Bulletin Board: News from Tacoma and Beyond



Crews on Sound Transit’s Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension project installed the first 300-foot rail segments for the 2.4-mile extension through the Stadium District and Hilltop. The new rails were placed on Stadium Way south of Division Street. Once the rail installation is complete, there is two-week test and inspection period to ensure the rails meet design specifications.The Hilltop Tacoma Link Extension is being built by Walsh Construction Company II, LLC.
Since last fall, construction has concentrated on relocating underground utilities, building foundations for Link power poles, building traction power substations and expanding the Link Operations and Maintenance facility near Freighthouse Square.
Initial work includes relocating nearly 10,000 feet of underground utility lines and building the foundations for 60 of the more than 300 Link power poles that will be built as part of the project. At the Operations and Maintenance facility expansion nearly 200 piles have been installed and 50 percent of the utility work is complete. Crews will erect structural steel beams at the facility this July.
On June 20, construction began in front of Stadium High School. Crews will close North E Street and North 1st Street just north of Division Avenue to Tacoma Avenue through Sept. 4.
Detour routes for commuters will be on Stadium Way, North 1st Street, Division Avenue, Broadway and Tacoma Avenue. Trucks greater than 30 feet and buses are advised not to travel on Stadium Way and use other routes such as 9th Street to Tacoma Avenue. Smaller trucks can use Stadium Way and turn on Division Avenue.
When finished, the project extends the existing Tacoma Link system up Stadium Way, N. E St., 1st Street, Division Avenue and down Martin Luther King Jr. Way to South 19th Street. This includes relocating the existing Theatre District station and building seven new stations along the Link system.



Local residents have two additional opportunities to attend an open house and provide comments on a possible stage in the Chambers Creek Regional Park Central Meadow.
The open houses, hosted by Pierce County Parks and Recreation, will be held on June 27 and Aug. 6, 6 p.m. at the Environmental Services Building, 9850 64th St. W., University Place.
The June and August meetings will provide opportunities for the public to share their opinions and concerns regarding a possible stage in the park’s Central Meadow. In addition, attendees can meet the project team and provide their input about the concept plans that have been developed.
On May 21, the Parks staff and project team held the first open house regarding the Central Meadow stage study. An analysis and comparative information were presented. This information, along with public input gathered at the May meeting, was used to develop a series of concept plans that will be presented at the June 27 meeting.
For those who cannot attend in person, public comment is being collected by email to ChambersStageStudy@piercecountywa.gov and via surveys that will be available on the project website at www.co.pierce.wa.us/6331/Chambers-Creek-Regional-Park-Stage-Study following each open house. The survey and the presentation materials from the June meeting will be available from June 27 through July 12.



District 5 Council Member Chris Beale will host a town hall on Saturday, June 29, from 10 a.m. to noon at the STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St. in Tacoma. The event will provide residents with another opportunity to meet with Beale in person, learn about the initiatives he’s championing, share their thoughts about the issues that matter most to them, and ask him questions.
“Being accessible to District 5 community members is of high importance to me. I’ve created this town hall opportunity to have a broad dialogue with community members, hear their concerns and ideas on how to improve our part of the city,” said Beale. “I want to hear directly from the people I represent about what issues are important to them. I’m hoping for an informative and robust discussion.”
Among the topics to be covered during this event are the Affordable Housing Action Strategy, public safety, roads and infrastructure, protecting our most vulnerable populations, and how to get more involved around the community.
Refreshments will be served and child activities will be provided for event attendees at the STAR Center Treetops playgrounds.
Questions about this event, or requests for specific accommodations, may be sent to Lynda Foster at lynda.foster@cityoftacoma.org or (253) 591-5166.


United Way of Pierce County is seeking creative approaches via an innovation challenge that provides funding, support and recognition to individuals and community-led groups who have big ideas that address family financial instability. Participants will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to the community for potential funding and additional support.
Big ideas, at a grassroots level, must be designed in collaboration with the people who will use the innovation. There’s no better way to understand the hopes and aspirations of those you’re designing for than by talking with them directly. In addition, your ideas must consider diversity, equity and inclusion into the decision-making process to help remove disparities among groups for the best possible solutions.
There are many individuals and groups who want to create a more economically just and inclusive community, while inspiring a new generation of change-makers. This innovation challenge offers a chance to win up to $10,000 to be split among three creative approaches awarded to local community groups. Funding is to be used toward the initial launch of winning approaches to reducing poverty.
Pitch to Ditch Challenge goals are two-fold:
1.) Support innovative projects with promising potential for social impact.
2.) Foster a diverse pipeline of innovators through targeted outreach, support and education.

Eligibility Criteria

Your big idea must address poverty, stagnant wages and/or financial instability of Pierce County families. Concepts must be designed with people who are living in poverty that you want to impact. You must consider the following components:

  • Focus on the people who will use your product/innovation
  • Help solve the fundamental problem, rather than the symptoms
  • Think of everything as a system and the big picture
  • Be willing to test your design decisions with real people to create the best user-experience

Any team with at least three Pierce County residents as members is eligible to apply. The following groups are encouraged to apply:

  • Student groups and classes (allages):
  • Groups of individuals with lived experience (e.g. ex-offenders, homeless, youth, etc.)
  • Any informal group of neighbors and community-led groups
  • Grassroots leadership groups and cross-sector content expert groups
  • Advocacy and special interest groups
  • Faith-based communities
  • Non-profit organizations

Apply at www.uwpc.org/pitch-ditch-poverty-application. Key dates:

  Proposals submitted by July 31, 5 p.m.
  Proposals selected by panel Aug. 19
  Full presentations to panel (week of) Sept. 30
  Finalists pitch to guests Nov. 12 during Poverty to Possibilities (8 a.m.to-noon) at Hotel Murano.

To learn more, contact kelvinc@uwpc.org.
United, we will lift 15,000 households out of poverty and into financial stability by 2028, one family at a time.


With the opening of the new Benaroya Wing this January, Tacoma Art Museum has not only expanded its footprint physically, but it has also seen an increase of 15 percent in visitor admission numbers as compared to 2018.
“We couldn’t be more excited about this dramatic upswing,” notes David F. Setford, TAM executive director. “The numbers clearly show that people are starting to take notice of what is going on at Tacoma Art Museum. We anticipate this trend to only get stronger with our upcoming programs and exhibitions, especially our exhibition this fall featuring French Impressionist paintings and their impact on artists from the Pacific Northwest.”
Travel Tacoma reported all-time records of tourism in 2018 and Tacoma Art Museum’s current numbers align with this development. TAM will be hosting highly acclaimed community festivals this summer and fall that draw more than 8,000 visitors from across the region. On Aug. 10, TAM will partner with Washington State History Museum and Museum of Glass for “IN THE SPIRIT” Northwest Native Festival. This fall also marks the 15th annual Dia de los Muertos celebration at TAM, which draws large crowds from mid-October through Nov. 3.
“At TAM, we strive to break down barriers to access art in as many ways as we possibly can. Through the generous support of donors and members, TAM has increased accessibility for our entire South Sound community through Free Neighborhood Nights by extending museum hours and remaining free to the public from 5-8 p.m. every Thursday,” said Setford. “Combined with our ambitious education programs, creative and hardworking staff, and strong community support, TAM is poised for tremendous growth in the year ahead.”
Starting July 1, TAM will be raising general admission to $18 for adults and $15 for students/seniors. All other rates and free access opportunities will remain the same.



The Washington Supreme Court has issued an opinion reversing Pierce County Superior Court Judge Susan Serko’s dismissal of common law negligence claims from a case involving a shooting of an unarmed, mentally-ill, Hispanic Citizen.
On June 29, 2013 Tacoma Police Officer Michelle Volk contacted a mentally ill citizen, Cesar Beltran-Serrano, on the corner of East 28th Street in Tacoma. He was not committing any crime and did not speak English. Volk called for an officer who spoke Spanish, but then rather than waiting for him to arrive, she attempted to engage Beltran-Serrano by speaking in English. When Beltran-Serrano started to walk away, she attempted to taze him. When that failed, she shot him multiple times. She later claimed that he was attempting to strike her, though multiple witnesses denied seeing this, and ballistics indicated he was turned away when he was shot.
“The decision is important as it establishes that police, like other professions, can be held liable when they perform law enforcement activities in an unreasonable manner. The Court analyzed cases nationally and permitted claims to be filed based on theories of both assault and battery and negligence principles,” stated Beltran-Serrano’s attorney, Jack Connelly.
Connelly also said, “It noted that negligence claims may be asserted for police use of deadly force if the tactical conduct and decisions leading up to the use of deadly force show, as part of the totality of circumstances, that the use of deadly force was unreasonable. The Court additionally refused to shield the officer’s conduct under the public duty doctrine noting that Officer Volk owed a duty directly to Cesar Beltran-Serrano to refrain from unreasonably causing foreseeable harm in the course of law-enforcement interactions.”
Cesar Beltran-Serrano was represented by Jack Connelly, Micah LeBank and Meaghan Driscoll of Connelly Law Offices (Tacoma and Seattle). Former Washington Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge handled the appeal.


“The Killer Beside Me” exposes the dark underbelly of workplace evil, where rivalry, romance and the abuse of power culminate in murder. Danger is closer than you think. In this spine-chilling series, everyday colleagues transform into villainous murderers, and the safety of the office warps into a horrifying trap. The misunderstandings and passion born in the workplace become motives and build toward an inevitable terrifying climax. How well do you really know your co-workers.
The June 26 episode, airing at 9 p.m., focuses on Robert Henry, a company executive at North Coast Electric Company in Tacoma who was shot and killed in the company parking lot by a masked gunman on Sept. 11, 1995. His wife, Paula, tells the police that she believes her husband was murdered by a former business associate. Detective Bob Yerbury of the Tacoma Police Department investigates the case, and over the next six years is able to piece together evidence, including finding the murder weapon, that eventually convicts the person who murdered Henry.


Tacoma Community College has selected Marissa R. Schlesinger as the new provost and vice president of academic affairs. Reporting to the TCC president, Schlesinger will begin her new position on Sept. 22. This leadership position serves as the chief academic officer of the college, providing the vision and leadership for the college’s educational programs in a collaborative and equitable manner.
“With Tacoma in the midst of dynamic growth and TCC implementing guided pathways and expanding our Bachelor of Applied Science degree program, I can imagine no better time to join the college and to lead its academic programs into a future of strength and renown,” said Schlesinger from her home in Brooklyn.
Schlesinger is a product of public K-12 education and was raised in Brooklyn by a mother and grandmother who were public educators and community college graduates. She received her bachelor of arts degree in the Art and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East from Smith College, and her masters from the University of Toronto, where she is an A.B.D. in doctoral studies of ancient Egyptian civilization. She studied Egyptology at University College London and lectures on ancient Egyptian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY.
A student-centered and equity-minded leader, Schlesinger will be joining TCC after having served as associate dean of curriculum and first-year programs at Guttman Community College in New York City. Previously, she spent 13 years in faculty and administration at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. Schlesinger is a recent alumna of the Aspen Institute’s Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. She has served as resource faculty at the Washington Center’s National Summer Institutes and, separately, has worked with dozens of community colleges across the country, helping them focus on change for the improvement of equity and student learning, completion, transfer, and labor market outcomes.
“We are honored that Marissa is joining TCC, and we believe her skills, talents and knowledge will greatly advance our work for students and the community,” said TCC President Dr. Ivan Harrell.  “Her deep roots in community college education says much about her passion for students, and we look forward to calling on her expertise as we continue to address how we can best serve our community.”
Schlesinger will move cross-country through the summer to her new home in Tacoma. She plans to visit the campus in July and August, as she prepares for her new role.
“TCC is a remarkable college,” she said. “It is beloved by its faculty, staff, and students. It is admired nationally for its forward-thinking curricular reforms. It is on the cutting edge of co-curricular and holistic student supports. I am honored to have been asked by President Harrell to join the college as we seek to improve our outcomes and advance our work for the benefit of our students and the city of Tacoma.”


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