Ordinance 28599 to authorize the local retail sales and use tax and revenue sharing program on an emergency basis, which enables the City to authorize this tax effective Sept. 1.

“I am so proud to be among the first in Washington State to take action on this,” said Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards. “This decisive move by the City Council sends a strong signal that we have and will continue to prioritize affordable housing and ensure that all Tacoma residents have access to resources to meet their needs.”

The tax can be in place for a maximum of 20 years, and can be used for acquiring, rehabilitating or constructing affordable housing; operations and maintenance of new affordable or supportive housing facilities. Funding must be spent on projects that serve individuals whose incomes are at or below 60 percent of area median income.

The City’s estimated annual revenue is between $800,000 – $900,000, and this action also authorizes the City to issue general obligation or revenue bonds with this funding.

“Addressing the housing affordability crisis requires ongoing collaboration with our community partners,” added Woodards. “I am excited that the City of Tacoma will be able to bring these additional resources to bear on this important issue without any changes in the taxes paid by consumers, while continuing in our work to take a regional and collaborative approach to this issue.”

Implementation of the Affordable Housing Action Strategy (AHAS) developed calls for a large investment of public, philanthropic and private resources totaling as much as $70 million over the next 10 years. From now until October, when the City Council receives its next AHAS update, the City has 12 teams in place currently working on key actions that move its AHAS goals forward.

Tacoma lacks affordable, high-quality homes for all of its residents and, today, nearly 33,000 households in Tacoma pay at least 30 percent of their income on housing costs each month, reducing their ability to pay for other necessities. The cost of rental homes has increased by nearly 40 percent and home values nearly doubled since 1990 and, within the last few years, these costs have begun to accelerate.

Details on what the City is currently doing to address the housing affordability crisis are available at cityoftacoma.org/affordablehousingstrategy.

 

Red Leather Theatre Company presents ‘Romeo + Juliet’

Red Leather Theatre Company’s “Romeo + Juliet” will begin Aug. 9 at Stadium High School. The production looks at the Parkland, Fla. school shooting through the lens of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” focusing on love in the face of fear and pain.
“Our America is actually nothing more or less than the hellish byproduct of centuries of failure on the part of adults to nurture a world that is safe for young people,” said Claire F. Martin, director of “Romeo + Juliet.” “When adults are unwilling to empathize with young people, when they perpetuate a culture of violence and xenophobia that leaves no room for young people to be vulnerable or love freely, they condemn young people to death.”
The production is a passion project of Claire F. Martin’s, supported by her dear friends at Red Leather Theatre Company, a company founded by Alana Fineman and Courtney Seyl with the mission of bringing accessible, site-specific work to the community and finding new ways to showcase classic texts. Together, they are working to create a theatre production that sheds light on the many injustices our current system is piling on the young people in our communities. Martin was inspired by the powerful and widespread response to the Parkland shooting: “the floodgates of youthful anger in this country burst open.”
“Romeo + Juliet” is part of Red Leather Theatre Company’s ongoing work to make classic texts accessible to the community from new and unexpected perspectives. Martin highlights the important work of this piece when she says “‘Romeo + Juliet’ is about teenagers who choose to set aside their parents’ worldview and cherish each other, advocating for peace all the way to their graves.”
“Romeo + Juliet” takes the stage at Stadium High School, 2nd Floor Theatre, on Friday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 10, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 17, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets: $7 price of admission; $10 price of admission plus $3 contribution to the March for Our Lives Action Fund; $15 price of admission plus $8 contribution to the March for Our Lives Action Fund. Tickets are available online at https://romeojuliet2019.bpt.me.

 

Month-long inspection of Narrows Bridge cables begins Aug. 4

The iconic 1950 Tacoma Narrows Bridge is getting ready to undergo an inspection of one of its more important and visible features – work that will close the westbound State Route 16 HOV lanes for about a month.

Starting Sunday, Aug. 4, Washington State Department of Transportation bridge crews will set up a work zone to begin inspecting approximately 60 feet of suspension cables located on the westbound SR 16 Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

“On the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, the main cables suspend the bridge deck, which carries most of the bridge’s weight, and all of the vehicles on the bridge,” said Olympic Region Operations Engineer Chris Keegan. “It’s vital to inspect the cables to keep them in a state of good repair and identify any needed preservation work.”

The cables are compacted and encased strands of parallel wires that are carried back and forth across the bridge span. To perform the inspection, crews will set up an elevated containment system around the cables to keep any debris from falling into the water. They will unwrap and open the cable for the inspection, make any needed repairs and then rewrap the cable.

What this means for westbound SR 16 travelers
During the set up and inspection work, travelers can expect:

  • From 2 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, two lanes will be closed starting at Jackson Avenue while crews set up the containment system.
  • One lane will be reopen at 11 a.m., but the westbound HOV lane will remain closed throughout the month-long work.
  • Westbound SR 16 HOV drivers will use one of the three general purpose lanes over the 1950 Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
  • Traffic on the newer 2007 Tacoma Narrows Bridge (eastbound SR 16) will not be affected.
  • A second double lane closure at the end of the work.

This is the second time the 69-year-old Tacoma Narrows Bridge cables have been inspected. The previous inspection took place in 2000. The cables on the south side of the bridge will be inspected this year, with the cables on the north side of the bridge to be inspected in 2020.

The work, which requires dry weather, is expected to be complete at the end of August.

Visit the Tacomatraffic.com web page for updated HOV construction information. Real-time traveler information is available from the WSDOT app (www.wsdot.wa.gov/Inform/mobile.htm) and by following the WSDOT regional Twitter feed at twitter.com/wsdot_tacoma.

 

Planning Commission moves final vote on four community plans

The Pierce County Planning Commission has added four fall study sessions and moved its final vote on the Frederickson, Mid-County, Parkland-Spanaway-Midland and South Hill community plan updates to November.

Community plans provide direction on how growth and development will occur. The plans address topics such as zoning, transportation, the look and feel of the community, and access to services and amenities.

Using community feedback gathered over the last few years, Pierce County and the Land Use Advisory Commissions for the four areas have drafted updates to the plans and development regulations.

An overview of the proposed changes is available in an online open house at www.piercecountywa.gov/cpupdate.

Study session dates
The Planning Commission will hold four study sessions this fall to continue discussions about the community plan updates. The meetings will be held at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S 35th St., Tacoma: 1-3 p.m. Sept. 10; 9:30 a.m. Sept. 24; 1-3 p.m. Oct. 8; 9:30 a.m. Oct. 22.

These study sessions are open to the public, although public testimony will not be accepted. Written comment will be accepted until Oct. 30 at www.piercecountywa.gov/cpupdate. (The Sept. 24 and Oct. 22 dates are regular meetings of the commission. Normal business may be conducted at the start of the meetings before the study session begins.)

Final vote moved
The commission was originally scheduled to make its final recommendation on the proposed changes at a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at the Pierce County Annex. This meeting will now be used to continue discussions about the plans and hear any additional public testimony.

The commission will now make its final recommendation on each plan, associated development regulations, and amendments to the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan at public meetings on Nov. 6 and 7. The meetings will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Pierce County Annex. These meetings are open to the public, although public testimony will not be accepted. Written comment will be accepted until Oct. 30 at www.piercecountywa.gov/cpupdate.

The recommendations will be submitted to the Pierce County Council. The council will then consider the proposed changes for each plan and determine whether to adopt them.

Check the meeting calendar and sign up for meeting updates at www.piercecountywa.gov/cpupdate.

Learn about updates at community events
Pierce County staff will be at Freddie Fest on Aug. 10 and Garfield Street Fair on Aug. 17 to answer questions and provide information about the plans.

To learn more about the proposed updates, community members can call the Community Plans Hotline at (253) 798-2799, email CommunityPlans@piercecountywa.gov, or send a letter to Pierce County Planning and Public Works, Attn: Long Range Planning, 2401 S. 35th St., Suite 2, Tacoma, WA 98409.

 

Tacoma Little Theatre holds audition for ‘Evil Dead: The Musical’

Tacoma Little Theatre is holding auditions for its production of the cult-classic “Evil Dead: The Musical,” based on the classic 80’s film and directed by Niclas Olson with musical direction by Benjamin Bentler and choreography by Ashley Roy.

Auditions will be held Sunday, Aug. 18 and Monday, Aug. 19 at Tacoma Little Theatre. Audition appointments will be set between the times of 6-9 p.m. on Sunday and 7-10 p.m. on Monday in five-minute increments. Callbacks will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

Five college students go to an abandoned cabin in the woods and accidentally unleash an evil force that turns them all into demons. It’s all up to Ash (a housewares employee turned demon-killing hero) and his trusty chainsaw to save the day. Blood flies. Limbs are dismembered. Demons tell bad jokes … and all to music. This show has fun with the horror genre and, in doing so, appeals to a wide audience. It’s the only show with a “splatter zone” – a section of the audience that gets covered in fake blood. And with this combination of blood, jokes, cheesy effects and awesome musical numbers, “Evil Dead: The Musical” is unlike any show you’ve ever seen.

Auditioners are asked to prepare a verse and a chorus (approx. 32 bars) from a contemporary musical theatre song, and a short, 1-2 minute, comedic monologue. Audition material should be a maximum of three minutes combined and highlight your vocal range and versatility as a performer. An accompanist is provided, so please bring sheet music clearly marked and in the correct key.

Actors of all ethnicities and gender identities are encouraged to audition and all roles are available: Ash (male 18-25), Cheryl (female 18-25), Annie/Shelly (female 20-30), Scott (male 18-25), Linda (female 18-25), Ed/Moose (male 20-30), Jake (male 30-40), Fake Shemp (m/f 20-30). All actors will double in other roles including Professor Knowby, the Severed Hand, Linda’s headless body, etc. Ages given are playable ages, actors need not specifically fit the given age to audition.

To reserve an audition time, follow this link (http://castingmanager.com/audition/info/lzpERMZM3V6BePA), or call our Box Office for assistance at (253) 272-2281.

Once cast, “Evil Dead: The Musical” will run from Friday, Oct. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 10.

 

State invests $25 million to remove barriers for migrating fish

Migrating fish soon will have access to more than 82 miles of streams in Washington, thanks to $25 million in grants from the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board.

The board will fund more than 50 projects in 20 counties to remove fish passage barriers that block salmon and steelhead from swimming upstream to their spawning areas. The most common barriers to fish passage are culverts, which are large pipes or other structures that carry streams under roads. Culverts can be too high for fish to reach, too small to handle high water flows, or too steep for fish to navigate.

“These projects build on previous fish passage investments by the Washington State Department of Transportation, forest land owners and local governments,” said Tom Jameson, fish passage manager for the Department of Fish and Wildlife and chair of the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board. “We’re excited that several projects will focus on watersheds that are particularly good habitat for Chinook salmon, which are the main food source for southern resident killer whales (orcas). We appreciate the Legislature’s support so we can continue contributing to salmon and orca recovery.”

Created by the Legislature in 2014, the Brian Abbott Fish Barrier Removal Board coordinates the removal of fish passage barriers that block salmon and steelhead access to prime spawning and rearing habitat on state, local, tribal and private land. Funding comes from the sale of state bonds.

“This board represents an incredible partnership that ultimately helps us open entire watersheds where we can make the biggest impact for fish,” said Kaleen Cottingham, director of the Recreation and Conservation Office, which administers the grants. “A coordinated approach is key to helping fish reach the ocean, return home to spawn and get to healthy habitats to feed, grow and transition from saltwater to freshwater.”

Selected projects went through a technical review committee, which evaluated project proposals based on their coordination with nearby fish passage projects, benefit to salmon and steelhead populations listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, and cost-effectiveness. The committee also evaluated projects based on the severity of the barrier and its location in the watershed, prioritizing downstream barriers first.

The grant program is administered as a partnership between the board, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. The board is named after Brian Abbott, who was a life-long fisherman, avid salmon recovery leader, and spearheaded creation of the board while serving as executive coordinator of the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office.

Other board members include representatives from the Washington Departments of Transportation and Natural Resources, Washington State Association of Counties, Association of Washington Cities, the Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, the Confederated Tribe and Bands of the Yakama Nation, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, and Council of Regions.

Pierce County was awarded $90,000 todesign a correction to a partial fish passage barrier in Minter Creek at 118th Avenue Northwest in Pierce County. The project includes a site survey, hydraulic modeling, geotechnical assessment, cultural resources review, and designs. The future replacement of this barrier will open an additional 2.5 miles of habitat upstream to the next partial barrier at Pine Road in Kitsap County. Minter Creek is used by Puget Sound steelhead, which is a species listed as threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act, as well as by Chinook, chum, coho, and pink salmon and coastal cutthroat trout. The County will contribute $15,883.

 

August is Child Support Awareness Month

As children are immersed in summertime activities and with back-to-school time just around the corner, Washington State celebrates our families with Child Support Awareness Month each August. The month-long celebration lets parents know that the Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Child Support can help them provide for their children through regular child support payments.

“Child support payments help build a strong foundation for raising happy, healthy children so they can reach their full potential,” said Sharon Redmond, director of the DSHS Division of Child Support. “We meet those needs while providing respect and resources to every person, every day.”

In order to help with that, the Division of Child Support annually serves approximately 380,000 kids in Washington State and across the nation, ensuring they have the financial support they need by collecting more than $670 million a year in child support.

This year, we are celebrating the month with several outreach events where we will share information, resources and treats with parents and children. Among the events scheduled for this month:

Parents in Tacoma can stop by either the McKinley Hill Street Fair on Aug. 17 or the Hilltop Street Fair on Aug. 27 to learn more about child support services.

Other events may be added throughout the month. If you are interested in learning more about upcoming events or have questions about child support, please contact the Division of Child Support at www.dshs.wa.gov/esa/division-child-support or or call 1 (800) 442-KIDS (5437).

 

State repeals some of the harshest public assistance restrictions for families

On July 28, legislation that eliminates some Washington State’s harshest policies for families with children on public assistance went into effect. The new policies, enacted by Second Substitute House Bill 1603, will ensure that families with the highest barriers to stability are able to access Temporary Assistance for Needy Family (TANF). TANF provides critical support in families’ transition to stability with cash assistance, childcare, and supportive services.

Since the Great Recession, Washington State has enacted a series of policies that have led to a dramatic decline in the number of families with children accessing TANF. This included stricter sanction policies and a time limit policy that, when enacted, immediately removed more than 15,000 low-income families from the program and has led to a dramatic and ongoing caseload decline. While TANF supported 50 out of 100 families in poverty in Washington State 10 years ago, the program now only serves 25 out of 100 families in poverty.

“As the number of TANF recipients declined, it was not because of a reduced need, but because of our inflexible policies. With these changes, we are taking a critical step in recognizing the challenges confronting homeless families and others who are struggling to recover from setbacks,” said Representative Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) who sponsored the bill.

The new legislation makes two important steps to restore the program. First, it eliminates TANF’s permanent disqualification policy that places a lifetime ban on families that have been removed from the program for repeated noncompliance with the program’s strict work requirements. Many of these families face significant barriers, including homelessness, mental health issues, physical disabilities, and domestic violence.

The legislation also creates a new extension to TANF’s time limits for families with children that are homeless or living in transitional or time-limited supportive housing. Prior to the Great Recession, Washington State had a broad time limit extension policy. Since then, time limit extensions have been limited primarily to families experiencing domestic violence or living with a member with a disability.

“Our state has recognized the urgency of investing in homelessness and behavioral health, and it is therefore imperative we also reinvest in our state’s TANF program because its stabilizing supports are serving families that disproportionately face these barriers,” said David Hlebain, Basic Needs Campaign Manager at Statewide Poverty Action Network.

Families that have been removed from TANF due to permanent disqualifications or who have been time-limited off the program and are currently homeless are eligible to receive TANF if they still meet other eligibility requirements. They can reapply online at washingtonconnection.org or in-person by visiting a DSHS Community Services Office.

Statewide Poverty Action Network is a grassroots advocacy organization that fights against root causes of poverty and advances equitable policy change at the state level. For more information, visit www.povertyaction.org.

 

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