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Tag: Urban Waters

June
4th

Tacoma’s Urban Waters: The birds agree, they’re snags.

We recently covered the opening of the City of Tacoma’s new $38 million Center for Urban Waters facility on the east side of the Thea Foss waterway.  Among the features we detailed in our coverage about the highly technical, ultra green science and environment complex were several curious additions to the landscape on the Foss side of the building.

Part of a recent Urban Waters blog post included this:

(And by the way, those “dead trees” you see in front of the building? City officials want you to know they’re not dead trees at all. “They’re snags,” said assistant public works director Jim Parvey – and manmade ones at that, strategically fashioned from natural materials and installed by contractors to attract wildlife. People will enjoy the distinction, Parvey assured me, once they see bald eagles perched upon the lifeless branches.)

It now seems that Parvey was right — and he has the proof.  This morning, he sent me the following email:

Hi Lewis,
Thought you might be interested in this.
The birds agree they are “snags” not “dead trees.”
Best regards,
–Jim

Parvey’s message followed with an email circulating among city staffers, replete with a montage of photographic evidence — including these pics of an osprey taking roost in one of the faux snags: Read more »

April
7th

Urban Waters: On pace for platinum?

With contractors putting the finishing touches on Tacoma’s much ballyhooed Center for Urban Waters, city employees have begun moving into the building stationed on the east side of the Thea Foss Waterway. As TNT reporter Rob Carson wrote about earlier this week, the structure is being hailed as a model for green design and construction.

No, those aren't dead trees. They're snags.

Among other things, Carson reported the $38 million center features a green roof, recycled water for toilets, a natural heating and cooling system, and natural light to reduce dependence on electricity.

City officials also tell me that the building includes some creative features that recycle elements from municipal projects of yore. For instance, the wood paneling throughout the building’s lobby area was salvaged from the old municipal dock; and slabs of granite pulled from old city streets have been refashioned into benches placed along the esplanade outside the new building.

(And by the way, those “dead trees” you see in front of the building? City officials want you to know they’re not dead trees at all. “They’re snags,” said assistant public works director Jim Parvey – and manmade ones at that, strategically fashioned from natural materials and installed by contractors to attract wildlife. People will enjoy the distinction, Parvey assured me, once they see bald eagles perched upon the lifeless branches.)

Nearly from the beginning of the planning process to build upon the former Superfund site the structure to be known as Urban Waters– the future home to city scientists, engineers and laboratories; University of Washington researchers; and the state agency charged with cleaning up Puget Sound — city officials vowed the ultra-green building would win a platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

But now with the project coming to a close, is it possible that after all the work the highest LEED designation won’t be achieved?
Read more »