Word on the Street

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

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Category: Revival of McKinley Hill

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

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.
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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Oct.
30th

Business, neighborhood have been ‘wonderful’

Michael Smith, owner of Hairartz at 719 E. 34th St., recently moved his business from near the Tacoma Dome to McKinley Hill.


His business is located in a formerly derelict home that had been purchased and renovated — one of the latest waves of gentrification in the neighborhood.


He says his hair salon and gift business has been “wonderful,” and the neighborhood is “fantastic.”


I had looked at this over a year and a half ago to buy some property, but the area was really bad at the time. When

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Oct.
30th

A vote of confidence for McKinley Hill

I’m working on a story for Thursday’s paper about the rebirth of commerce and civic pride on McKinley Hill. What sparked my interest in the story is the Top of Tacoma bar at 3529 McKinley Ave. When I entered, my first thought was that the bar seemed almost too nice for the neighborhood — but then again, that’s the point of my story. McKinley is changing.


I talked to Jason Jones and Jaime Kay Newton, the co-owners of Top of Tacoma.


Newton, who was born in Puyallup and has lived for the past eight years in Tacoma,

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