Tacoma Urbanist

Sep. 11, 2009 at 4:09pm

Is Sound Transit's Dreaded Dome Business District Killing Berm Dead?

That seems to be the latest development as reported by the Tribune:

Sound Transit says it will build a bridge -- not an earthen berm  -- over the so-called B-Street Gulch within its project site to install light rail tracks through Tacoma's Dome District.

The design change for that part of the project largely was spurred by community concerns about aesthetics and wildlife,  Jim Edwards, Sound Transit's director of capital projects,  said this week.


Congratulations to everyone who worked on the issue!

Please post any additional updates below.  This is big news.

comments [62]  |  posted under Tacoma


by NSHDscott on 9/11/2009 @ 11:21am
Can you imagine a berm 75-80 feet wide over (in?) that gulch? That was the plan.

Now, they still plan for a berm for most of that 1.4-mile project. Here's hoping Boe's right and they change more of the project to post-and-beam as the designs progress.

by Erik on 9/11/2009 @ 4:14pm
Also, the cartoonists may have played a big role as well:


by boearc on 9/11/2009 @ 4:18pm
Duh - it is the existing buried infrastructure and poor soils stupid. Wait till they finally get to grips with the twin 96'ers that discharge into the end of the Foss - more design changes likely on the way when those costs realizations finally hit.

by Erik on 9/11/2009 @ 4:23pm
You seem to know a lot about these things David. Perhaps you should consult for Sound Transit.

Then again, we need you on our side!

Seriously, I think the public uproar about this poorly designed project played a significant role even though ST may not want to admit it.

Other cities, such as Seattle, are ripping out blightful overpasses.

Now, they still plan for a berm for most of that 1.4-mile project. Here's hoping Boe's right and they change more of the project to post-and-beam as the designs progress.

One step at a time. If they are going back to the drawing table, they are going to have more opportunities for changes.

by Erik on 9/11/2009 @ 4:26pm
Also, see RR Anderson's art that Sound Transit is apparently utilizing in the design:

Nice for the ST forks to come by Frost Park for inspiration.


by tacoma1 on 9/11/2009 @ 4:58pm
I'm glad to see things moving foward. Although I've argued for the berm, the wildlife concerns have always seemed to me to be the best argument against berming in the gulch.

What we have to remember though, is that this project still isn't fully funded, the state is seeking stimulus funds as was reported recently in the TNT. We will need to get federal stimulus dollars to finish this. The stimulus dollars have to be spent within a specific frame, and are awarded for ready to go projects only. Which will mean that there is likely to be some more compromises needed to be made by the politicians before this is all said and done.

Just a few excerpts, but the entire article is pretty informative, the link is below.

"$34.4 million to finish the D Street to M Street rail connection in Tacoma that will benefit both Amtrak passenger trains and Sounder commuter rail. That’s a project that will cross Pacific Avenue between South 25th and 26th streets and will allow Sounder to cover the eight miles between downtown Tacoma and the Lakewood Sounder station."

"I think it’s fair to say that we would not be awarded all of it,” Andrew Wood, deputy director of DOT’s Rail and Marine Division, said of Washington’s $1 billion request."

"Federal rules say no single state can get more than 20 percent"

"After the bypass is built, freight trains would continue to use the Point Defiance tracks and passenger train service will become much more reliable because Amtrak and Sounder trains will have the new and improved inland tracks from Nisqually to Freighthouse Square pretty much to themselves, he said."


by L.S.Erhardt on 9/11/2009 @ 5:16pm
My sources within the sandstone walls of 747 Market have confirmed this... the utilities provide a nightmare waiting to happen.

But that's ok. Since ST won't spend a single penny more than it has to down here, expensive issues worked out in our favor for once.

by Erik on 9/11/2009 @ 6:08pm
But that's ok. Since ST won't spend a single penny more than it has to down here, expensive issues worked out in our favor for once.

Blind luck I suppose that worked for the good of Tacoma.

The Dome District saved by utility lines?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/11/2009 @ 7:53pm
Could start calling the twin 96ers the 8th Wonder of Tacoma.

I also like Boe's idea of white water rafting in the Foss during the winter...

Personally, what bugs me the most about all this is not just the arrogance of ST (we're building you something, be grateful we're doing that at all), it's the spending. Remember how the funds collected in Area X are supposed to stay in Area X?
The page is now a 404, but ST used to have one that showed distribution of funds. According to the now-removed page from their site, Tacoma/Pierce County provide 17% of the revenue but get 8% of the spending. Where the hell is our other 9%?

by morgan on 9/11/2009 @ 9:34pm
What do you expect from a city that has:
a) a council/weak mayor/city manager structure
b) a part-time council
c) virtually no staff for the part-time council

I would say the end results are pretty reflective of the above set up.

by jenyum on 9/11/2009 @ 9:38pm

And think of all the unicorns that will be saved...

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/11/2009 @ 9:41pm
I think once Seattle has all the transit it needs we'll start getting our fair share here in Tacoma. Maybe we are not getting our fair share right now, maybe we are even providing the funding so Seattle has a state of the art system, but you wait, in 2083 Seattle will start paying for the transit here in Tacoma, you just have to wait a little, we'll get our share. First things first.

by jenyum on 9/11/2009 @ 10:03pm
A couple of weeks of commuting to Seattle and here are my Sound Transit related impressions/rants/complaints:

- Sound Transit has closed all bus stops from Cherry to Bus Way, and provided no signage telling anyone where else to get the express buses to Tacoma

- Maps at King Street station and other major transit points include no downtown stops for any of the ST Express buses, there is a handy 590 icon headed South on I5, in case you need to know where the freeway is.

- The wifi on the train is pretty useless if you are lucky enough to find a car that has it.

- The 586 still doesn't run often enough to serve demand for those headed East of downtown.

It isn't just Sound Transit though, the WSDOT doesn't seem to feel Tacoma rates one of those signs telling you how long your commute will be, headed South on I5. Great to know how long it will take me to get to Federal Way, but what about the backup that always exists from there South to Tacoma? It's not like there's 100,000 more of us down here or anything...

Maybe that's why I rarely hear the Tacoma area mentioned on radio traffic reports.

Yeah, I know Tacoma has a persecution complex but sometimes I think it's pretty reality based.

Glad we're getting a bridge instead of a berm. I hope some actual thought goes into the design.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/11/2009 @ 10:15pm
No, it's not your imagination.
When I'm visiting up north, I get tired of hearing "Oh, I'm sorry" when I say I'm from Tacoma.

We need better PR.

by ixia on 9/12/2009 @ 9:23am
It would be nice to think that community input or wildlife concerns had to do with this. Cost is the only issue. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad the gulch won’t be filled. I just don’t give ST credit, after what we had been told by Anderson, Earl and McCarthy. Still waiting to see what happens under 705.

by dolly varden on 9/12/2009 @ 10:08am
Jenyum - Tacoma's defensiveness toward Seattle can be provincial and knee-jerk, but it's understandable and sometimes warranted. Seattle's condescension toward Tacoma is provincial, but it makes no sense. You'd think we were a threat or something. In our dreams (dreams we need to get over).

Great news about the berm, though I don't really get from the news or these comments how it came about...what exactly are the cost issues that went the bridge's/trestle's favor? And can somebody explain to those of us who are not architects/civil engineers/professional planners about the significance of the 96'ers?

Re I-5, my guess is that once the new HOV lane to the Port is completed, we'll have travel times posted to Tacoma -- that infrastructure seems to have come to Federal Way once the HOV lanes were completed to the county line a couple of years ago.

by tacoma1 on 9/12/2009 @ 10:14am
The Transportations Choices blog has a little more detail about the current D-M developments, but without the Seattle hates Tacoma slant that is so pervasive here.


by L.S.Erhardt on 9/12/2009 @ 12:29pm
The 96ers are a century old, and drain the entire Nalley Valley/Lincoln Bowl area into the sound. Go down on Dock Street in January and watch the water coming out (they drain at the very end of the Foss)... it's pretty intense.

Part of the issue is, as I understand it, that when ST wants to depress Pac Ave, they'd have to depress the 96ers as well. The ST engineers don't plan to upgrade the pipe or adjust it's angle after the Pac Ave dip. It's all gravity flow, and if you have a low spot before it gets to the bay, pressure will build and that water has to go somewhere... It's pretty basic physics. When enough pressure builds, the water will likely go up and flood Pac Ave in the dip. Think of the nightmare alone that flood would cause... much less the disruptions and lost business and inconveniences.

I've made a really, really crude drawing explaining the basic problem:

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/12/2009 @ 12:35pm
I do want to mention that this is only a partial victory. They're going to not build a berm thru the ravine, and not going to depress Pac Ave.

But by golly, ST is still building a Berm for most of the way from D to M street.

by ixia on 9/12/2009 @ 12:57pm
They are not depressing Pacific? Are you sure?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/12/2009 @ 1:29pm
I think so.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/12/2009 @ 2:13pm
Anyone else think they are building the berm as part of a process to keep us from escaping from Tacoma? Once the berms and the guard towers are up it will be pretty difficult for us to get out.

by tacoma1 on 9/12/2009 @ 3:58pm
It's either because the berm at the Pacific Ave crossing actually is the best plan, or because everyone in Seattle hates all of us inTacoma. One of the two for sure.

Why not be happy that you guys saved all of the little furry critters in the gulch?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/12/2009 @ 4:13pm
Only animals I've ever seen in that gulch are Homo sapiens. Those I've seen down there don't look too friendly either.

by tacoma1 on 9/12/2009 @ 4:28pm
Don't tell ST, that seems to be the main reason that they aren't berming the gulch.

by ixia on 9/13/2009 @ 9:54am
It's utilities, Tacoma one, not people or critters. Never mind that we have a comprehensive plan. Turned out to be cheaper to build a bridge over the gulch after all. Their earlier cost estimates have been fictitious…..

by tacoma1 on 9/13/2009 @ 10:22am
Whatever.............the gulch isn't gonna get bermed. That's one of the things that you wanted.

Off DIRT's site, two of your points specifcally address the wildlife concerns.

11. The "B" Street Ravine, is identified in Tacoma's Open Space Habitat and Recreation Plan as a Habitat Corridor. This Habitat Corridor will be lost in the Dome District, if filled (bermed).
16. The "B" Street Ravine is important because it connects to the much larger open space to the South of the Dome District the Foss Waterway.

Maybe you guys changed your minds and don't care about the critters anymore................Maybe you would now like ST to move our utilities for us.

by ixia on 9/13/2009 @ 1:33pm
"Maybe you guys changed your minds and don't care about the critters anymore................Maybe you would now like ST to move our utilities for us"
No - ST realized it would be too expensive to deal with utilities. What makes you so mad?

by tacoma1 on 9/13/2009 @ 1:44pm
Not mad at all. I'm glad things are moving forward.

I don't care whether we get a berm or a bridge. I just want more transit as soon as possible, and I don't want future stimulus funds that will be needed to complete this thing to go elsewhere because we can't get it together.

Since ST is using our tax dollars on this project: if moving utilities is too expensive, and no one wants the gulch bermed anyway, and it would be disruptive to the wildlife, it looks like the right decision is being made. Congrats to all who had a hand in this coming to fruition.

by boearc on 9/14/2009 @ 8:02am
But I am mad. At the very first ST PAC Meeting (Project Advisory Committee) last September, multiple invited participants from the local community requested that ST look into the underlying soils issues and buried utility along the project path prior to developing and proposing any sort of design options for review. Again and again we were told it is 'in the works.' Now that finally the rubber meets the road (steel meets the rail) - a design change - with the spin being that is all about listening to the Dome District and to protect the furry animals - when in reality the spin is to protect ST butts. If a private developer had hired a project team that had pissed away as much time, money and community will without really knowing what they are doing - well they would fire the design team and hire a new one (one that had actual heavy rail experience designing and construcing a railline in an urban setting). I am not a big fan of the slang word 'cluster#$)@' - but boy is this one.

by Nick on 9/14/2009 @ 8:25am
Yes, this entire situation has really destroyed my faith in ST as an organization. I am beyond excited that at least part of the berm design will be scrapped (and will be the first to acknowledge a partial-bermed design is at least a compromise - something I didn't think was going to be possible).

That being said, Sound Transit really squandered an opportunity to maintain the goodwill of a part of the region that, in the future, will very likely grow to be a larger slice of their tax-funding pie.

by Nick on 9/14/2009 @ 8:27am
Just for fun, a crazy thought:

I wonder if the public can propose a vote of no-confidence for the current board members? Their consistent over-promise and under-deliver approach hasn't been limited to just this, virtually every project undertaken has gone over budget and behind schedule. Generally I'm willing to forgive that sort of thing when it's every once in a while, and when the project is ultimately worth going over budget for. However, the consistency at which it happens with ST tells me that perhaps there is a larger underlying problem that a reorg/shake-up could resolve.

by tacoma1 on 9/14/2009 @ 8:54am
So if I get this straight, local participants in the PAC meeting expressed an interest in protecting furry critters, they thought that the soils are poor, please look out for the utilities, and they didn't want to berm the gulch. Now, ST says OK you win. That they will protect the critters, they will avoid the utilities, they will build a bridge across the gulch, and won't berm it, and your still mad? Sorry, but that doesn't make sense, unless you are actually just trying to stop this project alltogether. I don't recall ever seeing you advocate for transit projects before, so that may be your real objective after all. Or maybe you just don't understand that government agencies have to go through a public involvement process. Public agencies have to ask all of the stakeholders what their concerns are. The intelligent informed stakeholders, the well meaning but uninformed stakeholders, even the crazy lunatic nonsensical stakeholders. I'll let each of you decide which category you fit in for yourselves. They are spending public dollars after all.

As far as private developers go, their main goal is profit. Private developers don't have to ask the public what they want. They just care about what they can build and sell for the biggest bang for the buck. They just buy the land, get the permits, and build whatever they want to build at the time. No need to ask no one for nothing.

Please, try to look at the big picture here. And remember that this project isn't even fully funded. We need federal stimulus dollars to complete it. I don't believe that they are handed out federal money for projects in dispute. Just in case you care, if the feds perceive Pierce County as a community without the politcal will to support transit, you (DIRT) will do alot of damage to the future distribution of transit dollars in the South Sound.

by ixia on 9/14/2009 @ 9:43am
Ah yes, you've got us all figured out as 'uninformed stakeholders, even the crazy lunatic nonsensical'.
As it stands, I agree with Nick. ST has squandered support from the community. ST has squandered an opportunity to build smart and right to begin with. They have failed to understand the urban environment with fill soil, utilities and communities. They have failed to read the comprehensive plan BEFORE designing what they did. Seriously � NO other urban community would let it stand to berm right through the middle of town. It is an offensive idea. I am embarrassed by the City Council to let this slip by. I am disturbed by the arrogance ST has shown toward Tacoma. Perhaps we should recall board members. ST has my vote of no-confidence.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/14/2009 @ 9:54am
For me, I'm just disappointed at ST for dawdling and how they handled the public. If they had either listened or studied the utilities/soil/wildlife/whatever sooner, maybe they could have had saved some cash and time.

But ST hasn't been in my good favor since I found out about the 17%/8% issue...

by boearc on 9/14/2009 @ 10:09am
Sorry - but the big picture is accountability. If any public agency brings in engineers and planners for a project that is proposed for a community - they should least have some idea of what they are doing and be accoutable for what they are proposing. It really is that simple. And as for whether I am an advocate for transit - well I will let me public record stand for me as I don't hide behind some fictitious blogging monikor.

by fredo on 9/14/2009 @ 10:30am
Jenyum@ "...Tacoma has a persecution complex, but sometimes I think its reality based"

Another spot on observation, Jen. Last night I attended a show at the Tacoma Dome. Numerous people on stage announced into the microphone "thank you Seattle" or alternatively, "we love you Seattle." It hurt.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/14/2009 @ 10:43am

by tacoma1 on 9/14/2009 @ 11:01am
Just wondering..........................why does everyone have all of these extraneous issues surrounding this project, and none of them seem to be about what would be the best TRANSIT solution? I thought this ultimately was a transit project.

I use a moniker because I don't want someone who disagrees with a viewpoint that I've expressed online to launch a brick through my window. That's all.

It's up to you to choose what type of stakeholder you are, or can be in the future, not me.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/14/2009 @ 11:17am
The extraneous issues are there because even though it's a transit project, it's necessary to do things in a holistic approach. It's not like this is the 1910s when it was "environment be damned"... or even the 60s when Uncle Sam sliced cities in two for the Interstate system. Even healthy cities still are scarred by the damage done 50 years ago.

Look at it this way. Train needs to get some elevation to make grade. Train needs to go thru big gulch. For roughly the same cost, we can either berm in the gulch or build a bridge. Train also needs to go over Pac Ave. We can depress Pac Ave and deal with utilities issues or we can use the bridge from the gulch to get enough elevation to leave the road intact... thus not having to screw around any more with drainage, the 96ers, etc.

So, yes the project is about what is best for transit... but it also has to be about what's best for the environment and city it's going through. I think with that with a bridge and not jockeying with Pac Ave, we're getting what's best for both.

by tacoma1 on 9/14/2009 @ 11:28am
As to the bridge over Pac Ave, it is my understanding that even if we get it, it won't be post and beam type construction. That bridges today are built with big ugly steel reinforced concrete columns and that the bridge decks are the same, but supported with big ugly girders. If that's true, a landscaped berm would be a lot nicer, more versatile and less expensive.

And for the one thousand'th time, I don't have a horse in this race other than the sooner we figure this out, the sooner I can use the Sounder five days a week, rather than just two or three times a week.

by Nick on 9/14/2009 @ 11:55am

"and your still mad?"

Actually yes, and I am mad for the very reason that I'm thinking of the big picture. Being happy ST compromised on the berm design is exactly the *opposite* of looking at the big picture.

To me, the big picture says we have a transit organization that has been consistent in poor execution, inaccurate budget projections, a lack of accountability, and in some cases a blatant disregard for the local communities it is supposed to serve and through which it is funded.

Now, project this out 5/10/50 years and think about the consequences of allowing things to continue as they are. A public organization like ST needs to reflect the will of the voters that fund it, and at this point that is not the case.

by ixia on 9/14/2009 @ 2:16pm
"As to the bridge over Pac Ave, it is my understanding that even if we get it, it won't be post and beam type construction. That bridges today are built with big ugly steel reinforced concrete columns and that the bridge decks are the same, but supported with big ugly girders. If that's true, a landscaped berm would be a lot nicer, more versatile and less expensive. "
You are unclear of the concept: The Pacific crossing can not be bermed and "nicely landscaped" because it is a crossing. So either bridge for the trains or bridge for the cars. It has to be one way or another unless you want to turn Pacific Ave into a cul-de-sac from both ends......

by NSHDscott on 9/14/2009 @ 2:22pm
Don't assume that berm will be landscaped, tacoma1. ST has stated they won't be responsible for its upkeep, and the City of Tacoma hasn't exactly volunteered to plant it and maintain it, either. I don't consider concrete columns particularly ugly or lovely, but I'd rather have them than a weedy hill, which is my completely reasonable fear.

by tacoma1 on 9/14/2009 @ 3:17pm
When I project this out 5/10/50 years out, what I see is that all of the future federal stimulus dollars gets shoveled up north to Seattle, or down south to Portland, because those communities are known Nationally to be transit friendly, and Tacoma isn't. And of course, our children and grandchildren will be sitting around complaining about why Seattle and Portland get all of the cool transit infrastructure, and Tacoma gets nothing.

And that is regardless of whether we get a bridge or berm, 'cause the reality is either will likely work just fine. The berm won't be as bad as every one says and the bridge won't be as nice as everyone says.

by Nick on 9/14/2009 @ 4:58pm
... or will our children and grandchildren be wondering why Seattle and Portland get all the cool transit infrastructure while Tacoma gets all the cookie-cutter, bottom-of-the-barrel, inexpensive options because nobody here cares enough to stand up for ourselves. God knows nobody else in this region is going to stand up for Tacoma other than Tacomans.

by ixia on 9/14/2009 @ 6:17pm
Future federal stimulus dollars....in 50 years? ya think?

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/14/2009 @ 6:21pm
If you strive for excellence, you'll be excellent.
If you accept mediocrity, you'll be mediocre.

What do you want Tacoma to be:
A Portland or a Detroit?

I say we need to stand up and fight for ourselves else we could end up like this. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, EVER.

by tacoma1 on 9/14/2009 @ 6:38pm
Yes, stimulus dollars spent today or 5 to 10 years on transit infrastructure will be still working in 50 years. For that matter, in 50 years, oil will be rather expensive and in short supply, so we better have an alternative form of transportation figured out by then.

Obviously Portland, I don't believe that ST is going to turn Tacoma into Detroit. That being said, it is obvious to anybody that looks at this corner of Tacoma, that Tacomans haven't cared about it for at least a century.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/14/2009 @ 6:45pm
It's not ST turning Tacoma into Detroit, it's the apathy and short-sightedness of both our Fearless Leaders and the local citizenry.

Which is where the berm comes into play. If we're too apathetic to demand something better than a pile of rocks and weeds, then what kind of a future lies ahead for the city? Detroit, Harlem NYC of the 1970s, Watts, the Projects in Chicago, New Orleans,, etc. All these places didn't decay overnight. It took generations of apathy to do it.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/14/2009 @ 6:52pm
I don't remember who said it but maybe Tacoma should look to be Brooklyn to the Seattle's Manhattan. Brooklyn has nothing to be ashamed of, she is what she is.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/14/2009 @ 7:02pm
Brooklyn has it's own downtown too.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/14/2009 @ 9:10pm
Tacoma, it is a lot like Brooklyn but you can understand what the people are saying.

by Erik on 9/16/2009 @ 6:52am
The berm is being pushed through by ST rather than P&B as they have concluded that there is little politcal resistance that could force ST to build something better.

by Nick on 9/16/2009 @ 11:24am

Your point also brings attention to the fact that this whole berm thing is an opportunity to set a precedent for how future proposals are approached.

If it becomes clear that Tacoma is increasingly raising its standards for what it will accept concerning the design of public projects, future projects will be planned accordingly. Every time we call out an unacceptable design and demand better, we are also increasing the cost of implementing that cheap design.

Provide enough resistance, and the cost/benefit analysis for future projects will find it is cheaper to propose a better design in the first place and have it quickly approved, rather than wrestle with the public for months over a cheaper design, thus negating any cost savings it might have yielded.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/16/2009 @ 1:01pm
Remember anything they can save by short changing Tacoma goes to fund the really important projects in Seattle. Tacoma is the equivalent of the Rainier Valley to ST. Tacoma will always get hind teat, if it gets any teat at all.

by tacoma1 on 9/16/2009 @ 1:16pm
If Tacoma is just like Rainier Valley, then I'd be happy to take that new light rail system that Rainier Valley just got from ST in a heartbeat. Wouldn't even have to think about it. I'd walk a mile to use it, or even let em put all of those teats right in front of my house. Teats are good!

by Nick on 9/16/2009 @ 1:33pm
Did this thread just turn into a "teaty" bar?

by Marty on 9/22/2009 @ 9:27am
Thanks for the calls.

This is good time to remind people that the views and options of Tacoma1 are not me.

Oh... and he/she is wrong.
Tacoma needs to do what is best for Tacoma.


by tacoma1 on 9/22/2009 @ 9:57am
Marty is correct about one thing. Me not him.

by Erik on 9/22/2009 @ 10:26am
Remember anything they can save by short changing Tacoma goes to fund the really important projects in Seattle.

Yes. But there is more to it than that.

In all of the transportation projects of ST, the underlying assumption is that Tacoma should be a "feeder" route to Seattle.

Thus, not only are the projects of ST being proposed here low quality and destructive, but they designed to feed people into Seattle where it is assumed that they will all choose to go in the future.

The unfortunate dynamic is creating a self fulfilling Prophecy.

by tacoma1 on 9/22/2009 @ 11:03am
The train does go both ways ya know. There isn't a sign at Freighthouse that says exit only. I have upon occasion ridden on the reverse commute out of T-Town to Seattle in the evening, and had plenty of room to stretch out. Currently there isn't much demand to bring commuters from Seattle to Tacoma, but the capacity certainly exists. It's the same rail line, for heavens sake. If Tacoma's elected leaders created a more friendly business environment, then we could have northern commuters head south for a job in T-Town. Then when they're here, some just may eat at our restaurants, some will look at our beautiful neighborhoods and parks, they just might stay a while, maybe buy a house and raise their family. Now that would be a self fulfilling prophecy.

I think you're barking at the wrong tree on this one. You are totally spot on regarding the Thea Foss hotel monkey business though. The hotel could bring us some jobs, and some tourists, and some money, and maybe a couple of them will stay awhile, eat at our restaurants, buy a house, raise a family.