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UPDATE 2: Camp Murray gate controversy voted top West Pierce news story for 2011

Post by Christian Hill / The News Tribune on Dec. 31, 2011 at 12:01 am with 6 Comments »
December 30, 2011 7:40 pm

The ongoing controversy over the efforts by the Washington Military Department to move Camp Murray’s main gate deeper into the Tillicum neighborhood was voted the top news story of the year in West Pierce County.

Although I was hoping to see a lot more votes, the Camp Murray gate story was voted tops by an overwhelming margin.

David Anderson, president of the Tillicum-Woodbrook Neighborhood Association, had put out a request for residents in the neighborhood and others to cast their votes for the story.

The extension of sanitary sewer into Tillicum and Woodbrook took the No. 2 spot.

Efforts to relieve congestion on I-5 through Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the closure of the McNeil Island prison and the proposal to reroute Amtrak passenger trains through Lakewood and other communities tied for third, with a vote apiece.

More information about these stories and the vote tallies are listed below:

1. Controversy over proposed move of Camp Murray gate (25 votes)

Lakewood’s Tillicum neighborhood was none to happy to learn that the proposal, which appeared to die last year, moved forward in 2011. A neighborhood group has appealed the permit the city issued to complete the project even while Camp Murray has started construction. The hearing of the appeal is slated for early next year.

2. Lakewood completes sewer extension to Tillicum, Woodbrook neighborhoods (4 votes)

The city’s two poorest neighborhoods can or soon will be able to connect to sanitary sewer after a lengthy, $18 million project draws to a close. How many residents actually hook up remains to be seen. Lakewood changed its connection policy to mandatory from voluntary due to a lack of interest from property owners. It also had to negotiate with Pierce County and spend additional money to begin hookups to the system under low-flow conditions.

3. I-5 congestion through Joint Lewis-McChord garners attention, funding (1 vote)

The traffic may be stop and go, but funding is flowing much easier after ongoing congestion on the vital freight and commuter route drew the attention of politicians. Lakewood received $5.7 million to make improvements to the overpass serving Madigan Army Medical Center. The Washington State Department of Transportation recently was awarded $15 million to pay for other improvement along the corridor. These investments are strictly Band-Aids until the hundreds of millions of dollars can be secured to pay for a permanent fix.

3. Closure of McNeil Island prison (1 vote)

State closed island prison that was in operation for 135 years in April to save money. More information here.

3. Proposal to reroute Amtrak passenger trains through Lakewood, other Pierce County communities moving along. (1 vote)

The proposed Point Defiance Bypass is deep in environmental review and this story is sure to heat up in 2012. Major developments this year include the state narrowing the scope of the environmental review and an effort to get an city initiative on the ballot to try and stop the trains from running through Lakewood.

Happy new year everyone, and I look forward to covering the major events in West Pierce County in 2012.


Leave a comment Comments → 6
  1. DavidAnderson says:

    Since Tillicum began waging war two years ago with the Washington Military Department (WMD) over the latter’s need-not-substantiated-frivolous-waste-of-nearly-$5-Million in taxpayer money, and this last year was overruled by its own Lakewood officials on that issue, Tillicum finds itself cast in the unenviable role of underdog but has nonetheless roused the rabble to defend its residents in court.

    Pierce County’s Tillicum neighborhood finished second in the entire nation last year in the balloting for home-rebuilding money, and now that Tillicum no longer ranks first in crime (actually lowest in the city), Tillicum would like to finish first in something – besides being known as the poorest square mile in all of Pierce County.

    A vote for Tillicum on the Camp Murray gate debacle is a vote for the poor people!

    “It’s the rich you can terrorize. The poor have nothing to lose.” – Imelda R. Marcos

  2. I was under the impression that government officals elected by the people are to be the voice for those people. Well those elected for the city of Lakewood are not listening to the people but going with the governement and allowing the permits for a gate to be relocated through neighborhood streets where our kids play saying this will have no impact on those residence. I am but one voice of many, and those many vote and support their neighbors. We will be heard. We will not be know as the poorest area but the loudest area. Tillicum will not be knocked down without a fight. Money has been granted for the reconstruction of the Freedom Bridge for better traffic flow. so why will or should it be necessary to even think about moving a gate that will have this new construction provided by the state to help improve traffic flow. this makes no sense at all to me.. I vote for the top story to be Tillicum on the Camp Murray gate.

  3. shannanknight says:

    I vote for the top story to be Tillicum with the controversy over the move of the Camp Murray Gate.

    Here you have citizens who have repeatedly, and intelligently said “NO”, while the city council and elected officials continue to ignore their constituents, and the people being affected by all this, so they, the officials can continue doing as they please.

    Here you have children who will be highly impacted by the rerouting of service traffic as drivers rush in and out the gates, and take shortcuts thru residential neighborhoods without regards to kids and pets.
    Our main drag is already seriously affected by the gate traffic, but because it is on the street paralleling I-5, [which they just rebuilt (to handle more traffic) over the course of a year, nearly killing some of the town's businesses in the process], it is controllable without affecting the residential area.

    The new plan will cause all sorts of safety issues for the children, especially before and after school when the kids are out. There will be no peaceful and quiet streets anymore with folks rushing to get in and out the gate.

    Anyone who lives in the area has seen, and most likely nearly sideswipped by, someone in a hurry to or from the gate. To extend the danger area into the rest of the town is foolishness, and none of the people insisting on this folly are going to be able to make restitution to the residents whose children and pets are injured or killed because of the change.

  4. My vote would be for I-5 congestion since this affects a tremendous amount of people every single day. There is certainly a vocal minority within Tillicum that is very excited about the Camp Murray gate issue, but the truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of Pierce County residents aren’t affected by it and aren’t all that interested.

  5. briandenne says:

    As the construction of the new gate moves ahead, while in an appeal status, I am quite sure that Camp Murray Officials have been assured by the Lakewood City Manager that the appeal will not be upheld. Obviously by the non-caring actions of the Washington Military Department towards the residents of Tillicum, the WMD has exhibited the fact that they have the City of Lakewood Officials in its backpocket. Even with petitions, speeches and letters in opposition to the new gate, WMD and Lakewood City Government move on and tread on the citizens who pay the taxes. The WMD does not pay tax to Lakewood. The WMD does not maintain the Tillicum streets. The WMD will not maintain the safety and security of residents in Tillicum. So why is the WMD establishing a gate in the middle of Tillicum? Greed of an over zealous General and his herd of lip smacking officers.

  6. arbeenjo says:

    The Camp Murray/Tillicum gate controversy is the symptom of far greater problems than a gate location. The problems are a lack of citizen representation in government and willingness of governments at many levels to conspire with each other for their own mutual benefit.

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