Word on the Street

The latest news in and around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Archives: Oct. 2007

Oct.
31st

A ‘convergence of opportunity and timing’

Rick Talbert, the city councilman for District 4 on the Eastside and Tacoma’s deputy mayor, weighed in on the revival of McKinley:


It’s an interesting convergence of opportunity and timing. The neighborhood is experiencing an influx of new residence. Folks are moving to the area, and they’re younger and starting families. They’ve brought a new energy. That mixed with folks who have lived in the area with a while and created some excitement.


He credits neighborhood activism for cleaning up the area.


There had been serious problems with drug deals and general loitering at 34th and McKinley,

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Oct.
31st

Neighborhood on the upswing, Ferguson says

I was at Fergie’s on the Ave. this morning. It’s an old-school kind of diner that you don’t find often these days. The regulars are there daily for pre-dawn chats about politics and sports. Everyone seems to know everyone else. It’s tough to spend more than $10.


Owner Donna Ferguson has been living or working on McKinley Avenue for 54 years, so she’s seen the neighborhood change.


She loves the influx of young energy in the neighborhood.



The young people – many of them married – come in and

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Oct.
31st

Developer invests in future of McKinley

Aaron Beckord, owns two houses at East 34th Street and McKinley Avenue. One has become Hairartz, and the other will become a coffee shop.


He purchased both of the derelict homes last year and has done a pretty amazing job considering what they were:


Squatters were residing here. There are five bedrooms; every room had dirty mattress, a box used as a table with some half-eaten food, a television and drug paraphernalia or some sort – syringes or crack pipes.


This corner, more than anything else, was bringing down the neighborhood.

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Oct.
31st

Darfuri refugees to speak

I wrote this brief for the paper today:


Two refugees from the ethnic conflict in Darfur in western Sudan will speak Friday at the University of Puget Sound.


Daoud Hari and Ibrahim Adam fled the conflict in the Darfur region.


Hari left his village for a refugee camp in Chad and then re-entered Darfur to work as a translator for Western media outlets. Adam escaped after government-backed militias killed 20 members of his family.


The United States has labeled the conflict genocide, and the United Nations estimates as many as 450,000 people have died. About 2.5

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Oct.
31st

The new coffee shop on McKinley

I talked yesterday with Christopher Woods and Miguel Flores. They’re two McKinley residents who are opening a coffee shop next month on the corner of McKinley Ave. and East 34th Street.


Woods moved to Tacoma in February from Seattle, and stopping at a coffee shop was part of his daily routine. (As was reading a newspaper – good idea, Christopher!) Here’s how he describes his thought process of opening the shop.


My routine in Seattle was to walk my dog, stop off at a coffeehouse, read a paper. When I moved here, I couldn’t do that. I’d have

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Oct.
31st

Protest to ‘shut down’ downtown?

Talk about a downtown protest about the Northwest Detention Center, a federal immigration prison on the Tideflats, has been brewing for a little bit. Here’s a link to a planning session about it, which includes this:


Downtown Will NOT have business as usual! We plan on shutting down the downtown area of Tacoma to send a very clear message that will be heard by all that we do not want this detention facility anywhere near us and our communities.


There will be a designated ‘Green Zone’ at S. 17th and Pacific on the corner and in

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Oct.
31st

Morning report, Oct. 31

It’s Halloween, and by far the scariest thing I have to do is figure out what kind of presentation to give to dozens of high school students tomorrow for The News Tribune’s Journalism Day. Not scary because I have to speak in front of a much of high schoolers, but scary because as much as I will want to entertain them, my jokes will probably remind them more of Bobcat Goldthwait than Jerry Seinfeld.


(Do kids in high school even know who Bobcat Goldthwait is?)


Either way, I’m going to finish reporting on the McKinley Hill story. Look

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Oct.
30th

Police see McKinley improvement

I met with Lt. Kathy McAlpine, the Sector 4 commander for the Tacoma Police Department, about McKinley.


She’s been at her current job about a year and a half. She inherited a section rife with drive-by shootings and gang-related crime. She said the community organizations have grown in size and influence:


They’ve been great about wanting to make this a neighborhood and investing in it emotionally. One neighbor built planters out front, and several other houses have other planets. Or they’ll hang up wreaths at Christmastime. And on the flip side, you have some folks who have been

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