Word on the Street

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

NOTICE: Word on the Street has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Word on the Street.
Visit the new section.

Category: Federal Way


Federal Way leaders take stand against light-rail delay

Federal Way city leaders have said they strongly oppose Sound Transit’s projected delay in bringing light rail to Federal Way, setting up a showdown with the transit agency’s board Thursday.

The Federal Way City Council voiced its opposition Tuesday night by unanimously passing a resolution that included the possibility of legal action against Sound Transit.

The council urged Sound Transit to rethink its options to a delay, such as a less-expensive light rail route along Interstate 5 instead of State Route 99.

The seven council members also urged the transit agency to factor in ridership, population and socioeconomic profile to balance cuts among the five subareas of the regional system.

The resolution also left open the option of the city suing Sound Transit.

“The city is reviewing legal options to enforce” the 2008 ballot measure, the resolution said. That’s when voters approved a $17.9 billion mass transit measure that included bringing light rail to South 272nd Street.

City Attorney Pat Richardson said today she doesn’t know yet what the city’s legal alternatives are, but added filing a lawsuit is always a legal option.

The delay to Federal Way would put off and potentially jeopardize construction of light rail to Tacoma.

Tacoma City Council member Jake Fey said last week that Sound Transit should reconsider the goal of connecting light rail from Sea-Tac Airport to Tacoma. Fey is also a Sound Transit board member.

Read more »


Internet safety will be topic at Federal Way school

Protecting children against online predators and objectionable online content will be some of the topics covered at the Internet Safety Night Monday night at Lakota Middle School in Federal Way.

A Federal Way police crime prevention officer and a detective specializing in crimes against children will be among the speakers.

The program, sponsored by the school and its PTA, is designed to help parents and is open to the public. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Lakota commons at 1415 S.W. 314th St., Federal Way.

Topics to be covered include:
— The importance of

Read more »


Federal Way council lashes out at Sound Transit

Federal Way City Council members voiced anger, dismay and disappointment Tuesday night that Sound Transit plans to postpone expanding light rail to Federal Way from 2023 to as late as 2040.

Council member Jim Ferrell erupted when a Sound Transit official said the planned extension from Highline Community College to South 272nd Street is the only proposed cut from Sound Transit projects to be finished by 2023.

“That’s absolutely incredible,” Ferrell said. “You left us with the impression that times are tough all over. Apparently, they’re only tough for South King County.”

David Beal, acting director of planning and development for Sound Transit, told the council the proposed delay of the Federal Way extension – estimated to cost $600 million – is due to falling revenue projections.

The Federal Way extension planned in 2008 required more money to be borrowed than in other areas of the three-county light rail system, Beal said.

The economic downtown since then compounded the problem, he said.

Sales tax collections for Sound Transit’s South King County subarea are projected to fall by 31 percent from 2009 to 2023. Each subarea is expected to pay the costs for its Sound Transit projects.

Sound Transit hasn’t been able to resolve the confluence of funding problems for bringing light rail to Federal Way, Beal said.

If light rail doesn’t arrive in Federal Way by 2034 at the earliest as Sound Transit projects, Tacoma will have an even longer wait, Federal Way Mayor Skip Priest said.

“If you’re in Tacoma, I don’t think you’ve been born yet if you’re going to see light rail,” Priest said. “If it is a dream here, it is a mirage in Tacoma.”

Read more »


Federal Way sponsors community bicycle ride

Federal Way will have the city’s first community bike ride April 17.

The 8.2-mile ride is open to all cyclists.

Cycling enthusiasts and the police department’s bike squad are joining together for the event, promoting safe bicycling in the city.

Riders will meet at 10 a.m. April 17 at the Federal Way Community Center, 876 S. 333rd St. The route will include the BPA Trail and safe back roads and neighborhood streets, including a break at the Fred Meyer Shopping Center in Twin Lakes. Members of the police bike squad will help lead the ride.

Groups will be divided by

Read more »


1,100 turn out for Federal Way recycle event

Recycle and they will come.

More than 1,100 people turned out for a “one-stop” recycling event sponsored by the City of Federal Way.

People dropped off more than 167,000 pounds of recyclable and reusable materials to the Twin Lakes Park & Ride March 19. That’s more than 75 metric tons of material, about the weight of five school buses, the city reported.

The city sponsors the free recycling events each spring and fall, accepting items not collected at the curb or banned from disposal.

People brought appliances, wood, mattresses, tires, electronics, Styrofoam blocks, used motor oil, antifreeze, batteries, and fluorescent

Read more »


City of Federal Way expands hours for passport applications

Starting Monday, the City of Federal Way will extend its hours for accepting passport applications at City Hall, 33325 Eighth Ave. S.

The new hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday at the second floor Permit Center Help Desk. The previous daily hours were 9 a.m. to noon.

The City of Federal Way is an approved passport acceptance facility, allowing staff members to assist with applications.

The actual decision to issue or deny a passport is made by a passport services agency.

For more information, call City Hall at 253-835-7000 or visit www.cityoffederalway.com/passport.


Two South King Fire and Rescue firefighters to climb for a cause

Two firefighters from South King Fire & Rescue will climb 69 flights of stairs in full bunker gear Sunday at Columbia Center in Seattle.

The annual stair climb is the largest individual firefighting competition in the world, with 1,500 participants from the United States and Canada. The event raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Firefighters Dan Borg and Kris Lindahl will climb the 1,311 stairs in full bunker gear, including a self-contained breathing apparatus, boots and helmet. The gear adds an extra 50 pounds.

Read more »


FWay council decides to fast-track request for developers for city property

Federal Way City Council members agreed tonight they want to seek developers again for city-owned property downtown sooner rather than later, after a three-tower skyscraper project collapsed.

Council members voted 6-0 for a timeline that would result in a developer being selected by mid-August. The other option was a slower timeline ending with a developer chosen in mid-October.

Council member and deputy mayor Dini Duclos said she favored the faster-track schedule given there are likely to be delays in the process.

Two council members, Linda Kochmar and Roger Freeman, also said they favored including height limits in the parameters for potential developers, called a request for proposals.

But including height limits did not appear to have support from a majority of the council. Council member Jack Dovey was absent.

The City Council is scheduled to finalize developer guidelines and approve a request for proposals March 15.

Plans to develop four acres of city-owned property downtown fell through when Twin Development, a group of Seattle-Tacoma partners, failed to make a $100,000 payment to an escrow account by Jan. 31.

The developers planned to build three towers on the vacant land at 31600 20th Ave. S., two of 45 stories and a third of 35. The project was to include condominiums, hotel rooms, retail space and a 1-acre park.

The city purchased the property in 2006 for $4.1 million to spur downtown development.

Read more »