Word on the Street

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

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Category: Downtown


Learn more about expanding Tacoma Link

Sound Transit will host two open house events this week seeking public comment and review of alternatives for expanding the Tacoma Link system.

The Link currently operates on a 1.6-mile route between the Tacoma Dome and Theater District stations.

Open house events are scheduled for:

• 4-7 p.m. Tuesday Feb. 12, Tacoma Dome Station Plaza, 424 E. 25th St.

• 4-7 p.m. Wednesday Feb. 13, University of Washington Tacoma, William Philip Hall, 1918 Pacific Ave.

Citizens unable to attend either open house can complete an online comment survey here.

The survey is open through Feb. 28.


University of Washington Tacoma plans community parade, business fair to welcome students to Tacoma

UPDATED 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday to reflect corrections from the UWT:

The University of Washington Tacoma will welcome students back to campus this Friday with a convocation, but it will not be a traditional ceremony with academics in long robes.

Instead, school organizers plan a parade through downtown, ending in a campus-wide community reception and business fair. The public is invited to participate in the processions, which will proceed along six five routes downtown starting at around 1:45 p.m.

“Our convocation reflects UWT’s mission to work in concert with our community in all things, including welcoming our new students,” chancellor

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SOTA will get new classroom space this fall

Tacoma School of the Arts (SOTA) will be trading places in downtown Tacoma this fall.
The Tacoma School Board on Thursday approved a lease for added space for the school to occupy the second floor of the historic Post Office/Courthouse building at 1102 “A” St. The space will house SOTA classrooms and administrative offices, which are now located at 1818 Tacoma Ave. S. and in another downtown building.
The school board agreed to lease the space from Power Property Consultants, Inc. for just over $1 million over the course of five years.
School district Operations Officer Sam

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Big update tomorrow on downtown Tacoma’s paid parking system

Ten months into downtown Tacoma’s use of paid street parking, city council members will hear a comprehensive update tomorrow on how things are going.

City staff and citizen parking task force members will brief the council at their regular study session, beginning at noon, on details including revenue, debt payments, enforcement data, court fee collections and the number of citations.

The update will be Tuesday in Room 16 of the Tacoma Municipal Building North, 733 Market St. Audio from the session is live-streamed on both Channel 12 (TV Tacoma) and at www.tvtacoma.com.

No public comment will be accepted

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LeMay museum opening date set

Officials with LeMay America’s Car Museum announced today that they’ve scheduled the grand opening of the downtown car collection for May 19, 2012, not quite two years after they broke ground on city property on the west side of the Tacoma Dome.

“We’ve managed to build a museum … during difficult economic times when nearly everybody said it couldn’t be done,” museum President and CEO David Madeira said in a statement.

Madeira said the museum, on time and on budget, will have 15 galleries housing up to 500 cars, trucks and motorcycles from private owners, corporations and the well-known

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Puzzle solved: Tacoma decides monkey puzzle tree at Spanish Stairs will stay

Janet Jensen’s 2007 photo with the monkey puzzle tree at upper left

At its meeting Wednesday evening at City Hall, the Landmarks Preservation Commission got its first look at the proposed landscape plan for the Spanish Stairs next to the old Elks Lodge.

Because the stairs and the Elks are in a historic district, the plan must be approved by the commission. Members made no decisions Wednesday because talks between the city, the architects and the developer are still going on and the plan might change.

The big announcement – good news for some – is that the city has decided that the towering monkey puzzle tree at the top of the stairs will remain.

“The monkey puzzle tree is being retained,” said city historic preservation officer Reuben McKnight. “That is something the city’s asked, as I understand.”

Overall, however, the commissioners weren’t exactly impressed with the plan developed by Portland architecture firm Ankrom Moison for the McMenamin Brothers. The redeveloper of the Elks Lodge has offered to design the landscaping – and even maintain it – because it will be integral to their complex of pubs, restaurants and music venues. Read more »


Live wood: Send us a photo of your favorite monkey puzzle tree

R.R. Anderson takes issue with the blog post below about what some carvers might do with the wood from the Elks Lodge monkey puzzle tree (if it were to meet a timely demise).

So, to give equal time to live wood aficionados, let’s see what a well-maintained, mature monkey puzzle tree can look like.

You can post them here. File them under Washington and Northwest Scenery. Please include an address or intersection so people can visit them in the flesh, or bark if you prefer.


If the Elks monkey puzzle tree has to go, please spare the wood

Mike Price doesn’t have an opinion about the fate of the iconic monkey puzzle tree near the top of downtown Tacoma’s Spanish Stairs.

The retired city employee just wants to put in a request that if it does come down, the wood not end up in someone’s fireplace. Instead, Price wants it to be offered to wood carvers such as himself because the patterns in the wood make for especially elegant carvings.

Price has been working on some pieces from a tree that was recently removed from a house near the entrance to Point Defiance. He said he is

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