Tacoma Urbanist

Dec. 15, 2007 at 12:25am

NW Asian Weekly on Proposed Sperry Dock Expansion: SHIP OUT!

(Today, the Asian Weekly weighs in on the proposed Sperry Dock Expansion on Schuster Parkway with a different perspective.)

Ship out!

By Eleanor Lee
Northwest Asian Weekly

In 1885, Tacoma forcibly rounded up all its Chinese residents and promptly shipped them down to Portland. Ever wondered why Tacoma is the only major city on the West Coast with no Chinatown?

More than 100 years later, in 1993, the Tacoma City Council passed a resolution to make amends for this historical atrocity and to apologize for the former city leaders’ actions. A citizens committee, the Chinese Reconciliation Foundation, was formed. The foundation’s ultimate goal is to “promote peace and harmony in our multicultural community,” according to their mission statement....

Residents have long complained about the air and noise pollution from these vessels. The Tacoma News Tribune reported on Oct. 19 that Stadium Way residents have “gotten used to hosing soot from the vessels off their patios and closing their windows to block out the noise.”...

Lara Herrmann, a Stadium District resident and member of Walk the Waterfront, called the vessels “monster ships” that block the view from the Reconciliation Park. “You look to the left, and it’s beautiful Commencement Bay, and then you look to the right and it’s these glaring industrial ships,” Herrmann complained. “Those ships are just so ugly to look at,” she emphasized, mentioning the “plumes of black smoke and soot that comes raining down.”...

That the ships block the view from the Chinese Reconciliation Park is especially offensive to the activists of the Tacoma waterfront. Herrmann insisted, “You’re not going to see this happening in Seattle, you’re not going to see this on Alki Beach. They wouldn’t let a private citizen dock ships there.”

She added, “How hypocritical that Tacoma is so proud of the park but not doing anything to protect it. Our city made such a big deal and said it was such a good step for reconciliation. And to create this great park and then to pretend that it’s not impacted (by the ships) is ludicrous. If the city isn’t going to protect it, then the citizens need to stand up.”

For more information on Walk the Waterfront, e-mail walkthewaterfront@earthlink.net.

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