Bulletin Board: News from Tacoma and Beyond



Each May, the National Trust for Historic Preservation encourages local communities to celebrate National Historic Preservation Month. The City of Tacoma’s Historic Preservation Office, along with local partners have planned a full roster of events around this year’s theme of “Broadening Horizons” and diversity in Tacoma’s history. These activities will celebrate opportunities for the future that Tacoma’s historic resources have to offer.

Historic Preservation Month Calendar
All event details can be found on the Historic Preservation Month website: hpmonthtacoma.com. Some key programs include:

  • Historic Preservation Month Kickoff: Hilltop Walking Tour: Tuesday, May 7, from 3:30-5 p.m., Starting at the Johnson Candy Company (924 MLK Jr. Way)
  • Historic Preservation Month Proclamation:  Tuesday, May 7, 5 p.m. at Tacoma Municipal Building in Council Chambers (747 Market St., first floor)
  • Arrested: Escape Fort Nisqually: May 9-11 at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum (5400 N. Pearl St.)
  • Reimagining Historic Landmarks: Youth Art Contest: Wednesday, May 15, 6-8 p.m. at Honey Coffee + Kitchen (1322 Fawcett Ave.)
  • Arrested: Escape Fort Nisqually: May 23-25 at Fort Nisqually Living History Museum (5400 N. Pearl St.)
  • Historic Preservation Month Reception and Awards: Friday, May 24, 6-8 p.m. at Courthouse Square (1102 A St. #438.)
  • Northeast Tacoma History Bike Tour: Friday, May 31, 5:30-7:30 p.m., starting at Browns Point Elementary School (1526 51st N.E.) and ending at Browns Point Diner (6620 East Side Dr. N.E.)

“This year we’re celebrating Tacoma’s diverse history in partnership with our city’s cultural and heritage organizations,” said Assistant Historic Preservation Officer Lauren Hoogkamer. “Our programing seeks to engage the public with historical narratives from a wide array of perspectives.”

The month’s programming will showcase exciting new twists on Tacoma’s history. The kickoff event, a historical walking tour, will lead participants through the Hilltop neighborhood and conclude at the Tacoma Municipal Building for the City Council Historic Preservation Month proclamation.

The Northeast Tacoma History Bike Tour, which is a partnership with Tacoma/Pierce County Bike Month and Pretty Gritty Tours, will tour Northeast Tacoma, with sites including Lighthouse Park and Dash Point Beach.

For more information on Historic Preservation Month activities, visit hpmonthtacoma.com or contact Lauren Hoogkamer at LHoogkamer@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5254



Residents of West Tacoma neighborhoods and the tens of thousands who frequent regional Titlow Park will cheer the new Quiet Zones now fully funded by the Legislature to be installed at two railroad crossings. The upgrades received the necessary additional funding from the state transportation budget in response to a request from Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County. Once completed, Quiet Zones are federally certified and eliminate the requirement for train engineers to sound their horns as they approach the crossing.

In order to create the two Quiet Zones, the crossings located at 6th Avenue and Titlow, and at South 19th Street, will be re-engineered with the installation of new pedestrian, roadway and rail infrastructure. This includes new BNSF pedestrian and vehicle gates, roadway and sidewalk improvements, and new “Second Train Coming” LED warning signs.

“The Quiet Zones will not only end noise pollution in those areas, but the upgrades in pedestrian and vehicle gates, and other improvements, will make the crossings safer,” explained O’Ban. “These improvements will also make the area of town and the popular Titlow Park more appealing to visitors. The City of Tacoma recently asked area residents their priorities and the top response was train noise reduction.”

The City of Tacoma is taking the lead to re-engineer the projects.



Shelly Schlumpf, transportation consultant and former president and CEO of the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber, announced she will run for the Position 5 seat on the Port of Tacoma Commission.

“The number one goal of the Port of Tacoma is business retention and job creation,” Schlumpf said. “Every day our port is competing with Canadian ports for freight, containers and cargo. If we want to keep the skilled jobs we have now, we need to invest in infrastructure, safety, transportation and terminals. If we want to expand employment and protect our environment, like I do, then we need innovation.”

“I understand the importance of family-wage jobs in safe and healthy conditions,” she continued. “My family has a long history of involvement with labor unions for that reason. My father was a teamster and my late husband was a member of the Carpenters Local Union 470, Tacoma, and son-in-law in the HVAC union. In addition, we owned a construction business for more than 20 years.”

Schlumpf has worked with labor, business and community leaders to help get funding for State Route 167 and other transportation projects in Pierce County. She led the Puyallup/Sumner Chamber in growing local businesses and creating jobs with new approaches like televising economic forecast events highlighting future planned projects in Puyallup, Sumner and unincorporated Pierce County, programs to connect human resources directors and technology education advisors focusing on new skill development, and technology infrastructure summits advocating for robust fiber infrastructure as part of new business and job recruitment strategies. She also served on the South Sound Chamber of Commerce Legislative Coalition board representing approximately 3,265 businesses employing more than 186,000 workers with more than $100 billion in revenue in the South King County and North Pierce County region to increase jobs, competitiveness, and regional productivity.



Tacoma Little Theatre’s production of “The Pillowman,”a 2003 play by Irish writer Martin McDonagh, took top honors at the American Association of Community Theatre: Region IX competition in Spokane, April 18-20. Its director, Blake R. York, along with his cast, thereby qualified to compete in national finals held June 18-22 in Gettysburg, Penn.

“I am at a loss for words on how proud I am of this cast and crew,” said Chris Serface, managing artistic director for Tacoma Little Theatre. “This is a testament of the quality of theatre in our Puget Sound community. During the last festival, we were proud to cheer on our fellow Tacoma theater, Tacoma Musical Playhouse, as it made this journey.”

York won AACTFest Region IX’s award for best director. This was his first time helming an adult, mainstage production, but he’s been TLT’s resident technical director since 2014. A frequent actor on area stages, he’s also designed sets for troupes all over the southern Puget Sound region. His wife, Jen York, won an award for her contributions to “The Pillowman’” interrogation-room setting, while Michele Graves won for best costumes.

Top individual-acting awards went to members of Bellingham Theatre Guild and The Verona Studio (Salem, Ore.). Regional adjudicators, however, bestowed a special award for ensemble acting on “The Pillowman” cast for the contest’s one-hour abridgement. That quartet comprises Christian Carvajal, Andrew Fry, Sean Neely (named best actor at the state festival in Prosser) and Jacob Tice. Its stage manager, both on stage at TLT and in competition, is Nena Curley.

“This is such a Cinderella story,” said Carvajal. “We’re all in total shock about it. We were only moved forward to regionals when another team couldn’t make the trip, so it’s especially gratifying for us to earn a spot now among the best of the best. We feel we represent those other teams as well.”

Given that a weeklong trip to Pennsylvania wasn’t in TLT’s expected budget, Serface is actively soliciting donations. “We can always use donations of money, of course,” Serface noted, “but we could also use air miles, lodging and travel connections, gas cards – anything you think will help TLT represent Tacoma and the other outstanding community theaters of Washington State. We will be attempting to raise $15,000 in 52 days. I’m confident our wonderful community will help us reach that goal.”

People wishing to donate are encouraged to contact Serface at (253) 272-2281 or visit TLT’s website at www.tacomalittletheatre.com.



The Beecher’s Foundation is celebrating the completion of their Pierce County pilot and looking ahead to expanded programming beginning in fall of 2019. To say thanks to the Lakewood community, the Foundation hosted classroom cooking parties for elementary students at Lakeview Hope Academy and Tyee Elementary School. Students demonstrated their newly acquired knife skills and prepared fresh snacks, including cowboy caviar and aqua fresca. Elected officials, stakeholders and project funders, parents, school staff, and media came to help celebrate, and Tacoma Rainiers mascot Rhubarb made an appearance.

The work of The Beecher’s Foundation’s in Lakewood aims to promote deep and lasting change in the community’s food-based health. In 2018, the foundation partnered with Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, the City of Lakewood, the Clover Park School District, and the Boys and Girls Club of Lakewood to implement a six-month, targeted food and nutrition initiative directly reaching 1,500 Lakewood residents. With the successful pilot now completed, the Foundation is expanding into more elementary and high schools in the 2019-2020 academic year.

Program curriculum reveals the truths of the food system; demonstrates how food is a central ingredient of social justice; and engages students in hands-on cooking. Beecher’s Foundation workshops are commercial free and age-appropriate. The pilot program included the following:

Elementary School Program: Tyee Elementary and Lakeview Hope Academy 4th and 5th graders became “food detectives” by learning how to read labels and decipher ingredient lists. They learned how to see through marketing messages and cook from scratch in this two-and-a-half hour workshop.

High School Program: Clover Park High School 9th-graders and DECA students explored the state of today’s food system from an equity and social justice perspective and examined the influence teens have to make positive change. The workshop, comprised of two 90-minute sessions, included cooking and hands-on group work.

Adult Program: Parents, teachers, and interested community members explored power and influence in the food system; learned the history of the industrialized food state; and uncovered practical ways to improve eating habits and communities’ collective well-being. The four-hour workshops were held at Boys & Girls Club of Lakewood between October 2018 and February 2019.

Pierce County experiences dramatic income-based health disparities. Neighbors living less than a mile apart can have up to 8 years difference in life expectancy. Thirty percent of Pierce County adults are obese, 25 percent of 10th-gradersare overweight or obese, and diabetes prevalence is concentrated in the lowest income zip codes. These disparate health outcomes are often driven by diet-related disease.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department served as research partner during the pilot program. Their preliminary report found outcomes which were “excellent and exceed goal metrics” and gains which “reflect excellent curricula.” The final report will be completed this summer.

The Clover Park School district has asked The Beecher’s Foundation to expand this initiative for the 2019-2020 school year, reaching 8-10 school communities.



Pacific Lutheran University has been recognized for conformity with the Standards of Good Practice for Education Abroad as established by the Forum on Education Abroad – the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, membership association recognized by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission as the Standards Development Organization (SDO) for the field of education abroad. The Forum provides training and resources to education abroad professionals and its Standards of Good Practice are recognized as the definitive means by which the quality of education abroad programs may be judged.

For PLU to achieve this recognition required participation in an external review process known as QUIP (Quality Improvement Program for Education Abroad). QUIP is the only independent review system for education abroad and requires a multi-step process that begins with a self-study conducted by the applying institution and site visits by a Forum peer review team to the PLU campus and to one of PLU’s Gateway programs abroad. It ends with a final determination by the members of the Forum Review Panel (FRP).

“Pacific Lutheran University has demonstrated that it is in substantial conformity with The Forum’s Standards of Good Practice, and maintains a commitment and dedication to offering high quality programs in education abroad at a level of excellence acceptable to the larger academic community,” wrote Melissa A. Torres, president and CEO of The Forum. The FRP “was impressed with the support from university leadership and the larger community for education abroad, the level of student and faculty participation, and the deep integration of study away curricula within the larger university curricula.”

PLU will now be one of just 21 institutions around the world to be recognized as a QUIP Review recipient, fitting when considering the university’s commitment to global education. Half of graduating seniors have taken advantage of the fact that PLU is a top-rated university for study away opportunities. Earlier this month, the Peace Corps named PLU a Top 5 volunteer-producing college/university for 2019 – 14 Lutes are currently working for Peace Corps in various different countries. Additionally, PLU has a proud tradition of producing Fulbright Scholars, with 104 recipients over the past 45 years.

“Recognition by the Forum is an honor and distinction,” said Tamara R. Williams, PLU’s executive director of the Wang Center, “but more important is that it makes visible the culmination of decades of hard work by many members of the PLU community that persist in the belief that global education is central to our institution’s mission of educating students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care – for other people, for their communities, and for the earth.”



The American Psychological Association reports that Americans are more stressed than ever before and the problem is getting worse. Inhale peace and exhale stress with free classes from the Pierce County Library System.

“People are being asked to squeeze more into their day than ever before,” said Pierce County Library System Executive Director Georgia Lomax. “Pausing for a meditation class or taking time to grab a new book to read from the library is a great way to alleviate some stress.”

Upcoming classes include:

  • Tai Chi Chikung Fan: Enjoy the ancient art of Tai Chi Chikung Fan and combine gentle physical exercise and stretching with mindfulness while improving flexibility and balance. All ages. Monday, May 6, 13, 20 and 27, 10 a.m.-noon, Graham Pierce County Library, 9202 224th E.
  • The Healing Power of Laughter Yoga: Experience the benefits of laughter yoga. Workshop includes a brief presentation, followed by laughter yoga exercises and meditation. Adults 18 and over. Tuesday, May 7, 7-8 p.m., Graham Pierce County Library, 9202 224th E.
  • Meditation for Inner Peace: People all over the world use meditation to help them lead a more peaceful and healthy lifestyle. Join Ajili Hodari for an engaging and informative workshop. Adults. Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m. to noon, South Hill Pierce County Library, 15420 Meridian E., Puyallup; Saturday, May 11, 2-3:30 p.m., Graham Pierce County Library, 9202 224th E.
  • Meditation Practice Group: A free meditation practice session for new and experienced meditators. Adults. Tuesday, May 14, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Steilacoom Pierce County Library,2950 Steilacoom Blvd.
  • Yoga Story Time: Yoga movements, books and songs for preschoolers! Ages 3-6 and their family. Registration required at piercecountylibrary.org/calendar.Saturday, May 25, 10:30-11:30 a.m., South Hill Pierce County Library, 15420 Meridian E., Puyallup

Studies show daily reading reduces stress and exercises your brain. Residents can also curl up with a book, movie or digital magazine from Pierce County Library to help offset the pressures of daily life.

Discover more ways to relax at www.piercecountylibrary.org.



The 2019 Washington state transportation budget allocates $3.9 million to fully fund the expansion of DuPont-Steilacoom Road, granting a budget request from Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Pierce County.

The project involves widening the 1.3-mile stretch of the DuPont-Steilacoom Road between the new I-5 Exit 119 and Wharf Road, which is also Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s (JBLM) Integrity Gate. It connects the busiest gate to the base with the Integrity Gate at Wharf Road and is the only route for oversized military equipment to get from Lewis Main to Lewis North sections of JBLM.

“More than $3 billion a year in commerce uses this stretch of the DuPont-Steilacoom Road. It’s critical to the economic activity and development in the South Sound, which means that the frustration drivers and area businesses feel could undermine future growth,” said O’Ban. “This improvement will contribute to the greater effort to expand infrastructure around JBLM, and will make the daily commute a lot easier on everyone. We’ll be able to see the positive impact very clearly. I am fully invested in this.”

The project to widen DuPont-Steilacoom Road is a joint effort by Pierce County, the City of DuPont and Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Although the road is on federal land, it is maintained and operated by Pierce County. The Design and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPAP) process must be completed by mid-2019. The project will be incorporated into the Connecting Washington transportation plan.

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