First Creek members mobilized first against the gangs, prostitutes and drug dealers on Tacoma’s East Side along Portland Avenue. They forged partnerships with Tacoma and Puyallup Tribe police, and helped bust and shut down the bad guys’ enterprises. They branched out into painting over gang tagging.
They hooked in with Tacoma’s Safe & Clean initiative and worked with the city to haul ton after ton of dumped junk out of the old T Street Gulch. They organized clean-ups, and hauled away more unsightly tonnage.
With the tribe, they renamed the old gulch First Creek and set about uprooting ivy, blackberry and broom that had overtaken native plants.
Last year, they took up the city’s offer of land for a community garden, and the guidance and money to design and build it. It’s Green Thumb Community Garden that earned their place as one of four finalists in NUSA’s “Physical Revitalization – Single Neighborhood” category.
They’ve been invited to present their project at NUSA’s Conference on Neighborhood Concerns May 25-28 in Anchorage. Formed in 1975, NUSA aims to strengthen neighborhoods by identifying and sharing successful strategies with civic leaders.