Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

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Tag: Tacoma Dome


A clean Dome and well-tended parks: Citizenship at work

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Imagine Pierce County without volunteers and donors.

PTAs and youth athletic leagues would wither, along with homeless shelters and food kitchens. Trash would accumulate in alleys, vacant lots and on roadsides. Parks would turn into dumps. Charities would cease to exist.

And Tacoma’s most visible landmark – the Tacoma Dome – wouldn’t be getting cleaned this month.

Some anonymous donor recently offered the City of Tacoma up to $103,835 to scrub the Dome’s embarrassingly filthy roof.

A crew is now engaged in removing seven years of grime from its surface. Tens of thousands of motorists will soon be driving by a sparkling architectural icon, not a monument to freeway exhaust.

It’s a perfect illustration of why the world needs people generous with their time or money.

The city government is flat broke, so short of revenue that its police and fire departments are threatened by cutbacks. It’s in no position to write a six-figure check for an optional cleanup. Without private help, the Dome might have remained caked with pollutants – getting dirtier and dirtier – for years to come.

To that anonymous, public-spirited citizen: a heartfelt thanks.
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Preserve park honoring one of Tacoma’s civic leaders

Raindrops collect on the fencing around Don Pugnetti Park March 12. The owner, the Washington State Department of Transportation, is looking for buyers. (Staff file photo)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Green space is at a premium in downtown Tacoma, with few places where downtown workers and students can sit out on a nice day and maybe eat a sack lunch in the sunshine.

One of those few places – at South 21st Street and Pacific Avenue – is in danger of being lost forever. Don Pugnetti Park has been a little oasis of green for 25 years, dating to construction of Interstate 705. But now it’s fenced off with chain link and tagged with “No trespassing” signs. The barrier also blocks access to a century-old railroad monument.

Owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation, the pocket park was an Occupy Tacoma tent city for four months. The Occupiers are gone, but now WSDOT suddenly wants to shed the park for “liability” reasons and is seeking buyers. Maintaining the park isn’t an issue; a private company takes care of that as part of a deal to operate a nearby parking lot. Read more »


Tacoma Dome getting washed – finally

Thanks to a public-spirited person (who wishes to remain anonymous), the filthy Tacoma Dome roof will finally be cleaned (read the story here). It was getting so dingy that I was thinking about writing an editorial begging  the city to just paint it a brownish gray and be done with it.

The donation covers up to $108,835 of the cleaning cost (can anyone explain that number?), and work reportedly begins Monday. The last time the roof was cleaned, according to our story, was 2003! Sure hope it doesn’t go another nine years between cleanings.

One commenter on the article

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What the Tacoma Dome needs: Lather, rinse, repeat

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

It’s embarrassing. You roll into the state’s second city on Interstate 5 and there stands its most visible landmark, the Tacoma Dome. And it’s filthy.

The grime’s been accumulating on the Dome’s roof since 2005, when it was last given a bath. It looks like pond scum without the pond. If the coating of exhaust pollutants weren’t so noxious, you could almost plant wheat in.

Tacoma has a lot of nice landmarks, including Union Station, the Museum of Glass and Old City Hall. (OK, let’s not look too closely at that last one.) But the Dome ­– right there on the West Coast’s busiest thoroughfare – is what hundreds of thousands of Americans and Canadians see as they approach Tacoma.

It’s the city’s welcome sign, visual signature, architectural calling card, self-advertisement. It’s Grit City’s blue-collared version of McCaw Hall.

Moms and dads journey there from all over the state to watch their kids’ basketball tourneys and Gridiron Classics. The Dome has been featured on “Saturday Night Live.” It hosts bull riders, horse shows, Holiday Food and Gift Festivals, Tacoma Home Shows, Disneys on Ice.
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NBA at the Dome? Look at humbler options, too

The Lakes High School Lancers won a 3A Boys semi-final game in the Tacoma Dome March 4. A proposed study would explore whether the Dome could also host NBA action. (Staff file photo)

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Let’s not throw cold water on a bold plan to bring pro basketball or hockey to Tacoma. But let’s also make sure any public money spent on the plan pays dividends to the public.

Some of Pierce County’s most distinguished business leaders – the likes of Economic Development Board CEO Bruce Kendall, Columbia Bank CEO Melanie Dressel and uber-investor Herb Simon – are pushing for a $100,000 study of the feasibility of bringing an NBA or NHL franchise to the Tacoma Dome.

The Tacoma City Council has tentatively decided to invest $50,000 in the study, and the Pierce County Council is facing the same decision. The research could be justified if it also covered less far-fetched scenarios for the Dome’s future.
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Barack Obama at the Tacoma Dome?

Rick Allen, director of Pierce County United Way, was in today to talk about prospects for the organization’s 2009 community fund-raising campaign.

Those prospects weren’t helped by the impending departure of Russell Investments, whose employees and management have contributed staggering amounts to the area’s nonprofits through United Way – as much as 8 percent of the millions raised.

On the brighter side, Allen says there’s a real possibility that President Barack Obama may make an appearance at the Tacoma Dome this spring to hand out school letters to students who’ve earned them for community service.

These letters are the same ones football and basketball players earn at their schools: bona fide, letterman-jacket-worthy symbols of achievement. United Way got the idea rolling 10 years ago. Seven students earned the honor then. Last year, Gov. Chris Gregoire handed out 222 letters to students from 31 high schools.

Allen wondered, why not invite the president this time around? He persuaded Gregoire, U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks and others to plug the idea at the White House.
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