Word on the Street

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

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Category: Downtown Tacoma


Murray Morgan stairs open to public, elevator should follow next week

The staircase between Dock Street and downtown Tacoma that’s part of the Murray Morgan Bridge renovation at South 11th Street opened to the public Friday.

The elevator should open by the end of next week, pending inspection by the state, project manager Tom Rutherford said.

Crews hoped to have both finished in March, but had to change the access to the machinery room on top of the elevator, including the size of the door, to meet state requirements, he said.

“We were trying to provide access by a ladder and (the state Department of Labor & Industries) didn’t allow that,”

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Tacoma trying to discourage rogue crosswalks, calls them safety hazards and warns of prosecution

In response to a recent spate of midnight crosswalk painting in the St. Helens and Wright Park areas of Tacoma, city officials are trying to spread the word that rather than enhance safety, such rogue crosswalks can create hazards.

In a press release issued Friday, the city said deciding where crosswalks go is part of a process that includes traffic studies and applying national standards. Unofficial painting of crosswalks could lead to prosecution, the city warned.

“We understand and empathize with our citizens’ desire for more pedestrian facilities, but this form of vandalism is not acceptable and can quickly become

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Tacoma: Arts Commission to convene review panel on June 4 to contemplate totem pole

With the fate of Tacoma’s totem pole still undetermined, the city’s Arts Commission is now set to convene a “de-accession” review panel on June 4 to consider whether the aging artifact should be removed from the municipal art collection.

During the special meeting, panel members will be tasked with reviewing the city’s de-accession policy, or the formal process to remove an artwork from the city’s collection. The panel will then consider its recommendation based on health, safety and cultural considerations.

As we’ve written about here, here, here and here, two city commissions and an ad hoc

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Planning open house for Tacoma portion of downtown’s Prairie Line Trail tonight at TAM

This is a chance for the public including the trail’s neighbors to see what Portland-based Place has come up with for the city’s sections of the historic Prairie Line trail.

The open house will be held at the Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Avenue, between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The museum is directly across Hood Street from the most-significant and perhaps controversial segment. That is the 80-foot right of way between Pacific Avenue and S. 15th Street and between Hood Street and the United Way (Sprague) Building.

The Tacoma city council last week accepted a deal with BNSF that

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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.


Newly opened Murray Morgan Bridge getting ready for its 100th birthday party next week

I took a walk across the newly reopened Murray Morgan Bridge today with a few dozen other folks (but not very many cars).

I’m not sure what was more impressive, the views of the bridge or the views from the bridge. The network of black trusses stood out against the blue sky. The vistas into the Foss Waterway and out toward Commence Bay are the best in the city.

Call this a soft opening. The formal ceremony is set for next Friday, the 100th anniversary of the initial opening of what was then called the Lincoln Bridge (it opened around

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Water damage temporarily closes downtown Tacoma YMCA

Water damage forced the downtown Tacoma Center YMCA to close today, but the doors should reopen Thursday morning, spokeswoman Michelle LaRue said.

Racquetball and squash courts will remain closed for the time being due to the damage.

They are still trying to figure out what caused the damage. LaRue said a repair schedule will be drawn up by next week.

All members can use any YMCA in Pierce and Kitsap counties. The closest location is the Morgan Family YMCA, 1002 Pearl St.



Puyallup tribal lore gives special meaning to that rare Mount Rainier shadow that appeared this morning

In honor of the rare atmospherics that displayed the shadow of Mount Rainier on the clouds over Western Washington, I am reprinting a 2004 column I wrote about its role in Puyallup tribal legend. (And by rare, I mean a clear enough day to see the Mountain and a high cloud cover to provide a canvas for the shadow).

The city council did preserve the view of the bridge and mountain from the Fireman’s Park viewpoint.

Historians plead case for Tacoma’s ‘little Stonehenge’

You can’t see
forever on a clear day when standing in Fireman’s Park in downtown

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