I have a unique district in Pierce County, as everything in my district is incorporated. In other words, I have cities or parts of cities – Tacoma, Fircrest, and University Place. I also have the west side of the Port of Tacoma, which is a crucial economic engine for Pierce County and Washington. The Port supports more than 29,000 jobs and has an economic impact of generating more than $3 billion for the South Puget Sound region. The Port sits within the City of Tacoma, which is in Pierce County.

The City of Tacoma is about to embark on developing its subarea plan for the Port of Tacoma (Tideflats), a process that is facilitated within the counties and cities. A subarea plan is a land use plan for a specific geographic neighborhood for a portion of a city that is uniquely identifiable (i.e. Proctor District, city center, Port of Tacoma, etc.). A subarea plan will include policies and maps directing future land use and development standards consistent with the vision for the neighborhood. The Tacoma Tideflats subarea planning process and corresponding regulations adopted by the City of Tacoma will define what activities are allowable at the Port, regulate development in key industrial lands, and otherwise significantly influence the long-term vitality of this important regional asset.

The City has invited the Port and the Puyallup Tribe to be members of the Leadership Partner Agency and to have representation on the Subarea Planning Process Steering Committee. The County Council has requested to be included in the subarea planning process with two Council representatives on the committee. Why is it important that the Council is part of this process?

First, the Port is one of our larger economic drivers and has an affect on the economy not only in the City of Tacoma, but throughout the County. As a County we bring infrastructure, which allows for goods to move into and out of the Port. It is essential the County is at the table invested in the long-term vision of Tideflats, which will need to be accommodated with corresponding infrastructure. This partnership with the City and the Port will help solidify the growing viability of their business operations. Second, a portion of every taxpayer’s taxes goes to the Port of Tacoma. I believe it is important that they have representation from the County government’s perspective as plans are being developed. Lastly, the County Council is focused on growing the economy regionally and that will take coordination and cooperation of our local governments and stakeholders.

I believe that this is a good first step toward moving us in that direction and am excited to see what will develop.

Connie Ladenburg is a member of the Pierce County Council. See more of her blogs at

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