Bulletin Board – News from Tacoma and Beyond

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Upcoming event road closures through Dec. 22

Please note the anticipated event-related road closures expected around Tacoma through Sunday, Dec. 22:

  • On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Santa Runs Tacoma event will close A Street, and will close single lanes on South 11th, East E, East 7th, East 3rd, and East D streets, as well as St. Paul Avenue, East 15th Street, Dock Street, Schuster Parkway, and Ruston Way from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • On Thursday, Dec. 19, the Broadway Farmers Winter Market will close Broadway from South 9th to South 11th streets from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Ongoing:

  • The Proctor Farmers Market closes North 27th from North Proctor to North Madison streets every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Closures may change as a result of weather, event alterations and other unexpected circumstances. For more information on Pierce Transit bus routes affected by event road closures, visit piercetransit.org.

Volunteer work party to set up Tacoma MLK Village

Tacoma communities are invited to join the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI), neighbors, and volunteers on Saturday, Dec. 14, for a volunteer work party to set up the Tacoma MLK Village, a micro-shelter village for people experiencing homelessness. This village is set to open Dec. 19.

The work party hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 802 MLK Jr Way, Tacoma, WA 98405

LIHI is partnering with the City of Tacoma to open Tacoma MLK Village on Dec. 19 to provide shelter, safety, and community for people experiencing homelessness at People’s Park in the Hilltop neighborhood. On Nov. 19, the Tacoma City Council unanimously approved setting up the first emergency micro-shelter site in Tacoma to be operated by LIHI. Each micro-shelter is 8 feet by 12 feet, is insulated, and has heat, electricity, and a locking door. The village will provide up to 35 individuals and couples experiencing homelessness with shelter, restrooms, community spaces, on-site case management, and 24/7 security staff. 

In an effort to build and open the village quickly before winter arrives, we are organizing local neighbors and volunteers to help with painting, construction, cleaning, beautification, and more this weekend. LIHI is grateful to the many neighbors, volunteers, and community champions who are making this village possible.

Donations are welcome and can be dropped off at Tacoma MLK Village starting Dec. 14, including warm winter clothing, shoes, non-perishable foods, unopened hygiene products, kitchen appliances, and supplies. LIHI is also seeking neighbors, community groups, faith organizations, or businesses who are interested in bringing hot meals for the village residents after it opens on Dec. 19.

For more information,  email tinyhouses@lihi.org or visit https://lihi.org/tiny-houses/.

Electric vehicle readiness requirements expanding in Tacoma

The Tacoma City Council voted to pass Ordinance 28640 expanding and aligning the City’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure and readiness with the State of Washington’s adopted changes to state building codes.

The ordinance consolidated and incorporated new provisions into the City’s building code. Prior to this change requirements had been in both the land use and building code chapters causing unnecessary confusion for builders, construction delays and lack of adoption of the technology.

“This change helps streamline the City’s requirements, while aligning them with the State’s updates that are expected to go into effect in 2022,” said Council Member Ryan Mello. “It is important that as a City we are planning for the changing transportation landscape and recognizing the environmental and equity benefits of electric vehicles – saving users money, improving our air quality and reducing our impact on climate pollution from combustion engine cars.”

The adopted code will require new multifamily buildings with 10 or more parking spaces or those that add 10 or more parking spaces to install the infrastructure for electric vehicle charging in a minimum of 20 percent of the parking stalls.

“Electric vehicles are cleaner and fueling them costs less than 25 percent of the cost compared to fueling combustion vehicles,” said Kristin Lynett, Office of Environmental Policy and Sustainability. “We want to make sure that our multifamily residences are ready for tenants who want to invest in an electric vehicle, because the data shows that they are predicted to be 14 percent of the U.S. market by 2025 and the vast majority of drivers prefer to charge their vehicles at home and work.”

The City projects that post-construction installation of electrical infrastructure can cost up to five times more than during construction.

“This is about making access to charging infrastructure convenient for everyone in Tacoma,” Mello added.

More information about the City’s permitting process is available at TacomaPermits.org.

Holiday patrols for impaired drivers on now

Law enforcement in Pierce County has launched DUI emphasis patrols happening now. They join more than 145 law enforcement agencies statewide adding patrols through Jan. 2, searching for drivers who are impaired from alcohol, cannabis or other substances.
“Most people believe driving impaired is unacceptable and will make plans for a sober ride when celebrating this holiday season,” said Mark Medalen, program manager at the Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC). “We encourage everyone to make a plan before they party, so they can return home safely.”
Participating in the patrols are police departments in Bonney Lake, Buckley, DuPont, Fife, Fircrest, Gig Harbor, Lakewood,
Milton, Orting, Puyallup, Ruston, Steilacoom, Sumner, Tacoma, University Place, along with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office and and Washington State Patrol.

Nearly half of all traffic deaths in Washington involved an impaired driver. Drivers who are impaired from more than one substance (called poly-drug drivers) are the most common type of impaired driver involved in fatal crashes. The number of poly-drug drivers has increased an average of 15 percent every year since 2012. By 2016, poly-drug drivers were more than double the number of alcohol-only drivers and five times higher than the number of THC (cannabis)-only drivers involved in fatal crashes.
“Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Don’t make that mistake.  If you do, we will have the unfortunate job of arresting you,” said Sergeant Farris of the Fife Police Department.

Woodards elected to National League of Cities board of directors

Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards was elected to the National League of Cities (NLC) board of directors by NLC’s membership at the 2019 City Summit in San Antonio. Woodards was elected to a two-year term and will provide strategic direction and guidance for NLC’s federal advocacy, governance and membership activities. NLC is the largest and most representative organization for cities, their elected leaders and municipal staff, and advocates for city priorities in Washington, D.C. by building strong federal-local partnerships. 

“I am honored to take a leadership role on this hardworking national board, as NLC is the voice of America’s cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people in more than 2,000 communities,” said Woodards. “I am looking forward to the insights I will gain working alongside other experienced and energized city leaders.” 

As a member of the board, Woodards will participate in board meetings in March, June, and November to guide NLC’s strategic direction. Board members are selected by a 15-member nominating committee and are confirmed by a vote from NLC’s membership at the organization’s annual business meeting. 

“Our Board of Directors helps guide the National League of Cities’ priorities and policies,” said NLC President Joe Buscaino, council member from Los Angeles. “It is made up of an amazing group of local leaders, and I am excited to work with them to lead with urgency in addressing homelessness, building innovation-driven economies and strengthening local-federal partnerships.” 

More than 4,000 mayors, council members and other delegates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia convened in San Antonio for City Summit. Local leaders are on the frontline of the nation’s most pressing challenges and pioneering innovative solutions that move our cities, towns, and villages forward.

Senior and disabled Tacoma residents to receive housing

Tacoma Housing Authority and Cascade Park Communities have partnered to ensure that Tacoma residents needing affordable assisted living services will continue to have it. The 145 units in this partnership will help meet a dire need for Medicaid-qualified assisted living services in Tacoma.

As a safety-net provider, Cascade Park Communities accepts both private pay and Medicaid. They own and manage the two properties, Cascade Park Vista and Cascade Park Gardens. Tacoma Housing Authority will provide the rental subsidies to ensure that these valuable services will remain available to low-income persons.

This partnership has three main features:

  1. Tacoma Housing Authority will subsidize two properties:
  2. Cascade Park Vista: North Tacoma; total of 75 subsidized units; 70 reserved for households at or below 30 percent average median income (ex: less than $16,850 one person household) and five units for households at or below 40 percent Area median income (AMI)
  3. Cascade Park Gardens: South Tacoma; total of 70 subsidized units; 31 units reserved for households at 30 percent AMI, 23 units for 40 percent AMI, 16 units for 50 percent AMI; Reserved for households in need of dementia care and/or behavioral health services who qualify for Medicaid
  4. Tacoma Housing Authority clients who need the services will have priority to live at Cascade Park Vista and Gardens.
  5. Cascade Park Communities will offer their award-winning adult day services, Active Day, to Tacoma Housing Authority clients. These engaging activities and social programs help meet the functional and cognitive needs for senior and disabled clients and assist them in maintaining their independence.

Active Day

  • Services Offered 5 days a week (M-F)
  • Shuttle Transportation (Door to Door) Provided
  • Nursing Services, Physical Therapy, Restorative, Nutrition, and Engaging Activities
  • Programming for Memory Care, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Traditional
  • Medicaid, VA, and Private Pay

 “We’re really excited about the partnership with Tacoma Housing Authority,” said Chad Solvie, executive director of Cascade Park Communities. “This partnership will be modeled after some of the best practices used in other parts of the country to ensure that quality assisted living services remain viable and accessible to the people (on Medicaid) that need them most.”

Executive Director of Tacoma Housing Authority Michael Mirra said that the Tacoma Housing Authority’s main job is to provide or finance affordable housing for Tacoma residents who need help to afford a home. 

“Assisted living facilities that accept Medicaid are near impossible to find in Tacoma and Pierce County. Partnering with Cascade Park Communities is a very good use of a scarce housing dollar because it makes much-needed services available to a population that often cannot afford them.”

WorkForce Central thanks County Council

Budget season has come to a close, and WorkForce Central thanks its partners at the Pierce County Council: As part of its first ever biennial budget process, the council has dedicated $300,000 to the Pierce County Construction Pre-Apprenticeship Program across the next two years.

This generous support of the Pre-Apprenticeship Program will ensure that WorkForce Central can serve Pierce County residents interested in starting careers in the construction trades for years to come. The program will be available to all Pierce County residents at no cost, with recruitment targeted toward individuals who are unemployed and underemployed, individuals of color, and women.

“We’re working with our partners to create more family-wage jobs of all kinds in Pierce County,” said County Executive Bruce Dammeier. “The Pre-Apprenticeship Program is a great way to get our residents prepared to meet the demand for skilled employees.”

The first cohort of the Pre-Apprenticeship Program will officially launch this winter at the new Parkland Career Center at 402 Garfield St. S.

“The Pre-Apprenticeship Program prepares individuals for construction-related careers,” said County Councilman Doug Richardson. “Programs like this one create a strong and talented labor market that make Pierce County a competitive place to work and have a business.”

The construction industry continues to grow in Pierce County, adding 3,000 jobs annually. At the same time, the industry faces an impending silver tsunami of retirements. And with an existing skills gap, a training center dedicated to developing a talent pipeline for construction-related jobs can’t come soon enough.

“We are thrilled that the Pierce County Council has chosen to invest in this program for the next two years,” said WorkForce Central CEO Linda Nguyen. “The level of support we’ve received from diverse sources of funding will allow us to offer full scholarships for this short-term training to any Pierce County resident who is interested in a construction-related career.”

One hundred and sixty trainees annually will go through an 11-week program that uses a standardized curriculum developed by the National Standing Committee on Apprenticeship and Training of North America’s Building Trades Union that will be customized to meet local business needs. Graduates of the center will have the essential skills and technical skills they need to be successful in an apprenticeship program or on a job site, and will be certified in forklift operation, Washington State traffic control flagger, industrial first aid and CPR, and OSHA 10.

The Parkland Career Center, which WorkForce Central unveiled to the public for the first time in November, will also be home to the Foley Family Resource Center, where Pierce County residents can access computers as well as online trainings, certifications and career interest testing at no cost. It will also host a Young Adult Program that will provide residents aged 16-24 who are not employed and are not enrolled in school with in-depth career exploration and connection to internships.

WorkForce Central strengthens the Pierce County economy by identifying skill gaps between jobseekers and employment opportunities, fostering data-driven decision making, and connecting workforce development partners into a cohesive, collaborative and effective network.

County library system seeks creative judges

The Pierce County Library System is seeking creative community members who are passionate about giving back to young writers and artists to serve as final judges for the 24th annual Our Own Expressions: Teen Writing and Art Contest (www.piercecountylibrary.org/kids-teens/teens/expressions/Default.htm). Selected judges will review finalists and choose winners in one of four categories: poetry, short story, art/drawing and photography.

Criteria:

  • Must work in a related creative field (artist, photographer, author, poet, publisher, professor, editor)
  • Able to review submitted entries and select winners between March 27 and April 10, 2020
  • Able to receive entries by mail and communicate by e-mail
  • Able to complete a Pierce County Library vendor application, if selected

Honorarium: $150

To Apply: Complete a short application at www.surveymonkey.com/r/JudgeOOX2020 by Jan. 7, 2020 to be considered. We are especially looking for young adult writers or artists looking for a resume-building opportunity and a chance to give back to youth.

A win for clean water: $734,000 settlement reached in LRI landfill case

On Dec. 10, Puget Soundkeeper reached a legal settlement to resolve a federal Clean Water Act case filed in September 2017 against LRI Landfill, a 168 acre, privately owned non-hazardous landfill within the Nisqually River watershed. The settlement requires LRI to pay $734,000 to fund third party environmental grants in the vicinity of the Nisqually River watershed and areas impacted by illegal discharges of landfill fluid, oils, and other contaminants caused by LRI’s failure to meet both Industrial and Construction Stormwater Permit standards.  
Since the start of its construction in 1996, LRI has discharged stormwater to wetlands that lead to Muck Creek (aka South Creek) – Nisqually River tributaries providing critical habitat for chum salmon, steelhead trout, and sea-run cutthroat trout.
Documented by the Washington Department of Ecology and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, LRI’s list of violations also include failure to follow stormwater sampling guidelines; high levels of toxic chemicals such as copper, zinc, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in their discharged stormwater; and failure to install technological improvements to effectively control their water pollution.
The settlement reached with Puget Soundkeeper also requires LRI to comply fully with all clean water permits going forward; to install site improvements to prevent future leachate leaks; to install an advanced stormwater treatment system for both their industrial and construction stormwater discharge, and upgrade it if sampling data shows it’s needed; improved handling of auto shredder residue to prevent it from becoming a pollution source; and share permit compliance reports with Puget Soundkeeper to track changes outlined in the settlement. For a full list of settlement outcomes, visit https://pugetsoundkeeper.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/LRI-Consent-Decree.pdf.
“LRI Landfill has a long and complicated history of disappointing community members with its poor pollution track record – and we hope that today marks a turning point for this facility,” said Katelyn Kinn, Puget Soundkeeper Staff Attorney. “Moving forward, LRI has the opportunity to work to become a better neighbor. We look forward to tracking their progress, and holding them accountable.” 
Puget Soundkeeper is an environmental non-profit whose mission is to protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound. Since 1984, Soundkeeper has filed over 200 legal actions and all funds from successful settlements go to restoring polluted waterways in the region through the Puget Sound Stewardship & Mitigation Fund. 
Puget Soundkeeper was represented in this matter by Claire Tonry, Richard Smith, Knoll Lowney, Katherine Brennan at Smith & Lowney PLLC and Soundkeeper’s Staff Attorney Katelyn Kinn.

Joy Stanford launches campaign for state representative

Joy Stanford, a longtime resident of the 26th legislative district and community outreach specialist for Shared Housing Services, has announced that she will run for the State House in District 26. Stanford, a Democrat, challenged Republican Michelle Caldier in 2018, and despite a late entry into the race raised nearly $200,000 and became one of the most closely watched candidates in the region. With an early start and what is projected to be a high turnout election year, Stanford believes the electoral environment in 2020 is more favorable.  

“People are tired of ideological partisanship and power-hungry politicians putting their own interests before the needs of seniors, veterans, and today’s working families,” said Stanford. “The issues facing our community transcend party lines: keeping the cost of living affordable for renters and homeowners alike; ensuring economic opportunity for workers of all ages regardless of education level; and finding real solutions to the complicated challenges of homelessness, addiction, and mental illness,” she continued. “We need bold new leadership to champion these shared priorities.”

“As a substitute teacher in the Peninsula School District and the proud mom of a college sophomore, I know a four-year degree isn’t the right path for every young adult. We need to do more to level the economic playing field by expanding job training programs and vocational education. You shouldn’t have to go tens of thousands of dollars into debt to get a job that pays enough to keep a roof over your head, support a family, and save for your future,” Stanford said to a room full of supporters on Sunday. 

At Shared Housing Services – an organization working to prevent homelessness – Stanford works with the community to connect people in need with innovative and affordable housing options. “When it comes to ending homelessness, we need to shift the focus away from unfortunate symptoms like tents in public areas, sanitation challenges, and other visible effects. And instead, we need to take action to address root causes like access to services for veterans, families, and those struggling with addiction, and stagnant wages at a time when the cost of living is skyrocketing,” said Stanford.

Also present at the kickoff was Jacy Griffin, a local small business owner, teacher in the Peninsula School District, and mother. “I’ve known Joy for about a decade and the thing that sets her apart the most is her willingness to put herself out there for other people. I’ll be honest, I don’t perfectly align with Joy’s political beliefs, but she has my vote because of her integrity, work ethic, and commitment to helping the people in our community. She has the know-how and determination to make positive change in Olympia,” said Griffin.

Another early supporter of Stanford’s present at the event was Pierce County Councilmember Derek Young. “Flipping the House seats in the 26thdistrict from Republican to Democratic control is within reach. We’re seeing swing districts in our region trend away from hardline conservatives and party loyalists. Instead, voters are electing leaders who understand the needs and priorities of the community, leaders like Joy Stanford,” said Young. “I work in Olympia quite a bit and I see the legislature in action. I also see that the powerful people and groups are always heard. We need Joy in Olympia to speak on behalf of those in the 26th district who don’t have a voice at the table,” he continued. 

Unlike in 2018 when Stanford entered the race in late March, she believes a December start will allow more time for her to connect with voters and community leaders. 

“I learned a lot from my first campaign and I’m excited to put those lessons into action for our community,” said Stanford. “I’ll have the time and the team to reach every voter so we can work together to find community-driven solutions to the challenges facing our growing district.”

Stanford and her husband David are the proud parents of Rhiannon, age 40, Brandon, age 32, and Benjamin, age 20. Stanford lives with her husband and their dog Dexter in Gig Harbor. 

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