Inside Opinion

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Tag: Thea Foss Waterway


The Kalakala saga descends from oddity to absurdity

In May, Kalakala owner Steve Rodrigues accessed a makeshift gangplank to the ferry moored along Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway. (Dean J. Koepfler / Staff photographer)

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

The owner of the Kalakala is suing Tacoma businessman Karl Anderson for causing him mental anguish? File that under “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Eight years ago, Anderson took pity on Steve Rodrigues, the owner of the 1935 art-deco ferry who had lost moorage first in Seattle and then in Neah Bay. Anderson offered Rodrigues space on a site he owned on Tacoma’s Hylebos Waterway, figuring that would give him time to put together a plan for saving the decrepit ferry.

But no plan ever emerged. The ferry just kept deteriorating to the point that it was in danger of breaking free of its moorings and damaging docks and other vessels, perhaps even blocking the much-used industrial waterway. Read more »


Pacific Avenue project presents opportunity, challenge

This editorial will appear in the Monday print edition.

A short distance from Pacific Avenue in downtown Tacoma is Thea Foss Waterway – a former Superfund site that the city spent $105 million cleaning up.

But untreated stormwater runoff from Pacific Avenue continues to drain dangerous toxins into the waterway, posing a threat to ongoing cleanup efforts. As environmental regulations regarding stormwater contamination tighten up, it becomes ever more incumbent on cities to seek solutions to their runoff problems.

It looks like Tacoma’s found one, and it promises to deliver aesthetic benefits in addition to environmental ones.

Plans are under way to retrofit Pacific Avenue between South Seventh and 17th streets with the latest in stormwater technologies, which may involve replacing curbs, gutters and sidewalks. The $8 million project will provide an opportunity to enhance the avenue with trees, water features and pervious pavement – all of which will help filter stormwater. Public input on the streetscaping part of the project is being sought (see box).

Some critics have suggested the city should give filling potholes a higher priority. But the city must address the polluted street runoff. Besides, much of the funding for Phase 1 of the project is federal money – a $1.5 million Environmental Protection Agency grant and $800,000 from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration.
Read more »