Morgan's Brain

Sep. 8, 2010 at 1:40pm

Conversations RE: Tacoma 2010 Lecture Series IS ON!

The Conversations RE: Tacoma 2010 Lecture Series is a three part lecture series who's goal is to provoke thought, to inform the public, and to stimulate conversation, as upcoming changes to the City's Comprehensive Plan provide the opportunity for community-wide discussion of the city's design future.

Lecture #1 - Density, Gentrification & Other Dirty Words: The Value of Vision
Thursday, September 23rd at 6:30pm
University of Washington Tacoma Carwein Auditorium

Does Tacoma have a vision, a story or a plan? When changes to Tacoma's urban fabric are proposed, how are decisions made? This panel discussion will explore how communities develop. Looking at Tacoma as well as other cities approach to urban redevelopment decisions and policies, we will discuss the differences between a plan, a narrative and a vision for a city. We will examine one Tacoma neighborhood in the midst of developing a direction toward achieving the goal of becoming a "Livable Community."

Rick Browning, PB-Parsons Brinckerhoff, Architect, Urban Designer
David Boe, Tacoma City Council, BOE Architects
Anne Wessells, University of Washington Tacoma Urban Studies Program
Moderator: Ryan Mello, Tacoma City Council, Cascade Land Conservancy

Get tickets online through Brown Paper Tickets.

comments [1]

May. 24, 2010 at 11:13pm



The TNT is reporting that Councilman David Boe () is INNOCENT of charges brought to him by local gadfly internet gonzo journalist, John Hathaway. Both have appeared in previous posts on FeedTacoma and one has even been spotted on several occasions at the festive weekly downtown event known as the "Chalk Offs." Speaking of Boe, an ethics panelist commented "a preponderance of evidence fails to establish a violation of the specific prohibited conduct contained in the Code of Ethics." And "Council member Boe’s actions were inconsistent with the intent of the code that City officials avoid conflicts of interest." Boe replied saying "Thanks for the black eye" - or something to that effect.

comments [7]

Feb. 5, 2010 at 1:00am

Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States Signs Songs For Babies in Tacoma

If you're like me and didn't get enough of the Presidents, then check out this announcement that was buried at the bottom of a recent Tacoma Public Library news release. I hope he takes requests!



Caspar Babypants (Chris Ballew of The Presidents of the United States) sings simple sing-along music for baby brains and parent ears. With titles like "Little Broken Truck" and "Bug in the Cuff," Caspar's songs are clever and catchy, no matter how old you are. Seating is limited and on a space available basis. No reservations required,

Wheelock Library
3722 North 26 Street
Thursday, February 11 @ 10:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.

Main Library, Olympic Room
1102 Tacoma Avenue South
Saturday, February 20 @ 10:30 a.m.

Moore Library
215 South 56 Street
Friday, February 26 @ 10:30 a.m.

comments [4]

Jan. 11, 2010 at 2:00am

Historic Tacoma Schools To Be Sold?

From the fine folks over at Historic Tacoma:

Historic Schools may be sold
As reported by Debbie Cafazzo in the 12/16/09 issues of The Tacoma News Tribune article "Tacoma schools eye land sales, swaps"                                  1924 Gray Middle School, 3109 S. 60th Street.  Located near Edison Elementary in southwest Tacoma, the site also contains a gym/shop and several unused buildings.  One is the old Barlow site, used as a high school from 1904-1910.  School board member Kurt Miller suggests the district seek ideas from the community on what it would like to see happen on the Gray site.  "Let's see what their ideas are and if they fit with what the district can do and afford.  To see photos of Gray & Barlow, click here.               

1925 Gault Middle School, 1115 E. Division Lane.  Students from Gault now attend First Creek Middle School.  Metro Parks' Eastside Community Pool is still open on the site, but the school building is closed.  The site is 10.6 acres, including athletic fields, and the building  measures nearly 110,000 square feet.   
     All three buildings were part of an historic resource inventory completed this winter by Kingstree Studios under contract to Tacoma Public Schools.  The next phase of the project is to nominate the most significant schools to the Tacoma Register of Historic Places.  School Board members and Superintendent Jarvis appear committed to preserving their schools and funded the inventory and research necessary for nomination.                     
     But now is the time to speak up about possible adaptive re-use of these schools.  Does anyone have suggestions for these buildings, which may be surplused in the not too distant future?  

Hmmm... I wonder if the McMenamin Brothers are looking for some more projects?

comments [11]

Dec. 28, 2009 at 2:00am

Year-End Review: 2009 Tacoma Scorecard

December is time for reflecting on the previous 12 months - and making lists. As I look back on the year the economy imploded, I saw much to reflect on. And so here's my list. It was a doozy of a year - one I can't wait to put to bed.

Where there lessons learned? I think so. Unfortunately, I have the feeling some of the lessons weren't new. For example, in tearing down the historic Luzon building, I thought Tacoma had learned from the failures of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, that Urban Renewal was failed policy and that it results in ever expanding surface level parking lots at the cost of losing a little grit and a lot of architectural heritage. The Luzon wasn't just an old building, it was part of Tacoma's soul. Tacoma is less with the Luzon gone.

On losing Russell: I was amazed to see the city working with state reps to put together in a short amount of time an incredible incentive package to try and keep Russell. Of course, it was hard to compete with the fire sale that was the WaMu Tower in Seattle, but it did make me pause to wonder if that sense of urgency city officials created in trying to keep Russell here is lost and if it could be applied to creating an atmosphere to keep other companies from leaving while nurturing and growing new home-grown companies.

And don't get me going about the Old Town Dock! What other city would keep a treasured icon hostage behind a fence?! I find the extended closure of the dock offensive on so many levels but mostly because it screams "TACOMA: CLOSED" Is that how we want to feel!? Is that how we want the rest of the world to view us!?

In no particular order, here is my scorecard list for the year that was 2009. Scoring is based on a plus/minus 100 point scale. I'm sure I'm missing some stuff, so feel free to add your own to the list.

  • Losing Russell: -100 points
  • Tearing down the Luzon: -60 points
  • Sound Transit/WSDOT/Amtrak ripping through Tacoma's downtown: -100
  • Letting the Kalakala go: -10
  • Old Town Dock STILL Closed (2 years now?): -40
  • Wintergrass moving to Bellevue (BELLEVUE!?): -20
  • Getting the Murray Morgan Bridge Back (YES!): +100
Total score: -230

I look forward to doing what I can to improve Tacoma's score for 2010. Seriously, it would be hard to do worse than this year! At minimum, I hope Tacoma can end 2010 in positive territory.

comments [51]

Dec. 22, 2009 at 3:17pm

McMenamins Sets Tacoma Elks Lodge Opening Date: St. Patrick’s Day, 2012

This was news to me: The Washington Beer Blog is reporting that the Daily Journal of Commerce is reporting that McMenamins is reporting an opening date for Tacoma Elks Lodge Temple: St. Patrick’s Day, 2012. Apparently, it's a McMenamins to open on that sacred day. I await with mug in hand!

comments [51]

Dec. 12, 2009 at 2:00am

Make No Little Plans: Luzon Memorial Art Exhibit to Benefit Historic Tacoma Opening December's 3rd Thursday Artwalk

"Make No Little Plans" -- Luzon Memorial Show
Thursday, December 17th, 5 pm to 9 pm
Sunday, December 20th, noon to 5 pm
Open by appointment after the 20th; show closes Jan 10th. 
Logical Diagram Gallery, 301 Puyallup Ave, Tacoma
Long-time HT member and ceramic artist Claudia Riedener is curating an art show and exhibition commemorating the Luzon Building with proceeds going to Historic Tacoma.  For additional information, contact Claudia at 253-274-0655 or  We hope to see you there!

"Burnham & Root Uprooted" mixed media by Lynn DiNino
photography by Tom Holt Photography

comments [12]

Dec. 1, 2009 at 1:22pm

The Vote on the Murray Morgan Bridge is Tonight!

The Tacoma City Council is expected to vote tonight on the turn-back agreement to TAKE THE BRIDGE BACK FROM THE STATE. The last I heard, Talbert and Ladenberg were holding out their support. We need to let the council know WE WANT THE BRIDGE BACK NOW! Contact the city council here:


comments [12]

Nov. 21, 2009 at 1:00am

Tacoma/Pierce County Fall Wine Tour - This Weekend!

From the late news department: the Tacoma/Pierce County Fall Wine Tour runs this weekend! The tour features Tacoma's only *legal* winery ;) - Pont21 (Coates). Go early though- Coates closes earlier than the posted hours below. Pont21 features labels that are designed and hand letter-pressed by Lance Kagey, Beautiful Angle fame!

Here's the info posted by Stina's Cellars - try their new red blend - yummy!
Pre-Holiday Wine Tasting at five Pierce County Wineries. For $15.00 you receive a wine glass and admission to Coates Winery, Spyder Lake Winery, Stina's Cellars, Stringtown Cellars and Vino Aquino for wine tasting. Hours are Saturday 12:00 - 7:00 and Sunday 12:00 - 6:00.
Come and shop early for that perfect Thanksgiving wine or an early Christmas present. Visit all five wineries and be entered for a chance to win a wine themed gift basket.


comments [0]

Nov. 15, 2009 at 1:00am

NEWS FLASH: City Manager Announces Next Streetcar Line Will Be MLK

At the Chamber sponsored Transportation in Tacoma for the 21st Century summit yesterday, the City Manager announced that the next streetcar line will most likely be on MLK. He said the city is pursuing that route because of an LID underway in that area - and because of the muscle power of Multicare at one end of Hilltop and the Franciscans at the other end. He also said it might be built out of sequence with a planned extension of the downtown LINK streetcar up Stadium Way.

MLK? Not connected to a main route?

Based on my own conversations, I've heard much support on 6th Ave for the streetcars. I wonder if the city has worked with property owners in that area for doing an LID. I also hope that other streetcar designs will be considered for Tacoma, besides the modern Eastern European design currently so prevalent. Something that speaks a little more to Tacoma's heritage and character would be ideal. New Orleans and may other cities, for example, designed their own.

What do you think?

comments [34]

Nov. 1, 2009 at 1:00am

"Salish Sea" Heads For Federal Approval

The Capitol Record reports, "The Washington State Board on Geographic Names today approved "Salish Sea" as the name for the waterways including Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Georgia Strait."

As long as we're at it, why not rename other landmarks back to their traditional names?

Anyone up for joining a campaign to change the name of Mt Rainier to Mt Tacoma? The forms have been submitted, but some legwork still needs to be done.

comments [6]

Oct. 30, 2009 at 8:20pm

The Villa Caffe Coming Soon to Downtown

Driving by the colorful Villaggio Apartments today, I noticed the for lease sign had been removed from the window and in it's place a tan colored liquor license application posting for The Villa Caffe. A Google search revealed nothing. A search on the Washington State Liquor Board website reveals that the applicant is one Robyn Murphy. If anyone knows more, chime in!

comments [35]

Oct. 30, 2009 at 2:08pm

News from Historic Tacoma: Loss of the 1890 Luzon Building

This just came in my "in" box and wanted to share it:


Along with many in the community, we are still reeling from and mourning the loss of the iconic Luzon Building by Chicago architects, Burnham & Root.  On the morning of the demolition we overheard people, some of whom were happy to see the building go, marvel over its thick walls, interior details and stout construction... "they don't build them like that anymore."  Indeed.

            Fault certainly lies with the three previous owners of the building who for the last 20 years failed to take basic steps to protect their investment and put a roof on and secure the building.  But it is the City of Tacoma that did the deed.  We are disappointed by and question the process that resulted in demolition. 

·         Was the building actually in imminent danger of collapse? Did the city disregard information that could have changed the city's assessment of the building?

·         Prior to committing to action, did the City explore all alternatives to demolition that might alleviate life safety risks?

·         Was there adequate time allowed for Council to learn constituents' concerns before learning of the demolition order, time that would have allowed for exploration of demolition alternatives and Council engagement at an earlier date?

·         Why was shoring not chosen as the preferred alternative if the cost was less than for demolition and it would allow preservation of the building?  Was this choice properly the City Manager's or Building Official's decision to make?

Picking Up the Pieces -
            We hope to find a method to constructively discuss these questions and identify how the community can be more proactive about preservation and avoid sometimes futile, last minute efforts.

            At Historic Tacoma's urging, the City salvaged building artifacts both before and after demolition.  The artifacts are in storage and their disposition is currently being negotiated between the City and the building owner.  Historic Tacoma wants these items to remain in Tacoma, so we'll keep you posted as we learn more.

            A group of artists will host a show and sale of art works commemorating the Luzon in late December.  The exhibition will be curated by Historic Tacoma member and ceramic artist Claudia Riedener.  50% of sale proceeds will be donated to Historic Tacoma.  The show and sale will be open December 16th and 20th with other dates to be determined.  We'll provide more details later this fall.

comments [4]

Oct. 30, 2009 at 1:00am

It's mochi time! The Annual Tacoma Japanese Buddhist Temple Fall Food & Crafts Bazaar Sunday Nov 1, 11am-4pm


The annual Tacoma Japanese Buddhist Temple Fall Food & Crafts Bazaar is taking place this Sunday November 1st from 11am-4pm at 1717 South Fawcett.

The Tacoma Buddhist Temple will celebrate the bounty of autumn with special Japanese foods, crafts & Japanese antiques, baked goodies and sale of sumi-e paintings.

Stop by this Sunday if you want some good food - and to try some mochi treats - while helping support what was once a large downtown community.

Tacoma Buddhist Temple Web Page

comments [2]

Oct. 20, 2009 at 1:00am

Build Community. Drink Beer. Thursday Oct 22nd @ Frontier Lounge

Last month, in the first installment of the RE: Tacoma series, we learned about Tacoma's secret Illuminati group and how they went about creating the change we all take for granted today: cleaning up Thea Foss, redeveloping the Thea Foss, bringing a UW branch campus to Tacoma and then putting it downtown, renovating the theater district. Mistakes were made though - like tearing down half of downtown which included countless historic buildings. But we've learned from past mistakes. Right?

Oh. Right.

Anyway, In this month's episode we talk community with author and urban preacher, Eric O. Jacobsen, and Jim Diers, who is the son of a Hilltop neighborhood activist and used to head up the Department of Neighborhoods for the city of Seattle. Greg Nichols fired him when he got elected, but Jim's not bitter. Much.

I had the pleasure of taking Jim's Community Development course he developed at UW last year and can say that he is a thoughtful and thought-provoking lecturer. I haven't had the pleasure of taking in one of Eric's sermons, but I'm looking forward to it.

My hope for the evening is that enough ideas get bounced around to inspire people to get involved with making their community a more vibrant place. Tacoma's neighborhood council's are hurting for people to get involved and redefine Tacoma future.

The evening is sure to be fun! And it may sell out - so get your tickets early!


The Neighborhood: Creating Vibrant Communities

IT'S OUR CITY -- Redefine it, Reinvent it.

For the past 50 years America has been designing public spaces around the needs of automobiles. This deference to the car has significantly impacted our culture and our day-to-day life, often in negative ways. The auto-centered model is beginning to change how well-designed neighborhoods provide key ingredients for healthy communities. The speakers will discuss examples of vibrant places which are being planned, built and programmed by the residents themselves.

Eric O. Jacobsen, Urbanist
Jim Diers, Lecturer, University of Washington

When: Thursday, October 22, 2009 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Where: The New Frontier Lounge 301 E. 25th Street, Tacoma , WA 98421
FEE: Event Registration Advanced Online Registration (ends 10/20/09) $7.50 Student with valid ID (register to secure admission) Complimentary Tickets at Door as available $10.00 Additional Information
RSVP Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thanks to all of our sponsors:
The Harris Architectural Trust (THAT)
AIA Southwest Washington
City Club of Tacoma
Emerging Leaders Group
The Frontier Lounge
Washington State History Museum
Historic Tacoma
Reprographics Northwest
The City of Tacoma
University of Washington , Tacoma for additional information for questions & comments

comments [0]

Oct. 11, 2009 at 1:00am

Neighborhood Improvement Projects Coming Soon to a Location Near You!

Earlier this year, applications were sought out from neighborhood groups and residents for small neighborhood improvement projects. The city calls them Innovative Grants. While the amount of actual innovation employed can be debated, the total dollar amount requested far exceeded the city's allotted budget. This can be seen as a good sign: residents are interested in getting involved in improving their neighborhoods.

Over the years, I have been a strong advocate for the city to beef up this program. Funding for it has remained stagnant since it was created some 16 years ago. If the City of Tacoma had a stronger neighborhoods program in place, it could more easily attract the type of residents that today's companies seem to desire. Instead, companies are leaving Tacoma to seek them out elsewhere. A few years ago, I did a comparison of neighborhood grant programs. Seattle - to pick a random city - spent about $5 per resident on neighborhood grants. Tacoma? Not even a buck: about .75 cents. Do the results show? I think so. You can go to any neighborhood in Seattle and be amazed at community gardens, pocket parks, and art. The iconic Fremont Troll exists because of the neighborhood grant program. By the way, Seattle now has over 70 community gardens in its program. Tacoma? About 6. The critical piece that seems to be lost on Tacoma's leaders, is that in order to create residents that love their neighborhoods, you need to get them invested and involved. Neighborhood improvement grant programs do both.

Here is the list of 2009 City of Tacoma Innovative grant projects as approved by the neighborhood councils and then the city council:

Central Neighborhood Council

South "M" Street Lighting Project___________________________________________$7,425
Replace lights and light globes on South "M" Street.
South 9th and Ainsworth Speed Hump______________________________________$6,000
Install speed hump in the vicinity of South 9th and Ainsworth.
Heidelberg Skatepark Renovations_________________________________________$4,200
Renovate and add new features such as granite rails and new ramps to the existing skate park.
Blight Removal Delong Lake Bio-swale ______________________________________ $566
Purchase items for a neighborhood cleanup that would remove blighted conditions in the Delong Lake neighborhood adjacent to the bio-swale.


Eastside Neighborhood Council

Speed Hump East "B" Street ______________________________________________$6,500
Install one speed hump in the 6800 block of East "B" Street to reduce speeds in this residential neighborhood.
Street Lights, East 60th Area ______________________________________________$7,200
Install three streetlights in the neighborhood and/or vicinity of East 60th between Portland Avenue and "M" Street to promote safety and discourage criminal activities.
Replace Hand Rail on Hill Climb, East 34th Street____________________________$5,000
Replace a deteriorating steel hand railing on the hill climb stairs located in the rights-of-way near East 34th and "N" streets.

New Tacoma Neighborhood Council

Triangle Landscaping (7th & Yakima) _____________________ $5,900
Landscape and transform the triangle at the intersection of South 7th and "I"
streets with low maintenance, low water consumption plants to create a focal
point in the neighborhood.
Outdoor Covered Area, Tacoma Ave. Homeless Shelter______ $7,500
Install an outdoor covered area that will improve the appearance of the
exterior of the Tacoma Avenue shelter while also providing an area that is
protected from the elements where shelter guests can enjoy a meal.
Dome District Banner Brackets____________________________ $3,300
Purchase and install banner brackets at various locations in the Dome.
MLK Proud To Be American Banner Brackets_______________ $3,300
Purchase and install banner brackets in various locations in the MLK Business

Northeast Tacoma Neighborhood Council

Safe Traffic Circle Planting________________________________ $7,000
Remove overgrown plants that block the view of traffic and replace with
lower, yet attractive and low-maintenance plants to improve motorist safety
while negotiating the traffic circle at Norpoint Way NE and 49th Ave. N.E.
NET Neighbors and Safe Street Signage_ ___________________ $1,500
Produce and install six signs at various locations in the neighborhood to
demonstrate the community's unity against criminal activities and to deter
potential criminals.
Metal-Arch Directional Sign #8____________________________ $5,500
Produce and install directional/wayfinding signage as a continuation of
Phase 8 of previous efforts to help visitors and residents navigate their way to
locations and landmarks in the area.
NET Neighbors Lighting___________________________________ $6,000
Install lighting in areas that currently do not have adequate lighting to
reduce and deter criminal activities.

North End Neighborhood Council

Proctor District Tree Surrounds____________________________ $1,778
Refurbish the iron tree surrounds around street trees in the Proctor Business
District (Proctor from North 24th to 30th streets).
Head of Buckley Creek Restoration
(North 16th & Junett- Buckley Gulch) ________________________ $1,505
Transform and improve safety in this open space by improving the
deteriorating railing along the creek and by installing landscaping rocks and
planting materials.
Historic Pedestrian Lighting_______________________________ $7,354
Install historic lighting fixtures to improve security in the 3000 block of
North 13th Street.
Old Town Beautification Signage (Tacoma Ave./McCarver)__ $7,500
Two "Welcome to Old Town" signs will be produced and installed as gateway
signage to help remove blighted conditions and make improvements in the
Old Town Business District.
Puget Creek Kiosk/Boardwalk_____________________________ $7,500
Install a kiosk on the boardwalk along the Puget Creek watershed to educate
visitors about urban streams and the importance of protecting wetlands and
area habitats.
Pruning Historic Trees in North Slope
(Division/Sprague/North "M")______________________________ $3,720
($3,720 carried over from previous years)
Improve the health of street trees in the neighborhood and remove trees
damaged by storms and diseases.
Stump Removal in North Slope
(North "I", 4th & 5th vicinity)______________________________ $4,664
($4,664 carried over from previous years)
Improve the streetscape by grinding and removing tree stumps in the rights-of-
way. New trees will be planted to replace stumps that are removed.

South End Neighborhood Council

Project Cruise Control_____________________________________ $2,700
Install a speed hump in the vicinity of Tacoma Avenue South between 88th
and 91st streets to reduce vehicle speeds and improve safety in the area.
Project Peaceful-Fern Hill Alliance, Safe Streets_____________ $1,750
Produce five safety notification signs in cooperation with Safe Streets to warn
and discourage would-be criminals.
South 37th Speed Bump, Lincoln Safe Streets_ _____________ $6,500
Install a speed hump in the 1200 block of 37th Street in the Jenny Reed area
to reduce traffic speed to make it safer for children to cross the street and
reduce the flow of cars trying to avoid the traffic light on South 38th and
South M streets.
Fallen Rider's Outdoor Memorial (FROM)__________________ $5,112
Remove and replace broken and hazardous sidewalk around Triangle Park
at South 46th at Thompson and Yakima where the "Fallen Rider's Outdoor
Memorial" is located.

South Tacoma Neighborhood Council

Neighborhood Signage____________________________________ $3,000
Create a neighborhood gateway for neighborhood pride and identity by
installing four signs in the Manitou area.
Garden for Hope__________________________________________ $4,000
Improve handicap accessibility to the Manitou Community Center
community garden by installing a new pathway and constructing raised bed
gardens so the disabled can participate.
South Tacoma Way Greenway Demonstration Project______ $7,000
Install new handicap-accessible benches as part of the Greenway
Demonstration project on Tacoma Water property along the Water Ditch
Lights to Take A Bite Out of Crime_________________________ $5,000
Purchase dusk-to-dawn lights for distribution to low- to moderate-income
residents to provide them with better lighting for their properties that will
help deter crime.
South 45th and Lawrence Roundabout_ ___________________ $1,000
Enhance and beautify the roundabout at South 45th and Lawrence with
concrete, rock design, and plants.

West End Neighborhood Council

Barrier Free West End, Phase I_____________________________ $7,500
Identify areas in the West End where barriers to those with disabilities can be
removed and barrier-free accommodations can be installed.
Barrier Free West End, Phase II_ ___________________________ $7,500
Identify areas in the West End where barriers to those with disabilities can be
removed and barrier-free accommodations can be installed.
Barrier Free West End, Phase III ___________________________ $7,500
($2,500 carried over from previous years)
Identify areas in the West End where barriers to those with disabilities can be
removed and barrier-free accommodations can be installed.

comments [38]

Sep. 21, 2009 at 6:36am

Did the City of Tacoma Draw the Wrong Conclusion on the Luzon?

Much hand wringing has been done over the Luzon in recent weeks. There are some who believe that the effort to have the building torn down is the work of a downtown stakeholder with some inside help at the city. I certainly hope this is not the case. There are also some who believe the city is taking the easy way out for the "Luzon solution." While I love a good conspiracy theory, the fact of the matter is that the city is moving forward on tearing down a very unique historic building. The TNT's recent column by Peter Callaghan had a great quote from Michael Sullivan, a historic preservation consultant, "If the Smithsonian collected buildings, this would be one of them." Not only is the Luzon a unique building in the context of the development of the modern US skyline, but how many other buildings are there in Tacoma that are six stories tall, let alone over two stories? Look around Tacoma - there aren't too many!

The citizens of Tacoma should have an issue with the way the city is moving forward with the demolition of the Luzon. The study conducted in July by Swenson Say Fag�t makes no mention of the building being on the verge of collapse. Yes, it is in sad shape, but the study recommends what those in the community have been urging city leaders to do:

We recommend that the north exterior wall of the building be braced against collapse as soon as possible. The bracing of this wall should be accomplished from the exterior of the building, in a manner as to limit the need to access the interior of the building.

Read the study and decide for yourself.

Clearly, a plan for rehabilitating will take time. The building has been unmaintained for generations and can not be undone overnight - especially in the new economy. But Tacoma leaders should not throw in the towel and give up hope. Instead, it needs to act more aggressively to rehabilitate the Luzon AND look at city policies which allow owners to not maintain their property. The Luzon should not have been allowed to get to the state it currently is in.


comments [51]

Sep. 14, 2009 at 6:45am

North End Neighborhood Council Hosts Candidates Forum TONIGHT at UPS!

You are invited to attend the North End Neighborhood Council 2009

Candidates Forum.

The Forum is being hosted by the University of Puget Sound in their
Trimble Hall Forum. Trimble Hall is located on the west side of N.
Lawrence (at N. 14th) across from Wheelock Student Center. The Forum
begins at 6PM.

Candidates invited include Mayor of Tacoma, City Council #2 and #6,
Tacoma School District, and Pierce County Auditor.

The format for the forum is as follows:

1. Candidates will be called upon in groups, grouped by the office

2. Moderator will pick the first candidate to start, then rotate
through in turn

3. Candidates will have 1 minute to give an opening statement.

4. Maximum response to each question will be 1 minute.

5. A 1 minute closing statement will be at the option of the

6. Time will be kept and enforced.

Questions will be selected by the Moderator (I am not the Moderator)
from those submitted by NENC Board and Council Members. Questions may also be asked from those submitted by those attending the Forum.

Substitutes will not be allowed to answer questions for an absent
Candidate. Absent Candidates can have a statement no longer than 1
minute read by a substitute.

Literature may be distributed before and after the Forum. An area
will be designated for campaign literature. Candidates are responsible
for removing all surplus literature and signs by the end of the Forum.

Finally, parking may be available in the Wheelock Student Center
parking lot.

I hope you will be able to attend. This is a unique opportunity to
hear your candidates answer questions in real-time.


Jonathan Phillips

Chair, North End Neighborhood Council

PS. Neither the North End Neighborhood Council nor the University of
Puget Sound endorse any candidate for election or the questions,
answers, or statements made at the Forum.


Full disclosure: I have been honored with the title of "Keeper of the Time" for this event - see you there!


comments [2]

Sep. 10, 2009 at 11:29am

City of Tacoma Moves Forward on Selling Surplus Substation Properties

Following up on this post:

The City of Tacoma has just posted a request for bids on three former substation sites located at 1801 N. Orchard Street, 1009 South 35th Street, and 3404 South 45th Street, Tacoma, Washington.

Here's the text of the email that went out this morning:


The City of Tacoma invites you to submit a bid or proposal response to a recently issued solicitation.


Request for Bids

Surplus Real Property Sale - Warner Substation Site, Lincoln Park Substation Site and Downing Substation Site

Specification Nos. PT09-0582F, PT09-0583F & PT09-0584F

Project Scope: The City of Tacoma Real Property Services is seeking bids from persons or parties interested in purchasing the properties located at 1801 N. Orchard Street, 1009 South 35th Street, and 3404 South 45th Street, Tacoma, Washington.

To view and download an electronic copy of the complete bid solicitation document, visit the City of Tacoma Purchasing website at and click on “Contracting Opportunities”.

You must register as a bid holder to be notified of any amendments or updates to the original published bid solicitation document

Click here to fill out a vendor questionnaire [link broken] and provide the City of Tacoma a better understanding of the needs of our vend or community.  Please complete and return to whether or not you intend to submit a bid/proposal.


comments [7]

Sep. 9, 2009 at 9:15am

Russell Moving To Seattle. Now What?

The TNT is reporting that Russell sent out an email to employees today announcing plans to move to Seattle. I don't think this is a big surprise. The question now is... what? What will happen to their building and what impact will it have on downtown?

comments [53]

Sep. 5, 2009 at 1:00am

The Wood Nightclub and Rock & Roll Eatery (Formerly The Firwood Rock Lounge) Coming to Downtown Tacoma

The 7th-9th Street section of Pacific seems to be getting hotter and hotter!

I'm not much of a hipster like others here on the Feed, and this is probably old news - but we're desperate for news here on the Feed! The Firwood Rock Lounge is moving into the old Drake's building at 734 Pacific Ave! Their myspace page refers to the Drake's location as the "Multi-Level Nightclub - The Wood." - check out the tour of the Drake's building video.

There is still no word on when - or if - that Coconut place up the street is opening. It's been so long, that I can't even remember what it's called.

Seattle has Pioneer Square. Vancouver has the Gaslamp Quarter. I'm sure Portland has something. The question is: what will Tacoma call it's burgeoning new little hipster area?

comments [3]

Sep. 2, 2009 at 1:00am

Conversations RE:Tacoma Lecture Series Tickets Now Available!

I am happy to be associated with some wonderful civic-minded people who have rallied together to create a conversation series on a topic near and dear to our hearts: Tacoma.

The theme for the series this year is "The City, The Neighborhood, The Building" with each of the three conversations zooming in from the wide to a close up view of what makes our city tick - or not tick as the case may be.

The brain trust assembled for this grass-roots organized event is truly staggering!

In a couple weeks, on September 17th, the discussion will be about Urban Tacoma's Recent Past and will feature David Allen, Developer; Bruno Freschi, Architect; Michael Sullivan, Historian; Moderator, David Nicandri, Director, Washington State History Museum.

On October 22nd, Eric O. Jacobsen, Urbanist (not to be confused with Erik, FeedTacoma's Urbanist!) and Jim Diers, Lecturer, University of Washington will talk about Creating Vibrant Communities. I went through Jim's Community Development course last Fall/Winter and am  looking forward to his always enthusiastic and insightful presentation.

Then, on November 12th, we get a behind the scenes perspective on what it took to create the Center for Urban Waters with Jim Parvey, PE, LEED AP; Dan Seng, AIA LEED AP, CDT; Tom Fitzsimmons, COO; Clare Petrich President of the Port of Tacoma Commission, Jim Goldman, LEED AP; Moderator J.J. McCament, Executive Director, Urban Waters Board.

A lot of people put a lot of hours into organizing this series - an I am so thankful they did. Tacoma needs more real world discussions like this! (not that there's anything wrong with the Feed!)

Besides, how often do you see lecture series take place at a hip lounge like the New Frontier?!

For more details and to locate tickets, visit Conversations RE: Tacoma.

comments [6]

Aug. 31, 2009 at 6:31am

Olympia Shows Tacoma Up

There's an article in today's Olympian (via the TNT) about the city of Olympia trying to partner with Artspace - a nonprofit development organization focused on revitalizing cities through affordable artist housing. The city of Tacoma met with this group a number of years ago, but the city did not follow though. I met with Artspace earlier this year to ask what happened and they said the city did not seem interested in their services offered. Now it seems Olympia may glide  past Tacoma in having a fully revitalized downtown and waterfront. Here's an excert from the article.

Here's an idea: considering Catapult defaulted long ago on redeveloping the vast parking lot across from city hall, maybe it's time city leaders rethink using that as a site for Artspace.

OLYMPIA – Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization that builds affordable housing for artists, is considering developing a project in Olympia and will pay a formal visit next month. And city officials are rolling out the red carpet, organizing a night of entertainment and dialogue for Sept. 16 at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts.

City Community Services Manager Steve Friddle said city is wooing Artspace because it wants to develop more housing units downtown. The city’s current comprehensive plan, which dates to 1994, recommended 1,500 new market-rate units by 2010, but few have been built.

“On top of that, there’s a need for affordable housing,” Friddle said. “One component of that affordable housing is a group of artists. This particular group gets priced out.”

Artspace has developed 24 projects in 12 states, Vandenbrink said. Most of those are live/work spaces, although a handful are commercial buildings. The organization rehabilitates old buildings or builds new ones that typically include artists’ work and living space in the same unit. After building the projects, Artspace continues to own them and rent spaces to artists. Artspace selects tenants based on income and ability to show they have done artistic work, not based on the quality of the work, Vandenbrink said.

comments [6]

Aug. 26, 2009 at 6:47am

The City of Tacoma Wants to Know What You Think of The Brewery District

The City of Tacoma is currently working on a feasibility study to encourage revitalization and re-use of the Brewery District - a downtown neighborhood just to the south of the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

We would like to know how you use the Brewery District and what ideas you have for its future. Please click on the following link to complete this online survey

The survey should take about 5-10 minutes to complete and asks questions related to development of city-owned land, historic preservation, the creative arts, and connectivity. For more background information and maps, please go to   

The City of Tacoma will use this information to move forward with a vision and proposals for future development of that area that best fits the community's needs.

Surveys will be collected until September 30, 2009.

Please share this survey with others who may be interested.

Questions? Comments? Problems? Contact Amy McBride at

comments [6]

Aug. 18, 2009 at 9:20pm


2009 is shaping up to be a very interesting year in Tacoma political elections: Ladenburg, Talbert, and (Mike) Lonergan are all term limited out. Julie Anderson may leave if she wins the Pierce County Auditor spot. Marilyn Strickland is running for mayor, which could leave her spot open.

This leaves possibly only Fey, Manthou, and Walker as the only council members staying on (Fey is running as an incumbent).


Tacoma City Mayor
Jim Merritt -
Marilyn Strickland -

Tacoma City Council District 2 (North End & North East)
Jake Fey (incumbent)

Tacoma City Council District 4 (East Side)
Marty Campbell -
Roxanne Murphy -
Susanne Marten -

Tacoma City Council District 5 (South End)
Rebecca Summers-Kirby -
Joe Lonergan -
John Miles

Tacoma City Council Position 8 (at-large)
Kevin Rojecki -
Victoria Woodards -

Tacoma School District Board
Chris Van Vechten -
Deb Blakeslee
Catherine Ushka-Hall -

Send election tips and announcements to: or post below!

Updated 6/23/2009

Thanks to RR of C.L.A.W. for supplying the OFFICIAL FEED>>TACOMA 2009 ELECTION logo.

comments [167]

Aug. 15, 2009 at 8:06am

Discuss: No More Free Parking Downtown?

A plan to manage the city's on street parking has been winding it's way through the city for the last several years and is now popping out. The TNT quotes city manager Eric Anderson as saying the pay stations would be installed "incrementally, based on marked demand." The estimated rate being bounced around is $1 per hour.

Personally, I am all for meters in some areas of downtown. I first became aware of the downside of the current system of hour limits (in most areas) several years ago when I stopped in a store to do some shopping and then wanted to grab a bite at the restaurant downtown - a difficult thing to do in less than an hour. Clearly, there needs to be a better parking solution to the current system. However, given today's economic climate, I'm not sure how wise the timing is for the council to spend $2.5 million to install parking meters when there are more pressing concerns - like shoring up the Luzon Building.

That's my opinion. What does the peanut gallery think?

comments [16]

Jul. 19, 2009 at 1:00am

Downtown Development Update - July 2009

Several weeks back I took a quick little tour through downtown (the expanded definition of downtown) to see how some projects were going. It was reassuring to see these glimmers of hope moving forward for Tacoma.

Located above Tacoma Ave at 13th, an affordable housing project by the Catholic Community Services Archdiocesan Housing Authority (too bad they couldn't build on the corner where the trashy "Grocery/Deli" is):

Next up is the much anticipated Metropolitan Development mixed-use project at 25th & Yakima Avenue - the one where a grocery store is being talked about. It's amazing to see a hill transformed into a hole! Complete with natural springs! It looks like they had to shore up parts of the retaining wall because of underground springs in the area. They are fast-tracking this project and have gotten the foundation in since these photos were taken.

If you know me, you know I like old buildings. Here's one of the older commercial buildings on Tacoma Avenue. This is where Labor Ready (now True Blue) started out. And if you saw what it looked like before, you can REALLY appreciate what it looks like now. Unfortunately, the economy has made new and old buildings difficult to lease. Huge kudo's to Fred Roberson for being a pioneer in investing and making Tacoma's older downtown buildings attractive again.

comments [1]

Jul. 14, 2009 at 3:20pm

TPU To Move Forward On Selling Surplus Properties

To follow up on turning surplus public properties into community gardens and pocket parks - as seen here.

Representatives from Tacoma Public Utilities told the North End Neighborhood Council last night they plan to move forward in selling 3 properties located in Tacoma's South End. There was a meeting scheduled for today between TPU and the City of Tacoma to discuss the matter in more detail.

At the request of neighborhood councils, TPU surplus properties in West and North Tacoma have been taken off the table for possible sales, at least for now.

comments [0]

Jun. 27, 2009 at 1:00am

Picture Tacoma: The Artists' Postcard Project Grand Opening Party This Sunday June 28th 4-8pm

The The Artists' Postcard Project is the latest from the mind of Tacoma artist, Lynn DiNino. You may know Lynn from such projects as Chaos Into Order, The Red Door Project, 100th Monkey Parties, Suitcase Sightings, and Figure Head Roll. She's been called Tacoma's Matriarch of the Arts and has more creativity in her pinky fingernail than I do my entire body.

Here's the invite to the release party:

You are invited to the postcard coming-out party
Sunday, June 28th from 4 - 8 pm
Grand Impromptu Gallery, next to the Grand Cinema in Tacoma
  • Light refreshments
  • an opportunity to buy postcards and framed/signed postcards
created by these local photographer/graphic artists:  Morgan Alexander, Beautiful Angle, George Boucier, John Carlton, Becky Frehse, Di Morgan Graves, Tom Holt, Duncan James Livingston, Doug & Lynn Mackey, Ann Meersman, Steve Naccarato, Rick Semple, Peter Serko, Sharon Styer, Theresa Tavernero, Elayne Vogel and Judy Wagner - so far. . . . Visit

Venues carrying some of the cards: Tacoma Art Museum, Museum of Glass, Washington State History Museum, Embellish Hair Salon, NW Shop, Art Stop, BKB Gallery, Fulcrum Gallery in an upcoming show, Tacoma Art Supply and a few other Tacoma sites.

Special thanks to Becky and Ann for the image above and to photographer Paul Meersman.

comments [1]

Jun. 25, 2009 at 1:00am

Local Sound Transit Watchdog Group Makes Evening News

The fine folks over at Do It Right Tacoma (DIRT) made the news last night! They've been in a fight of sorts with Sound Transit for better design consideration in the commuter train extension to Lakewood. Here's the link:

As a streetcar advocate, I've been following the development of Sound Transit's commuter train through the Dome District. Some time ago, I wondered if it was too late to re-think the project using a LINK extension instead of a train. A streetcar that could run all day instead of a limited trip train was a no-brainer, I figured (I was naive). I sent a letter to the city councils of Tacoma, Lakewood, and even UP and never heard anything back.

I can't help but think: Is it too late to re-think this?

comments [37]

Jun. 24, 2009 at 6:42am

Georgetown Brewing Co. at the Swiss TONIGHT!

This just in:

Attention to all you South Sounders,

We're sorry for the late notice, but sometimes that's just how things go in the beer world. The Swiss in Tacoma is hosting us, your very own Georgetown Brewing Co., for a promo night tomorrow, from 8-10pm.  We'll include all the basics: discount beer pricing, some swag giveaways, and all-in-all good fun.

It would be great to see you if you can make it out for the party.  Thanks for all your support out there!


comments [0]

Jun. 18, 2009 at 1:00am

Something to Celebrate: DomeTop Neighborhood Wins Big Ice Cream Block Party!

Ok, this has been a brutal week for Tacoma: Black Water closing... Wintergrass leaving... Russell still talking about moving to Seattle.

It's important that we celebrate the little victories.

And celebrating soon will be the residents of the DomeTop Neighborhood who applied themselves - and got themselves - a gigantic block party from Dreyer's Ice Cream!

Congratulations DomeToppers!

comments [3]

Jun. 17, 2009 at 1:00am

Monkies Invade Old City Hall June 24th

Are you curious to see the inside of Old City Hall? Here's your chance!

From the 100th Monkey website:

Welcome hosts, guests, artists of Tacoma and the rest of the world. C'mon in and find out about the 100th monkey.  A no cost gathering of artists and art lovers in the Tacoma area every other month, generally the evening of the 3rd or 4th Wednesday from 7:30-9:30 - get on our email list - hit the running monkey so you never miss an invite.

June 24th Wed 7:30 - 9:30
Old City Hall - 625 Commerce

You have got to click to see whats up with City Hall!
Monkeys get to party here!
More info to come on artists, players, etc

comments [0]

Jun. 15, 2009 at 1:30pm

KING5 Evening Magazine in Tacoma for Never Never Land Story

The word is out about Never Never Land. Tacoma Sun first did a story on the old figures about a year ago. King5 picked up on the story and are incorporating it into an upcoming "Mysteries of Pt Defiance" segment.

I met up with them on the site of the former Never Never Land this past weekend. It is so sad to see what is there now, knowing what was once there. The only remaining evidence is a stone lined path, Humpty's books (Humpty is in storage in an undisclosed location elsewhere in the park), and Mother Goose's boarded-up boot. They asked me a few questions and filmed me walking around.

Considering there isn't much there, there were still several families who showed up just to hang out and play on the BigToy boat that was installed as a last gasp of life by Metro Parks 10 years ago.

comments [19]

Jun. 15, 2009 at 11:41am

Confirmed: Black Water Closed Today

As we just discovered for a Monday morning meeting, Black Water is indeed closed today. No reason was given on the hand written note taped to the door. We hope everyone is OK and it's business as usual tomorrow.

Now to reschedule the rest of my meetings today...

comments [16]

Jun. 15, 2009 at 9:20am

City Agencies to Discuss Surplus Property Process at June 16 Study Session

Some of you may know that I have not been a big fan of the way community owned property is sold off here in the little burg of Tacoma.

It started a few years ago when the school district decided - without any community discussion - that it was going to sell the historic Rogers Elementary overlooking the East side. Well, they sold it - for way under market value - to a church that wanted to put in a homeless shelter. You can imagine the residents weren't too happy. Here's the property on Historic Tacoma's watch list - now the church is trying to turn a profit by asking more than the school district did. Here's the TNT's Kathleen Merryman on the subject. Meanwhile crime is rising on the East side and the building sits vacant.

Then a few months ago Tacoma Public Utilities - without any community discussion - decided it needed to dispose of nine properties. While they have halted temporarily the sale - they are still not putting forth any effort to engage the community. They claim they will talk... as soon as they have a purchase offer in hand.

So, it is with much interest that I read the following news release from the city:

Joint City Council/Joint Municipal Action Committee study session

The June 16 study session will be a joint City Council/Joint Municipal Action Committee (JMAC) meeting. During the joint session, representatives from JMAC will provide an update on the collaborative work underway for Tacoma 360, which is a group working to bridge the achievement gap in Tacoma schools and the community. A second item on the agenda, includes a discussion on the policies related to declaring and disposing of surplus property.

The Council will not take public comment during the noon study session in the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St., Room 16. Audio from the session will be broadcast live on TV Tacoma and on On-demand audio archives are available on the Web within 24 hours of the meeting at

Contact: Karrie Spitzer, Community Relations,, (253) 591-5790

Unfortunately, I can't make the noon meeting downtown, but I hope others can - and then post about it. I don't have too high of hopes about any outcome from the meeting, but I'm glad they are at least talking about it. It's all about the baby steps in T-town.


comments [1]

Jun. 10, 2009 at 1:00am



JUNE 13, 2009
12 PM - 3PM

Explore different cultures through performances, dance lessons, crafts and learning booths that highlight these countries:

Vietnamese Sunflower Dancers
The Pilipino Youth Organization Dancers
Mexican Folk Ballet
Samoan Dancers
Roosevelt Children Dancers
Hula Instructions
Grant Elementary Dance Company

Portland Ave Community Center
3153 E Portland Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98404

comments [0]

Jun. 8, 2009 at 1:00am

Valhalla Coffee Spreads Its Wings - Now Roasting AND Serving on 6th Ave!

New on 6th Ave is Valhalla Coffee Roasters. Some may know them better through places such as Blackwater that serve their beans. And, until recently, they had been renting space in the back of the Mandolin Cafe.

The new space is just large enough for the roaster, a really cute scaled-down roaster for doing test batches, a small commercial espresso machine, and a couple bench seats for drinking some of the freshest and best espresso in town.

That's right! Valhalla is now serving drinks made from its own freshly roasted beans!

And, for a limited time, when you buy a pound of beans you get a free drink! There may be limitations - like "drink must be less than 32 ounces" or something like that - we didn't really look into it.

Valhalla's new address is 3918 6th Ave - across the street from Sushi Tama (or up the street from Rocket Records, Gray Lumber, and that club with all the death metal shows).

comments [10]

Jun. 2, 2009 at 1:00am

City of Tacoma Talks About Streetcars June 18th

Have you been wondering what's up with Tacoma's future streetcar system or where the millions of dollars Sound Transit is collecting from you RIGHT NOW to fund such a system is going? I have!

Tacoma City Council Member Julie Anderson is hosting an informational forum on Sound Transit's LINK light rail and a potential Tacoma streetcar project. She hopes to provide an update, dispel rumors and take questions.
Date: Thursday, June 18th
Time: 6 PM to 7 PM (revised time)
Location: Tacoma City Hall, 747 Market St

comments [79]

Jun. 2, 2009 at 1:00am

First Ever Tacoma Creative Class Happy Hour June 4 at the HUB

Can all of Tacoma's creatives fit in one room? Find out this Thursday. Here's the blurb from organizers Lance Kagey of Beautiful Angle fame and Rusty George of Rusty George fame:

We are inviting all of the local artist/designer/marketing community to a first ever happy hour. join us for a low key get together with some of the most influential people in our region. Take time to gripe about the economy, or network with those who might be able to give you a better job, or bask in the glory of your latest success. Whatever your deal, we'll force you to enjoy our company. Bring your creative self to the Hub for drink and conversation.

Hope to see you there.

Host: Lance Kagey and Rusty George
Type: Party - Mixer
Network: Global
Date: Thursday, June 4, 2009
Time: 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Location: The Hub
Street: 203 Tacoma Ave S
City/Town: Tacoma, WA

comments [3]

May. 29, 2009 at 9:20am

Tacoma Streetcar Friend and Tireless Tacoma Advocate Dan Voelpel to Leave TNT

We here in Morgan's Brain received some sad news today. The TNT's John Gillie reports that TNT business columnist Dan Voelpel will become Puyallup's new economic development director beginning June 15.

While we will miss him, Tacoma's loss is Puyallup's gain.

Thanks for all your support on the streetcar effort, Dan!

comments [12]

May. 29, 2009 at 1:00am

Tacoma Foodie Network News Flash: Theo's Organic Chocolates Made in the Northwest Now in Bulk!

For the hardcore foodies and restaurant owners owners out there (I know at least one or two of you are on the internets!): Theo's Organic Chocolate is now available in bulk!

Here's the email:


At Theo Chocolate we are happy to finally announce the official launch of our wholesale bulk chocolate program! We are reaching out to you now, as you said we should, in hopes that you are still interested in purchasing organic and Fair Trade Certified chocolate for use in your baking and recipe needs.

Please see the attachment here for options, prices and details about what is now available and let us know if you have questions or would like to place an order. These wholesale prices are available to restaurants, caterers, chefs and members of the trade - we are excited to do business with you!

Please note that Single Origin 74% Madagascar bulk chocolate will not become available until a date to be announced in June - all others described (file attached) are available now.

We look forward to supplying and working with you!
- The team at Theo Chocolate

The prices range from $9 to $11 per pound which is up there with retail prices of some premium chocolates - but keep in mind, it's locally made from bean AND organic. I am a total chocolate freak and have tried a lot of chocolate in my day and Theo's ranks among the best!


comments [1]

May. 27, 2009 at 1:00am

Come Celebrate As Gault Ends An Era: 1929-2009

From my "in" box. I've been by Gault a hundred times and have always been curious to see the inside. As a proponent for keeping surplus schools in community ownership, I think Gault would make an awesome community center. A few years ago, the Tacoma Public School Board dropped the ball on Rogers Elementary - just a few blocks away - let's see how they handle this one...

Come Celebrate As Gault Ends An Era: 1929-2009

You are invited to share in an evening of entertainment, nostalgia, and inspiration featuring tours, performances, speakers and refreshments.Come join students, alumni, faculty and friends for an unforgettable evening.

Please join us as we celebrate the end of an era at Gault Middle School.

Friday, May 29, 2009 5:00-8:00 PM

Gault Middle School
1115 E. Division Lane
Tacoma, WA 98404
(253) 571-1405
get map

comments [0]

May. 26, 2009 at 1:00am

Tacoma's Historic Sacred Places: their Past, Present and Future: 7pm, Thurs May 28

Tacoma's Historic Sacred Places: their Past, Present and Future, a lecture & community conversation

7pm, Thurs May 28, Urban Grace Church, S. 9th & Market
     Historic Tacoma is hosting a lecture and discussion to kick off its Preserving Tacoma's Historic Sacred Places project.  The program will review the architecture and history of Tacoma's sacred places, their contributions to the development of the City and its neighborhoods, and take a look to the future.
     The program will feature architectural historian, Caroline Swope, architect Gerry Eysaman, and Pastor Dennis Andersen, Board member, Partners for Sacred Places.
      The evening will conclude with a community conversation about the future of Tacoma's historic sacred places.  For more information about this project, visit

comments [5]

May. 25, 2009 at 10:13am

Thoughts on a Re-Usable Economy, Self-Sufficiency, and Community Building

I'm just putting this out there.

I've been thinking about our consumerist culture a lot lately. If nothing else comes out of the current global economic melt-down, I hope it's a back to basics on what made this country great in the first place: the resourcefulness of its people.

For me, I've rediscovered the joy of making everything from home made bread to home made wine and beer. I get satisfaction out of being forced to slow down, live in the present, and gain a deeper understanding of the time, energy, and ingredients go into the stuff normally taken for granted. I also think twice about disposing of an item that could be repaired and reused. I think a lot of other people are also going through this.

Some years ago, I heard about a community-wide yard sale in Hawaii. The unique thing about it in my mind was that it was run by the government in the state owned Aloha Stadium. That's pretty forward thinking! Lately, I've also heard about more community exchange yard sales where all the items are free. The Washington State Dept of Ecology runs "2Good2Toss" where you can search by county stuff people are selling or giving away. But web sites in and of themselves don't build community - that's what appeals to me about Hawaii's yard sale: it's real.

I wonder how the residents of Tacoma, with their Dome, would support a community-wide yard sale event. I guess the one in Hawaii has become a huge draw with tourists. I don't think Tacoma has quite the draw as Hawaii, but I think if done right, it could be pretty big. People still like to shop and people always like a deal!

What do you think? How could it work? Would it work if it were year-round every week? Or would it be better to have to be a once or twice a year event? Is this even something we should expect or want to see our city do?

comments [1]

May. 25, 2009 at 1:00am

Tacoma Community Stewards Campaign Kick-off Party This Thursday May 28, 6:30-8:30pm at The Hub (Sidecar Room)

Join me this week to help kick the community garden effort up a notch!

Tacoma Community Stewards Campaign Kick-off Party

Thursday May 28, 6:30-8:30pm at The Hub

Join the Tacoma Community Stewards at The Hub in the Gallery and Event Room for a kick-off
party celebrating three brand-new campaigns that will change the face of Tacoma for years
to come. Come for good food, great drinks and to learn about campaigns your neighbors have
developed to:

- Turn surplus city property into community gardens and parks
- Link disconnected bike trails and walking paths into and through Tacoma
- Transform the Dome District into a vibrant, walkable and livable community

Campaign leaders will present their research and plans and show how you can get involved to
make the change you want to see in Tacoma.


- Connect with other people and organizations working to make a positive difference in our community.
- Hear an inspiring story of a neighborhood in Seattle that united to transform an under-used park into a community garden that grows vegetables and community.

To win these campaigns, we need you and other engaged community members to join the
effort - so come and bring your friends. We'll supply the food.

For more information:

Please contact Craig Benjamin:
(206) 905-6891 or

Directions to The Hub:
203 Tacoma Ave S

The Tacoma Community Stewards Network is a group of engaged citizens in Tacoma
who are organizing to guide their community towards well-planned development that improves
quality of life and saves the region's farms, forests and natural areas.
Special thanks to the Hub for donating our meeting space!

comments [1]

May. 19, 2009 at 1:00am

City Hall Gets a New Neighbor

Following on the heels of Aladdin Bail Bonds, which opened at the corner of 9th & Market just over a year ago, Tacoma has yet another new bail bonds shop. You don't see too many new businesses opening these days, so this is noteworthy. It seems the bail bonds business is one of those few "recession proof" businesses - and a growing niche in downtown Tacoma. I'm not sure why they felt the need to locate RIGHT NEXT DOOR to city hall. Isn't the jail up the street a few blocks?

Somewhat ironically named, the property is registered to Tacoma-based, CITY OF DESTINY LLC.

What happened to the building's former tenants, the Tacoma Events Commission - producers of the Old Town 4th of July and Tall Ships - remains a mystery.

comments [8]

May. 18, 2009 at 10:16pm

Stowe, Chalk-off Make TNT Front (online) Page!

Props to the usual suspects involved with perpetuating the only weekly community event of its kind in the Universe of Tacoma! And props to Rosemary Ponnekanti for writing about it:

'Community' spelled with chalk

comments [11]

May. 15, 2009 at 1:00am

Introducing: BABY HEAD GLASSES! (online)

From my "in" box. I first saw these a few years ago and knew that I had to have some. I ended up giving a set to a couple I knew - one radioactive green and one orange cream-sickle. They ended up breaking off their relationship a short time later, although I don't think it had anything to do with doll head cups. Still, I wondered how I might get back the one that my friends now ex walked away with.

Even though these were not created in Tacoma, I think we can lay claim to them now - there must be some sort of statute of limitations on where artistic ideas originate from. 

And now, may I present to you: BABY HEAD GLASSES! by Tacoma artist, Oliver Doriss.

 Welcome to the inaugrual launch of  


The Baby Head Cup was first created in 1994  by Oliver Doriss. It has evolved since those humble beginnings and is now produced in eight exquisite colors. It has graced such venues as the Guggenheim Museum Store in NY and has now become a staple product of Fulcrum Gallery in Tacoma, WA 

Clear Baby Head Cup

Check the new site take it for a test drive tell me what you think, and please forward this email to your 10 most hilarious friends.

Thanks, Oliver where's my Chianti?

comments [1]