TDI -- Reporter's Blog

Sep. 15, 2009 at 10:00am

The Luzon Building's Blank Canvas

Most people know the old Luzon Building downtown is in an unprecedented state of urban decay. But at least guerrilla artists have found a use for it. This morning I noticed these signs posted on the street closure barricades . . .

In July, I posted photographs of a tagger's work on the building.

Very interesting.

comments [24]  |  posted under Downtown, Luzon, Tacoma


by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/15/2009 @ 10:18am
Personally I wouldn't want to be that close to the Luzon. Sadly the Gintz group will probably want more money for the Luzon now that there have been some improvements.

by ixia on 9/15/2009 @ 10:35am
‘Improvements’ as in quite streets because they are closed down? Or original art work? It still bugs me they never bothered to take off the butterfly weed or tarp the roof.

by NineInchNachos on 9/15/2009 @ 10:52am
I just hope they find the individuals responsible. Those signs have made my day an unhappy one.

by Erik Hanberg on 9/15/2009 @ 10:54am
Personally, I just don't care about them.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/15/2009 @ 10:54am
I'm sure the closed street will be referred to by the Gintz Group as a pedestrian mall with rotating art exhibit. They refer to their condos. 27th Street Station, at 1052 S. 27th St. as "Overlooking Nalley Valley and Mt. Rainier, this area has one of the oldest and richest histories in town." That is some pretty slick marketing.

by NineInchNachos on 9/15/2009 @ 10:56am

by Erik on 9/15/2009 @ 11:25am
So true. The Luzon is dying because few people cared.

However, something is happening with the Luzon.

There is some kind of proposal going around.

This just in:

Dear Commissioners, City Staff, and other interested Parties:
Please be advised that the Landmarks Preservation Commission Architectural Review Committee (ARC) will conduct an emergency site visit at the Luzon Building, 1302 Pacific, at 4:00 pm, Wednesday September 16.

Please call 253-591-5220 with any questions.

You have received this email as an interested stakeholder in Landmarks Preservation Commission business. If you have received this message in error, or to be removed from this list, please contact If you are already on the regular mailing list, you will continue to receive paper copies of Landmarks Preservation Commission agendas unless specified otherwise. If you would like to be added to the regular mailing list, please send us your mailing address.

Reuben M McKnight, MUP
Historic Preservation Officer
City of Tacoma
Community and Economic Development Department (C.E.D.)
747 Market Street Room 1036
Tacoma, WA 98402

v: 253.591.5220
c: 253.255.4669
f: 253.591.2002

Arts and Heritage in Tacoma:
City of Tacoma main website:

"Prosperity on Purpose"

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/15/2009 @ 3:16pm
That is one of the more awesome things I've seen in T-Town lately.
The ones with hands look like blood. Nice, good point about the cause of blight and very timely. Actually, kinda freakishly timely. Inside job?

by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 9/16/2009 @ 10:21am
Update: I passed the Luzon on the Link this morning. The signs are gone.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/16/2009 @ 11:23am
That is too bad, TDI, they really spruced up the place.

by NineInchNachos on 9/16/2009 @ 1:00pm
it was rude and I'm glad they're gone.

imagine if people started labeling things as they are.
the potholes would be filled with apathy signage. and it would be a mental drag.

save yourselves! Live in denial!

by Mofo from the Hood on 9/16/2009 @ 1:49pm

Historical artwork signage.

Titled Item #1: "Apathy"

Titled Item #2: "Jackson was here"

Call 1-800-CU-Luzon

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/16/2009 @ 3:34pm
The Gintz Group, putting the "lose" in Luzon!!!

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/16/2009 @ 4:21pm
Sad. I liked 'em.

by NineInchNachos on 9/16/2009 @ 7:42pm
people who try and profit from this tragedy should write about it on the exit 133 tacoma entrepreneur thread...

capitalism is a sickness

by TDI-Reporters-Notebook on 9/16/2009 @ 8:04pm

One thing I noticed while taking the photos is that each sign had the word 'ARSNIC' on them in tiny print, lower right corner (you can barely make them out in the photos above).

A Google search of 'Tacoma' and 'Arsnic' revealed this . . .

Was this the work of friend-of-the-Index TO'T?

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 9/16/2009 @ 8:38pm
If I could only get one of those Carbon Footprint cod pieces, that would be cool.

by L.S.Erhardt on 9/17/2009 @ 7:27am
I neither confirm nor deny responsibility...
But, here is some food for thought... and a little something Crenshaw may like.

by fredo on 9/17/2009 @ 7:42am
I know we can't save every old building but there is something incredibly sad about the failure of our community to preserve notable structures like the Luzon.

Americans take expensive trips to Europe every year to witness the old cities that have been preserved then come home and tear down what little we have remaining. Had the authorities who condemned the Luzon been alive back in 1400 they probably would have allowed the demolition of the leaning tower of Piza.

Just thinking outside the box for a moment, wouldn't it be nice if Tacoma was a place that was unique and one which people cared about?

by KevinFreitas on 9/17/2009 @ 8:29am
@fredo: I think plenty of people care (see all the local blogs) but often these are the same people with a) money or b) power. We can only mobilize so much but have to elect city council members and a mayor who will truly set standards for what Tacoma is and should be and stick to them even if it means short term political risk.

by fredo on 9/17/2009 @ 8:40am
The people in Europe elect council members and mayors too, but they don't destroy their environment. The desire to preserve is part of their fabric not a convenient catch phrase.

by KevinFreitas on 9/17/2009 @ 10:35am
Precisely why we have to put our votes/money where our mouths/blog comments are.

by fredo on 9/17/2009 @ 7:45pm
I think the difference between preservation 'European style' and preservation 'American style' has more to do with cost than anything else. (This is just a hunch, I don't have any evidence to back it up). In the US the preservation of a building like the Luzon requires much engineering, extensive public involvement, commissioned studies, feasibility plans, and all work is going to be paid for at prevailing (i.e. union wages) wages. In Europe they would probably just get some guys together who were good with their hands and pay them a few euros a day plus all the sardines they could eat.

A secondary factor may be that we are a throw away society. Much of Europe is populated with people who've had a tough existence and who can readily see the utility in something that can be patched up. Nobody in the US under age 70 has ever had it tough so would find it hard to recognize utility in something that appears shopworn. Comments?

by NineInchNachos on 9/17/2009 @ 7:53pm
in Europe when they built things in 1400's they built the HELL out of it. I'm talking about building something over a period of 200 years.

I'm a big fan of brunelleschi's dome. I've climbed through that sucker twice in my life. It's awesome.


folks back then knew how to build a tourist attraction.


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