Thursday, October 9, 2008

October 2008 / Meeting Notes

Hello Neighbors,

Another amazing meeting last Wednesday! We had the Kohut boys helping to set up chairs. They are in their 70’s, have lived in the neighborhood all their lives and haven’t given up on the neighborhood! Girl Scouts provided refreshments and took care of the sign-in desk. We had some very enthusiastic newcomers who are fired up and ready to make some noise!

Our BACKUP (Blight And Crime Kept Under Patrol) is getting off to a great start. They are becoming increasingly familiar with the neighborhood and the pockets of iniquity within. They are compiling evidence that will no doubt be crucial in ridding our neighborhood of the crime and grime that has too often been overlooked or ignored. There is no room for complacency anymore. They are out morning, afternoon, evening, and late night….yes, they give up Letterman to be out there and will even tell you it is more fun!! The patrol should be getting its equipment from Metro Parks very soon so be on the lookout for them because they will be on the lookout for your well-being! Please call in anything you see so it can add to our mounting body of evidence! Jeanie Peterson from HAC has offered to mentor our patrol. (by the way check out the article on Jeanie and video on what they achieved on Hilltop….they actually had an 80% reduction in crime!!!) Here’s the link…

David Whited, Planner for the Puyallup Tribe, fielded questions from attendees and gave us much valuable insight into the history and future plans of the tribe. It is very exciting to be part of such an historic partnership! In case you haven’t seen the show on Channel 12 about the creek clean up…you really should see just how beautiful it is down there! We are sure to rival Point Defiance or Chambers Creek once the First Creek project is brought to fruition. Our neighborhood will be on the map!!! And in the tourist guides!!! And an area to be proud to live in….

John Reeves, Tacoma Code Enforcement, helped us see how reasonable he is in dealing with the abatement issues. Many people are simply not aware of the resources available to them. Time and again folks say they are concerned with the welfare of the homeless in the area or are worried about the senior citizens or the disabled or those lacking the financial means to tend to their properties properly. Resources are available and we are all working hard to get the word out there. Volunteers are available and funds are available and other resources are available….for those who are “in the know”. So, please, help us in getting the word out….

Chris Ott, who also works for the city in many capacities, helped us to see the bright, shiny future we have ahead if we all pitch together. His first love is the environment but he realizes that it encompasses much more than trees and animals. He is an optimist but a realist and I am so glad we got to meet with him more extensively after the meeting. He is in our corner, as it were, in this boxing match against the crime and grime. You can also see Chris on the Channel 12 program about the creek. (also starring our very own Edwin Magrum)

There’s another program starring our awesome CLO, Bert Hayes, that was very insightful….so check out channel 12 when you get a chance!!!

Pitching together is what really happened at that meeting. Folks volunteered to take on leadership roles to oversee various tasks like flyers, block watches, phone trees, problem properties, and the like. Those folks won’t be alone in their efforts because there are others who have a burning desire to help but who may be shy or otherwise reluctant to step forward for fear that the entire burden will be laid upon them. Not the case here. We are a team!

Have you seen our blog yet???? Dan Fear stepped up and created it that same evening…a task beyond my comprehension. It is

Check it out!!!

Did we have a special visitor to this meeting? Of course! Kathleen Merryman of the Tacoma News Tribune was in attendance and spent the next day touring the neighborhood with Guy and me. We showed her all the problems we have, told her of the efforts we are all , and of the hopes (dare we dream?) we all have for our community. Read her take on things at First Creek Neighbors you are getting attention!!!

Things are happening so quickly…Next on the agenda for us is dealing with our blackberry encampment issue. We have folks who are either squatting on vacant properties and defecating in public or are living in the blackberries and also carrying on other illegal and/or unsanitary behaviors. We are working on a “committee” to address how to make a concerted effort at eliminating this problem in a way that is a win-win for all. The issue is complicated but not unsolvable.

We have another problem that is being looked into and that is the vacant properties themselves. Many are being foreclosed upon or are bank-owned or otherwise abandoned. Those properties present an issue in that they are unkempt, unsightly, unsafe….you get the picture…in fact, if we just take off the blinders we have convinced ourselves to wear, we can really see the picture for what it is.

We have flowers, plants and trees available to us…free…we just have to pick them up and/or get homeowner permission to plant! Have you ever driven through Bellevue? We may never look as colorful as that but we have an awesome chance here! Can you imagine driving down a street and seeing beautiful flowers and trees…like liquid amber….instead of abandoned, junk vehicles or RV’s that are falling apart or mattresses tossed out on the curb? Or roses splashed against the wall instead of graffiti??? It can happen…ask how??? We need someone to go pick them up in behalf of the group? Anyone going to be in Puyallup????

I still have more free light bulbs from TPU so that you can keep your porch lights on at night….one of the most cost-effective ways to curb crime!!! It is only PENNIES a month!!!!! Contact me and I will be sure you get one! Or if your next door neighbor has a dark yard and could use one, let me know and we can be sure they get one!!! We must make this neighborhood less desirable for the undesirables!!!!

If you haven’t been in touch with me previously, let me know if you enjoy receiving these updates so I will be sure to keep you in the loop. Knowledge is power and I want you to be empowered! First Creek Neighbors are becoming a force to be reckoned with so come on board with us or, at least, let me know to keep you in the loop.

Specific ways you can help?
Call in any suspicious behavior! Then call us!
Report street lights that are out
Report stop signs that are missing
Report Graffiti immediately
Keep your Porch Lights on at Night
Plant a flower or two!!!

Email for more easy ways you can be part of the solution!!!

Just One of Many of First Creek’s Neighbors

p.s. next meeting is November 5th

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Important Telephone Numbers

Where to call for help!

911 Supervisor / 798-4721
Abandoned Vehicles / 591-5926
Adolescent Services, Pierce Co. / 502-5470
Adult Protective Services (State) / 475-7212
AIDS Foundation / 383-2565
Alcoholics Anonymous / 474-8897
Alley Grading / 591-5496
Alley Lighting / 502-8618
Animal Care & Control / 627-7387 (PETS)
Building Inspector / 573-2320
Catholic Community Services / 383-5526
Call-2-Haul (Trash Pick-up) / 573-2468
Cart Recovery (Grocery Stores) / 1-866-906-CART
Centro Latino SER / 572-7717
Child Abuse Hotline / 1-800-363-4276
Child Care Referral / 591-2025
Child Protective Services / 983-6100
Child Reconciliation Services (teens) / 983-6100+2

Community Centers
Portland Ave Community Center / 591-5391
South End Community Center / 591-5098

Comprehensive Mental Health / 756-9960
Consumer Protection, State / 593-2904
Crime-Free Housing / 591-5160
Crisis Line, Pierce County (24 Hrs) / 1-800-576-7764
Disability Employment – TACID / 565-9000 X25
Dispute Resolution, Center for / 572-3657

Crisis Line (24-Hours) / 475-9010
YWCA Hot Line (24-Hour) / 383-2593
Domestic Violence Help Line / 798-4166
(Good Referral Service)
Protection Order / 591-7455

Dump (Landfill), City / 591-5543
Earthquake Preparedness / 798-7470
East Side Boys and Girls Club / 474-2266
Election Office / 798-7430

Private Industry Council / 591-5450
Job Corps / 572-7140
Work Source (Placement—+3or4) / 593-7300
EORC (Education/Jobs) / 572-5960

Energy Conservation Office / 582-8363
Garbage Violations / 591-5543
Gardening / 472-7264
Grandparents Raising Children / 565-4484
Grief, Acquainted with / 272-5558
Hate Crimes / 594-7843
Hazardous Waste Disposal / 591-5418
Health Department, Pierce Co. / 798-6440
Hilltop Action Coalition / 383-3056 X112
Homeownership Center of Tacoma / 627-6560
Human Rights / 591-5151
Humane Society /383-2733
Indo-Chinese Cultural Service Center / 473-5666
Junk Vehicles / 591-5015
HEROS (Outreach to Seniors) / 445-8120

Columbia Legal Services / 572-6000
CLEAR Legal Advice / 1-888-201-1014

Library, Main (Quick Info) / 591-5666
MLK Housing Development / 627-1099

Comprehensive Mental Health / 756-9960
Crisis Line, Pierce Co. (24 Hrs) / 1-800-576-7764
Suicide – Crisis Line / 1-800-576-7764

Narcotics Anonymous / 531-8792
PAAYS / 572-1129
Power outage, fallen wires / 502-8602
Property Owner (Taxpayer) Info / 798-6111
Puyallup Tribe of Indians / 597-6200
Recycling / 565-5955
Refuse (Garbage) / 591-5543
Restraining Order / 591-7455
Safe Streets / 272-6824

Birney ES / 571-4600
Blix ES / 571-1380
Boze ES / 571-4688
Fawcett ES / 571-4700
Fern Hill ES / 571-3888
Larchmont ES / 571-2092
Lister ES / 571-2900
Lyon ES / 571-2090
McKinley ES / 571-2070
Mann ES / 571-6300
Roosevelt ES / 571-4400
Sheridan ES / 571-2076
Stafford ES / 571-4300
Whitman ES / 571-2077
Baker MS / 571-5000
Gault MS / 571-1405
Stewart MS / 571-4200
McIlvaigh MS / 571-2080
Lincoln HS / 571-6700

Sex Offender Releases
Sexual Assault Hotline / 474-7273
Sexual Assault Crisis Center / 597-6424
Shared Housing / 272-1532
Sidewalks hazardous / 591-5270
Speed Reduction Applications / 591-5269
Street Sweeping, Pot-Holes / 591-5495
Streetlighting, Burned-Out / 591-5287
Streetlighting, Upgrading / 591-5278
Suicide – Crisis Line / 1-800-576-7764
Tacoma CARES / 591-5001
Tacoma Community House / 383-3951
Tacoma Housing Authority / 207-4400
Teen-agers in trouble / 1-800-422-7556
Traffic Engineering / 591-5269
Traffic Infractions (leave message) / 594-7873+0
Trash, Curbside Pick-Up (Call-2-Haul) / 573-2468
Trees in Planting Strip, Recommendations / 591-5495
Truancy Center / 571-2123

Urban League, Tacoma / 383-2006
Urban League Academy / 597-6436
Skills Training / 272-8288
School-to-Work/MASAI / 597-6435

Unemployment Info (Work Source) / 593-7300
United Way HELP Line / 572-4357
Voter Registration / 798-7430
Water out, leaks (after hours 502-8344) / 502-8384
WSU Coop. Extension County Office / 798-7180
Master Gardener / 798-7170
Youth-At-Risk (Becca Law) / 798-7944
Youth Outreach (Campfire) / 597-6234
Y.M.C.A. / 597-6444


Mayor, Bill Baarsma / 591-5100
City Council Member Rick Talbert / 591-5100 (office)

County Executive
John Ladenburg / 798-7477

County Council Member
Tim Farrell / 798-7590
Barbara Gelman / 798-6653
Dick Muri / 798-3308

Ken Madsen / 798-6111

Pat McCarthy / 798-3189

Gerald Horne / 798-7400

Governor Christine Gregoire / (360)753-6780

State Representatives - 29th Leg. District
Representative Steve Conway
(Olympia) / (360)786-7906

Legislative Hot-Line / 1-800-562-6000

Representative Steve Kirby
(Olympia) / (360) 786-7996

State Senator
Senator Rosa Franklin / 253-759-9674
(Olympia) / (360) 786-7656

Rob McKenna / (360)753-6200

NATIONAL -- U.S. Representative
Norm Dicks / 593-6536
(Washington, DC) / (202)225-5916

NATIONAL -- U.S. Senators
Maria Cantwell / (206)220-6400
(Washington, DC) / (202)224-3441

Patty Murray / (206)553-5545
(Washington, DC) / (202)224-2621

Emergencies / 911
Non-Emergency Line / 798-4722
Chief of Police / 591-5901

Sector 4 Substation / 594-7947
Commander Lt. Shawn Stringer / 594-7948

Community Liaison Officers (CLO)
Officer Robert Luke / 573-2562

Officer Don Williams / 594-7945

Officer Diana Judge / 573-2556

Community Based Service (CBS) Officer:
Officer Roland "Bert" Hayes / 594-7877

Sex-Offender Violation (TPD detective) / 591-5937
Traffic Infractions (lv. message) / 594-7873+0
C.R.A.K. Hotline / 475-2725
Crime Stopper / 591-5959
Drug House Elimination Team Officer Greg Hopkins / 591-5883

Detective Follow-up
Crimes against Persons / 591-9940
Juvenile Crimes / 591-5933
Property Crimes / 591-5934

Tip-Line / 594-7867
Gang Activity, Vehicle thefts, etc. (Confidential recording)

Complaint about an officer / 591-5990

Community Based Service's / Metting Notice

Eastside what do you need done on your block?

This meeting is very important for you and your neighbors.
The Community Based Service's Group is getting together with only our neighbors to ask us what improvements are needed on our streets. We are now the new CBS area. (Community Based Services)

The city has put together this group of city workers to get rid of the ugliness.
Areas covered are: Follow West I-5 around to I-5 South to Portland Ave. up to 38th St.

What concerns do you have? They can now be taken care of . Potholes, overgrown vegetation, too many cars in a yard, need more street lighting, how about a new play area for kids, garbage cans on corners so the garbage is contained? Neighbor gang or drug problems?

Tell as many neighbors as you can. I can not stress this enough. You must be at this meeting to get your problems on the list or someone else will get their streets cleaned up first. If you have not been involved in your community before now, this is the time to do it.

Let's work together to clean up our neighborhoods. You hear about all the other neighborhoods and their success stories, let's create our own. How would it feel to be able to walk the streets without fear and look around and say 'We did this, It is now a safer, cleaner neighborhood'. It takes all of us.

Look around your neighborhood, make your list and bring it with you to: Lincoln High School on the 22nd of Sept. 7 PM.

Print out the attached postcard and hand it out. Let's do this together. The resources are here. Don't sit back and think someone else will get the job done. It doesn't work like that. We can do this together.

* A reminder: Dometop Alliance meeting: Sat. the 20th of Sept. 3:30 at the Mottett Library. (behind Sector 4)

Speakers: Delores Beason ( The new Portland Ave Middle School Principal) and Officer Don Williams (Gangs in our area, what to look for and the latest Sector 4 Statistics on what crime is happening in our area.

Together we can accomplish 1 task, then 2 ......

Submitted September 17, 2008 by Lynnette Scheidt for the Dometop Alliance.

Problem Solving Ideas

Ideas about how to deal with problem properties in your neighborhood

below is a compilation of a recent training, and many years of experience, it's a lesson I have to work on almost every time I use it, because my first reaction is to REACT appropriately to a situation with the seriousness of it on my life, my family's lives and the neighborhood's lives, it's a good lesson to learn and keep practicing (also attached for those who want to print it out)

Jeanie Peterson
Director of Community Initiatives
Hilltop Action Coalition
1224 S. I St.
Tacoma WA 98405
253-383-3056 ext 112


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has." – Margaret Mead

Problem-solving as the Lowest Level

I rec’d the following message from a community member:
Jeanie, any suggestions regarding how to approach my neighbor about his dogs getting loud every night between 1 AM-3 AM? I wanted to talk to him when I dropped off the neighborhood stuff, but he is never at home when I am. I want to start off on the right foot, and would rather talk to him first before Animal Control gets involved.

The ideal plan is to meet a neighbor before you approach them with an issue, so you have a name, etc. to use when you talk about other things, and have a few facts you can include in your next conversation (i.e. “John, how is your wife’s schooling going?”, etc.). Somewhere in your first or second conversation with a neighbor, you should have the “you-can-contact-me-if-there-are-issues” talk. This can be done by saying, “what we try to do in this neighborhood is to contact each other directly if there are issues, it’s one of the best ways to remain neighborly and address things at the lowest level. So, tell them: “if my dog is ever barking (or my kids are a problem, etc.) feel free to come to me directly”. IF they don’t reply the same way, you can then ask if that would be okay with them if you contact them directly, also.

If that conversation has happened you can contact them and remind them that you had that talk and then discuss the dog, although even then it’s best to do it in a friendly, non-accusatory fashion.

On general principal I usually use the "I'm concerned about you approach", in which you find a chance to talk to him (or leave him a note if you can’t talk directly) with an expression of concern. [Handwrite the note if your penmanship is readable].

"Has there been something happening at your house that would have disturbed the dog last night?”

“I hope everyone is fine. When the dog woke me up, I thought about checking on you, but I looked out the window and didn’t see any lights on…etc.”

This takes them off the defensive (usually) because you are making it about their welfare while at the same time letting them know that the barking woke you up. Most people will say something apologetic back, like: “no, the dog was barking and I should have gotten up,” or “I’m sorry, I was so tired I must have slept right thru it”, etc.

If you want you can include something about the other nights, like:

"The previous two nights the dog was barking during this same time period, (you could ask him if his shift has changed, or if there was something happening in the alley [etc.] over the past 3 nights that might have alerted the dog), this way you are giving him a valid excuse for why the dog HAD been barking, and letting him know that you are aware of the issue.

You can offer your assistance, if he has the dog out for security reasons, you could help him with security tips that would help him secure his house a little better [use the sheet we distribute about making your house more burglar-proof]. But you also need to ask yourself, why the dog is just barking the past 3 nights. IS SOMETHING GOING ON IN THE ALLEY? Did he just get the dog?

Also, while you are awake, you might notice which direction the dog is barking in. Maybe there is criminal activity on the other side of their house that the dog can see but you can’t, the dog may be witnessing something you and your neighbor need to report. But other ideas include: You said you don’t see him when you are home, does he work a strange shift, and could the dog be barking when he comes home [in that case, you could mention something about calming dog anxiety after a master comes home, etc.] Is it a new dog? You could talk about how to quiet down new dogs, and share that with him (again in a helpful way). If you don’t know about any of this you could check out something on the web or do some research and find out what’s suggested by experts, if money is not an issue, you could buy a book on the subject, and offer to let him borrow it/have it, etc..

One of the things I do [and I know it's annoying that we should have to do this (but if a dog is going to keep me awake anyway…)] is that I get up and find out what the dog is barking at. That way the wasted sleep accomplishes something. The same would apply to other things that wake you up: people often say "a [noise] woke me up" (loud party, people on the street, booming car, etc.) or something like that, and they “couldn't get back to sleep”. If you can’t get back to sleep you might as well make the time productive. I always ask if they checked out the ‘thing’ that woke them up, if they called 911 or the non-emergency number, etc. It may be a small issue, like the car, etc. but if it woke you up, it might have woke others. If officers are doing nothing, and happen to be in the area, at least they have something to respond to, and who knows the people in the car could be wanted for something, etc. You may even describe a car they have been looking for, and end up getting a know thug off the streets, etc.

Either way, keep track of the time the dogs barked, I always try to have a pad and paper near my bed, that way I record the exact time, and any details. Then, as that last straw, I use the animal control ordinance and I have the required details:

· 15 minutes of continuous barking in a 1 hour time period
· 3 times in a 7 day period of time

This same principal can apply to most neighborhood situations, the important thing is if possible ‘connect’ with the neighbor, if they are a difficult person, at the very least you can connect on the basis of “wouldn’t you rather have me talk to you and you address this than for me to call the authorities.”

I’m glad you asked this question, I myself need to be reminded that a friendly conversation should always be my first response, today I met the new neighbors who moved in behind me, and as I’m introducing myself, and giving them the “feel free to contact me if there are issues” talk, I also couldn’t stop myself from reminding them that we have several ordinances that will deal with many, and we’d hate to involve the authorities. I felt bad afterwards, and am going to work on that.

A *John Campbell story…
At the training on Saturday (*John Campbell, who is SO KNOWLEDGEABLE about how to handle things of a neighborhood nature) we talked about ‘that problem house on the block’:

He explained there was a house that was trouble, the kids were terrible, the parents didn’t seem to know anything about parenting, and their activity was consistently negatively impacting the block. He decided he needed to do something…the only problem was that they had lived in the neighborhood for over a year and he hadn’t even introduced himself, yet.

And even though he was fuming inside and wanted to talk about all the bad behavior he had been witnessing, he went over, and just introduced himself and apologized for not introducing himself before (he had gotten in the habit, and his kids were so accustomed to it, that when new neighbors moved in they’d automatically bake brownies for him to take over to the new person’s house). The parents introduced themselves, and he left it at that. He went home and wrote down the names immediately (he’s bad with names) so he’d remember them.

The next day and in the days that followed when he’d see them outside he’d ALWAYS say hello and used their names, and greeted them kindly.

A few days later their kids were raising hell on the block, and the following day he saw the parents, and talked to them about children (I think he said he talked about his kids, but it doesn’t really matter, he kept the short conversation friendly and said nothing about the issues that were still VERY FRESH in his mind) during which he learned the names of their children. Over the next few weeks he made a point of talking to the kids and addressing them by name, as well as continuing to speak to the parents every chance he got, always friendly.

Then one night they kids were exceptionally bad, and he saw the parents the next day, he mentioned something about kids being kids and the parents said that if he ever had problems with them he could talk to the parents about it, and though he wanted to unload a whole years worth of issues he didn’t, instead he said okay, and left it at that.

But as the weeks/months went on he began to talk to the parents about the behaviors, a little at a time and always kindly.

A few years later every house on the block got burglarized except his.

I questioned that though this made it better for him, in effect, all he had done was made friends with felons, and though that saved his house, things didn’t get better for the neighbors. As an individual you did a good job of protecting you, but many of us think as Block Leaders and we need to also help the rest of the block, so on houses like this I usually try to find the biggest hammers I can and then use them on a house like this. John agreed. He said that there was much more to the story, that things did get better on the block for him and the rest of the neighbors, but that eventually it led to them suing the family; they lost the house over it, etc.

John talked more about problem-solving. Normally, if we have a problem, we think about police, because police ARE supposed to help solve problems, but police aren’t the ONLY problem-solvers, in fact, they shouldn’t be the first people we think about when there’s a problem (unless it’s a major crime).

Sometimes you and your neighbors are the best problems solvers:

Honking Horns:
John is great, he talked about how some people think that the thing in the center of you steering wheel is a door bell, they pull up in front of a house and honk the horn. So, if it keeps happening treat it accordingly. Normally (if we weren’t SO AWARE of knuckleheads and their behaviors), if someone were repeatedly honking like that, people would assume it’s an emergency, so treat it that way. Arrange with your neighbors to have as many of them as can (and can do it sincerely) come out to the car, and say “Are you okay? We thought something was terribly wrong because you were honking like that, are you okay?” It usually will stop them from doing it again, but if it doesn’t do it again. These types of methods work with most cases. But make sure that participants can pull it off, or it could turn into a worse situation.

Sometimes it’s someone you wouldn’t normally think about:
John is from Portland OR, and their equivalent of our Community Liaison Officer (Police, chronic-issue specialist) had called a landlord about a house that had been suspected of being a drug house. Before he was even done telling the landlord what had been witnessed the landlord cut him off and said that he resented the officer’s assumptions about his tenants, and that the officer was never to call him again. So, the officer thought, who else is a problem-solver in this situation, and he checked the tax rolls and learned that the house was mortgaged. So, he called the mortgage company and talked to a person there about the issue.

He told them the house’s location, and the name of the landlord, he said “isn’t there a clause in the mortgage contract that says that the house has to be used for ‘legal purposes’. And asked them if they “wanted to be known as the Mortgage Company that finances drug houses.” After he hung up, within 30 minutes he received a phone call from the landlord, “I’m sorry, officer, we must have had a bad connection during that last phone call…” and they worked together to get the tenants out. Turns out the landlord didn’t know about the crime-free housing program, and many other things he could do to insure that he didn’t end up with these types of tenants. They never had trouble with his house again.

There are other problem-solvers, just think of EVERYONE involved in a situation. “Break it down” was the term John uses, take a situation and break it down into it's many parts and look at each part to see who/what else is involved/could be involved.

One of the lady’s (older, grandmother-looking) from the East Side of Tacoma, who lives near an area that’s experienced prostitution goes out and talks to the prostitutes herself:

“I’m sorry, are you okay?” She’ll asks in all sincerity. “People say this is an area of prostitution, and I wanted to make sure you were okay.” “Can you imagine people having sex on this corner? Are you okay?” etc. It helps encourage them to move along.

Submitted September 16, 2008 by Edwina

Tacoma Nuisance Ordinance

City of Tacoma Nuisance Ordinance

In January 2007 the City Council voted to strengthen and enforce the revised nuisance codes by abating (cleaning up) nuisances that property owners do not clean up on their own. The nuisance code amendments include, but are not limited to, the following features:

• A call is placed to report a code violation

• Once the call is taken, a code enforcement officer will drive to the address, take a picture of the violation and post a notice with the picture on the violator’s front door.

• A letter to the property and the property owner will be sent with details of the violation.

• Eighteen (18) days will be given the property owner to amend the violation.

• IF, after 18 days, the violation has not been addressed by the property owner, the City will send a crew to clean up the violation.

• The property owner will be charged for the clean up; which generally runs about $1,700.00 and up. (so far, the experience is that most property owners clean up on their own property once they get the notice.)

As of January only 3% of violations have been cleaned up by City staff.

The nuisance code amendments address issues related to the timely removal of nuisances such as (but not limited to):



• Animal waste/feces or parts which are improperly handled, contained, or removed from the premises; including bones, meats, hides, skins, or any part of any dead animal, fish, or foul.

• Animal manure or excreta in any quantity which is not securely protected from flies and the elements and which is likely to become putrid, offensive, and injurious to the public health.

• Overgrown, uncultivated, or unkempt vegetation of any type, including, but not limited to, shrubs, brush, trees, weeds, blackberries, and grasses over one foot in height or length.

• Where a single parcel is undeveloped and over one acre in area, elimination of the fire hazard presented by vegetation may be accomplished by removing the vegetation from the area within 20 feet of abutting, improved properties.

• Inappropriate disposal or accumulation of vegetation waste, including, but not limited to, grass clippings, cut brush, cut trees, and/or cut weeds.

• Weeds, foliage, grass, shrubs, or other vegetation which constitute a fire hazard, or encroaches on sidewalks, alleys or neighboring properties, is damaging public improvements, or subjects neighboring residential properties to weed growth.

• Storing of flammable junk on any real estate, including but not limited to old rags, rope, cordage, rubber, boxes, or paper.

• Storing outside a completely enclosed building items that constitute a threat to the public health, safety or welfare, including but not limited to: old or scrap rope, batteries, paper, trash, rubber debris, tires, waste, used lumber or salvaged wood, machinery or appliances or parts of such machinery or appliances, vehicular component parts, iron, steel, old or scrap household goods or hardware, medications, medical supplies, or medical devices, cut brush or wood including dead or decaying plant material except s contained in a compost pile or orderly stacked firewood if cut in lengths of four feet or less.



• The existence of any screening which is in a falling, decayed, dilapidated, or unsafe condition.

• Any unsightly, abandoned, or deteriorated building or structure, or any building or structure constructed with inappropriate materials or improperly fastened together of anchored against forces of nature.

• Any building or structure where construction was commenced and the building or structure was left unfinished.

• Missing and/or broken gutters; broken and/or missing windows; peeled, blistered paint; foundation has holes and cracks; railings and/or steps are broken; missing siding; chimney falling apart parts of roof is missing and has holes in it.

• Burning or disposal of refuse, sawdust, or other material in such a manner as to cause or permit ashes, sawdust, soot, or cinders to be cast upon the streets or alleys of the City, or to cause of permit the smoke, ashes, soot, or gases arising from such burning to become annoying or to injure or endanger the health, comfort, or repose of said persons.


Parking of vehicles on residential property

The primary function of yards on single-family residential lots is to provide access to light and air and to provide circulation, recreation, and landscaping around the primary single-family dwelling building, which are beneficial to the general health and welfare of the community. This section establishes standards by which parking vehicles on single-family residential lots are allowable.

• Vehicles parked in the side or rear yard area of single-family residential lots shall be limited to those lots which have legal access from the adjacent street or alley and shall be limited to four vehicles or to no more that 60 percent of the combined side and rear year area, whichever is less.

• Vehicles parked in the front yard of single-family residential lots, although discouraged where alley access is available, shall be limited to those lots which have legal access from the adjacent street or alley. Parking of vehicles in front yards shall be on a properly prepared and contained all-weather surface, including, but not limited to, concrete, asphalt, gravel, approved permeable paving materials, or other material approved in accordance with TMC 2.02.

• The total number of vehicles parked or stored in the open on a single-family residential lot shall be no more that six (6).

• Inoperable vehicles stored on single-family residential lots shall be limited to the rear yard area. Screening shall be provided between the inoperable vehicles and adjacent properties or rights-of-way.

• All private vehicles which are fully enclosed within a legally constructed garage or other structure are not considered as part of the allotted number of vehicles for purpose of this section.


Abandoned Autos
What is an abandoned vehicle?

Abandoned vehicles are ones that have been left on City street and may have one or more of the following characteristics:

• Dismantled

• In a state of disrepair (broken windows, sitting on blocks, etc.)

• Stripped of major parts

• Missing license plates

• Filled with garbage

• Sitting in the same sport for seven or more days and appears non-operational

• In front of a residence in which owners have moved away. Most abandoned vehicles are left by people unknown to those living in the neighborhood.

How do I get rid of abandoned vehicles in my neighborhood?

The City of Tacoma will help if the vehicle is considered an abandoned vehicle. Call the abandoned vehicle hotline at (253) 591-5926. The abandoned vehicle enforcement officer will not respond to neighborhood parking problems, including:

• Vehicles parked illegally

• Vehicles with expired licenses

• **Recreational vehicles parked on City rights of way.

Please call the Tacoma police Department non-emergency number (253) 798-4721 and choose option 1 (one) for those types of vehicle problems.

**City Ordnance (per Terry Rucker; road use compliance officer City of Tacoma) states that RVs, Trailers, Utility Trailers, and/or trucks w/trailers attached MUST be driven and/or used every 7 (seven) days and currently licensed.

It is a violation if any vehicle is parked on sidewalk, alley, etc.


Telephone Numbers
To report an unkempt property 591-5001

Dumpster and Disposal 591-5634
Household Debris Removal 573-2468
TAGRO Mix 502-2150
Abandoned Vehicle 591-5926
Neighborhood Parking Problem 798-4721 option 1 (one)
(Police Non-Emergency number)

Important City Telephone Numbers

Frequently Called Numbers
City of Tacoma Services

General Information: (253) 591-5000
8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday – Friday

[Deaf, hard of hearing or speech disabled persons may contact us through Washington Relay Services 1-800-833-6388 (TTY or ASCII) 1-800-833-6386 (VCO) or 1-877-833-6341 (STS)]

Police (emergency)

Police (non-emergency)

Abandoned vehicle (City streets)

Abandoned vehicle complaints (Private Property)

Call-2-Haul 573-2468
E-mail: Solid waste

Streetlights (burned out)

Tacoma CARES

Graffiti hotline

Traffic signs

Street repair and Potholes

Street flooding

Overgrown vegetation

Alarm compliance

Parking tickets

Animal control

TAGRO biosolids products
E-mail: Tagro

Building & Land Use

Police information (recording)

Building inspections

Building permits

Power outages, fallen wires, etc.

Business licenses

Public Assembly Facilities(Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center)

Public Works Information Center

Child care referral
E-mail: Child care

Recycling schedule
E-mail: Solid waste

Beacon Senior Center

Lighthouse Senior Center

Sewer backups (24 hour)

Clean Bay Car Wash kits

Sidewalks (hazardous)
E-mail: Sandra Guffey

Click! Network

City Clerk's Office

Community & Economic Development (Gen. Info)

Construction drawings & maps

Tacoma Dome 24-hour event line

Tacoma Dome

Fire (Gen. Info) (Emergency)

Traffic signals

E-mail: Solid waste

govME Web site info.

Tacoma Public Library

Hazardous waste
E-mail: Solid waste

Hearing Examiner (Gen. Info)

Trees in right-of-way

Housing discrimination

Utilities customer service

Human Resources (Gen. Info)

Yard waste
E-mail: Solid waste

Water outages. leaks, etc.

Illegal parking

Water outages, leaks, etc. After business hours)

Neighborhood Councils
E-mail: Elton Gatewood

Human Rights & Human Svcs. (TTY)

Community Relations Office
E-mail: Rob McNair-Huff

Long-range Planning
591-5373 or 591-5210

City Manager's Office

Land use planners

Mayor / City Council
E-mail: Cindy DeGrosse

October Meeting Flyer

You Are Invited to Attend the Monthly Neighborhood Meeting of
First Creek Neighbors

October 1, 2008
6:30 pm-8:30pm
Portland Avenue Community Center
3513 Portland Ave.

Who will be there?
· First Creek Neighbors
· Tacoma Police Department
· Puyallup Tribal Police
· City Code Enforcement
· Many Others

What will we discuss?
· Your Ideas for Community Involvement
· Opportunities to Make a Difference
· Ways to work together even better to make neighborhood cleaner and safer
· Easy Ways You Can HELP
· How to get RESULTS

Free Energy Saving Light Bulbs
Courtesy of Tacoma Power

Your Attendance Would Be Most Appreciated
For more information call Tiffeny 405-9007
Here is the flyer for anyone who wants to help distribute them or who can post them in their place of business or what have you….Please let me know if you plan to pass out flyers and where so that we don’t inundate some neighbors and forget others. We want to include everyone. Please take a partner. If you don’t have one let me know and I will go with you or find someone else who can. When passing out flyers feel free to give them my number below as an additional resource and if it seems appropriate ask for their number to add to our phone tree. These will hopefully also be distributed at a movie event at the park which is happening Friday evening. Sorry I don’t have the exact info but if you want to know more about that email Edwina.

Lena T.

Eastside Community Meeting Notes / September 2008

Hello Everyone,

More exciting news on the horizon!
Some of us went to the meeting at Lincoln High last night. Some of the highlights…..

Lt. Stringer told me we are going to be the next CBS area and expects that to happen in January, if I remember correctly. He also stressed how impressed with our energy and enthusiasm and assured us that he is there to support us.

Jeanie Peterson is looking at doing some mentoring for us and going on some patrols, too.

We also met a representative from the schools, Kate Frazier. She is the Liaison for the School, Family & Community Partnership Program. She’s the one who organized that major clean-up back in the spring. You may know her from that. Anyhow….it was exciting because they have that new school with no name…..kind of like the horse with no name but this isn’t a desert……dating myself..LOL….Well 3 names have been proposed….

1.Eastside Academy (in my opinion--- too generic and is not going to be something the students can be proud of)

2. Something in honor of the Delin family (my opinion---great idea and something to be proud of but not something the students can personally connect with unless they come from that family)

3. First Creek….(my opinion---that is the best of all and not because I am partial (although it would lend a lot of credibility to our efforts and give us more publicity) but because it creates a sense of community and collaboration with the tribe, gives students something to be proud of as they work with us to create a better community and is looking toward the future and the potential of each student to make a difference. Another reason for this name is to honor the students themselves. The school is going to be doing an environmental stewardship program which will get the students directly involved in the neighborhood…..helping to clean up, helping our elderly to take care of their yards, planting flowers and trees……and so forth….They are looking for sponsors for T-shirts to give to those students with the school name on it….

So, you can choose door #1, #2, or #3 tonight (Tuesday) at McIlvaigh at 6pm (1801 E. 56th St). ….go cast our vote…if you absolutely can’t make it tonight you can go To Gault on Thursday (1115 E. Division Ln.)

Edwina went home last night to write up a compelling rationale for the First Creek name….

Eventually I hope to see the students doing murals…..maybe a carwash at the park??? The possibilities are endless…

Next Citizens’ Patrol Class will be at Salishan Family Investment Center at 1724 E. 44th St. Participants learn how to safely combat crime in their neighborhoods. Training lasts three sessions -- Oct. 9, 16 and 23 -- from 7-9 p.m. To register, e-mail David Cantlin at, call 253-272-6824 or visit

Other business…..
Community Involvement Opportunity
We are going to be asked to measure our success and in by January we need a baseline from which to measure. We must know where we are now in order to see how far we will have come at that future date. So we need someone who likes compiling information and keeping records….perhaps in a spreadsheet…..We need to be able to document our successes because, as the Chief of Police said last night, people get motivated by results. We’ve also heard Officer Williams talk about the city being statistic-driven…..We are shutting down drug houses, arrests are being made, code violations are getting cleaned up, etc. Do any of you like doing this sort of thing?

We got free light bulbs again last night. I would like to contact the power company and ask if they can come to our next meeting and do that.

Joanne had the idea of announcing our meeting on Channel 12 since it is a public service announcement.

I am working on getting ready for the next meeting. Flyers will be ready by Friday since there is an event at the park where they can be distributed…..We could use some folks to get out over the weekend and hand these out…..The patrols can also do that while they are out. Anybody??? I will try my best to be available to anybody who needs a partner for foot patrol or handing out flyers. Just let me know.

Because of the new AIA (Alcohol Impact Area) we, as citizens, are going to be asked to keep an eye out at the neighborhood stores to monitor whether or not the stores are complying and not selling those certain types of alcohol. This starts October first.

A couple of our patrollers had an interesting experience yesterday. They told me about a certain suspected use for the black plastic bags that the liquor stores hand out so that is going to have to be addressed since it can be described as disgusting to civilized society.

More good news….Officer Hayes to make another two arrests at one of the closed-down meth house. Hoorah!

Guy came upon some more (pretty powerful---I mean POWERFUL) evidence against our meth ring that he turned over to Bert, as well.

Edwina, Please, pass this on to anyone else who needs to know this…Thank you!!


Submitted September 23, 2008 by Lena Thompson

September 2008 / Meeting Notes #2

Hello First Creek Neighbors & Friends!

Another amazing turnout at the neighborhood meeting last week! We got updates on the latest code enforcement, the latest drug house closure, the tribal police, Metro Parks, World Vision, David Whited, Block Watch, Citizens’ Patrol, T.E.A.M., etc. It truly is a beautiful thing to see so many entities working together and accomplishing so much. We also had a surprise visitor of distinction….our City Manager, Eric Anderson himself!!!! How about that for results!!! He is truly impressed with our efforts and enthusiasm here in the First Creek Neighborhood. Liz Fortenbury from TCC told us of the Puget Sound college-level initiative to get students more involved in their neighborhoods. So we can look forward to more support from TCC, UW and others!!!

There are lots of ways to volunteer. Jeanie Peterson of the Hilltop Action Coalition says she asks her group for just one hour a month. What could you do for one hour? Or 15 minutes a week? Or two minutes a day? It all adds up and it is all beneficial. Upcoming and on-going opportunities abound and include such things as just being on the phone tree, keeping your porch light on at night, cleaning up around your house and block even if you didn’t make the mess, being a Block Watch Coordinator for your block, Designing a logo, making copies of flyers, reporting suspicious activity even if you think somebody else already called or even if you think it won’t matter---because the city keeps statistics if nothing else, planting flowers and trees, painting over graffiti, being a citizens’ patrol volunteer, tutoring at the park, etc. It’s all about being a good neighbor!

We also had an amazing presence at a special workshop by John Campbell on Saturday of last week. Folks from various Tacoma neighborhoods were there but we had the most people!!! John is a reknowned expert on solving neighborhood issues and overcoming challenges. His ideas are unique and useful. (If you’d like a recap of that, let me know and I will send out Jeanie’s version to you.) People from all over Tacoma were there, including Code Enforcement officials, CBS representatives, CLO’s, Assistant Chief Sheehan, and Eric Anderson. The food was great and it was a day well worth spending. If you ever get a chance to attend one of John’s trainings you should DEFINITELY Go!!! Did I say we got in for free?!?!?!

John suggested we each make it a goal to meet at least 6 neighbors and get to know them by name. We don’t have to be friends to be good neighbors. It makes it a lot easier to talk about a problem if you already know each other by name over a period of time.

3 things necessary for crime to occur:
1. Ravenous Wolves aka criminals
2. Sitting Ducks aka victims
3. Dens of Iniquity aka opportunities
We can decrease crime by educating would-be victims and helping them to feel safe and protected. (knowing our neighbors, block watches, phone tree, citizens’ patrol)
We can decrease crime by keeping the neighborhood and our homes clean, secure, and free of hiding places (shadows, overgrown bushes and blackberries, abandoned vehicles)
By doing these few things we make it less inviting for the wolves.

For more of John’s ideas go to

We also got free energy-saving light bulbs from the city so we can all keep our porch lights on at night. Criminals are like cockroaches…they don’t like light! It’s a great way to deter crime for only pennies a month! (Requires less than one minute a day to turn on at night and turn off in the morning)

Rumor has it that we will be the next CBS area so there is an upcoming opportunity to show our numbers and be heard. Here is an excerpt of an email I got:

What concerns do you have? They can now be taken care of . Potholes, overgrown vegetation, too many cars in a yard, need more street lighting, how about a new play area for kids, garbage cans on corners so the garbage is contained? Neighbor gang or drug problems? Tell as many neighbors as you can.I can not stress this enough. You must be at this meeting to get your problems on the list or someone else will get their streets cleaned up first. If you have not been involved in your community before now, this is the time to do it. Let's work together to clean up our neighborhoods.You hear about all the other neighborhoods and their success stories, let's create our own. How would it feel to be able to walk the streets without fear and look around and say 'We did this, It is now a safer, cleaner neighborhood'.It takes all of us. Look around your neighborhood, make your list and bring it with you to: Lincoln High School on the 22nd of Sept. 7 PM.

Our next First Creek Neighborhood meeting will be Wednesday, October 1st at 6:30 pm. We hope to see you there!

As recommended by John Campbell, the first fifteen minutes will be for discussion of new concerns, question, or suggestions. If there is an issue or project you want us to work on, bring your skills and be prepared to lead the project or volunteer to find others who can. It is each of our jobs to take on as much leadership as we can bear to address the issues at hand.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”—Edmund Burke

We all must be PART of the SOLUTION or we are part of the problem. Newcomers are welcome and we realize they may need some time to digest things before being ready to help out but we value each and every one who attends!

(Please spread the word to those who are not on my email list)

Submitted September 19, 2008 by Lena T.

September 2008 / Meeting Notes

Hello Everyone,

We had an awesome group of people last night, didn’t we? Thanks to everyone’s hard work! Special thanks to Annette & Jennifer who filled in at the last minute and did an awesome job explaining the importance of the phone tree and the block watch. It was really great that they stressed that these numbers will not be shared outside this group.

I’ve been asked to update the phone tree since many of you have been out talking to so many neighbors. I suppose we should get together and share notes on the goings-on in the neighborhood. Is everyone comfortable with that? What’s a good day/time? Place? That coffee shop up on 34th & McKinley???

If it’s easier we could do most or all of our block watch/phone tree updating by email. However, there are some of you who have not met yet and it would be good to put faces to names.

If you want to drop off or email me what you’ve got so far I can get the updated list ready before we meet. It’s great if we get emails, too, because we can send routine stuff that way.

Special thanks to Joanne and Theresa who helped out tons by calling people with no emails. It takes a lot of time to call all those people but they really came through.

For those of you who haven’t been to the Safe Streets Block Watch training you might want to go. (It’s totally different than the patrol training. Only one day for an hour or two.) It’s pretty much common sense but if you can glean even one thing from it, it would be time well-spent.

I was hoping someone would supply us with decals or signs to put in our windows that say block watch or neighborhood watch or whatever. We could make our own? What do you think? Anybody good at that sort of thing? That would be a good thing to pass out to the good guys….

What do you think about T-shirts….maybe neon orange??? With our logo so we look more official when we are out passing out flyers. Why should the patrol get all the cool stuff????

Eventually we hope to be so well organized that one or two people are going to call only the people on their block.

Submitted September 11, 2008 by Lena T.

September Meeting Flyer

You Are Invited to Attend the Monthly Neighborhood Meeting of

First Creek Neighbors
September 10, 2008
6:30 pm-7:30pm
Portland Avenue Community Center
3513 Portland Ave.

Who will be there?
· First Creek Neighbors
· Tacoma Police Department
· Puyallup Tribal Police
· City Code Enforcement
· Tacoma Cares

What will we discuss?
· Recent Successes Cleaning up Crime and Blight
· Ways to work together even better to make neighborhood cleaner and safer
· Ways you can help
· How to get RESULTS

Door Prize!!!!
Your Attendance Would Be Most Appreciated
For more information call Tiffeny 405-9007


Hello Everyone,
I just wanted to remind you of the meeting this week on Wednesday. Thanks to all of you who have been helping pass out flyers. We should have an awesome turnout thanks to all your hard work!!! I’ve attached a copy in case you need to print out more. Continue to spread the word and let people know that if they can send at least one member of their household such as a teenager or if they can come late it is ok. Thanks again!

Submitted September 9, 2008 by Lena T.

Safe Streets / Community Event

Neighborhood groups to march against crime

Published: September 4th, 2008 01:00 AM

Twelve neighborhood groups will take to the streets Friday in what’s being billed as the biggest and most collaborative demonstration against crime in Tacoma. The purpose of the demonstration is to send criminals the message to get out and to enhance residents’ awareness of crime in their neighborhoods and the community, said Darren Pen of Safe Streets, which is organizing the event.

Participating will be:
• South Yakima Citizens Neighborhood Group.
• Fern Hill Neighborhood Watch Group.
• Larchmont Safe Streets Neighborhood Group.
• Upper Pacific Avenue Group.
• Wapato Group.
• Stewart Heights Neighborhood Watch Group.
• Park Avenue Neighborhood Group.
• Pacific Avenue Business District.
• Lincoln LAWGs.
• Lincoln South Neighbors.
• Lincoln West Neighborhood.
• Mann Neighborhood Group.

Each group will meet at its designated site at 5:30 p.m. to paint signs. Members will march from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Safe Streets will provide all the materials.
A map of the march locations is available at
Stacey Mulick, The News Tribune

Information submitted September 5, 2008 by Lena T.

Phone Tree Information

Just a quick note about our phone tree. Its purpose is to enable us to contact one another in the case of an emergency or other urgent matters. Oftentimes the police will not respond to a low priority calls unless at least 3 people call in so that is another reason to have this in place. As Don mentioned at the meeting the city is statistic-driven so the more we all call the more attention we get, the more funding we get, the more effective we can be.

By the way, one of our block captains reported this week that a drug house got closed down on their block so we are getting results just by talking to one another, keeping our eyes and ears open, keeping records, and calling the appropriate authorities.

We Have Power in Numbers!
In case you do not know, this is how calls receive priority:

Critical-Immediate (Crimes in progress, serious threat to life---Stabbing, shooting, officer down, armed robbery, injured persons)

First Priority (Crimes in progress, Prevention of casualty, probability of apprehension---alarms, physical altercations, injury accidents, suspicious persons, vehicle prowlers)

Immediate Dispatch (threat of violence or injury---physical disturbances, verbal disputes, threats, some property crimes)

Prompt Dispatch (minor thefts, vandalism, violation of court orders, non-violent crime, suspicious activity)

Non-Emergency/Nuisance Complaints (Noise, parties, minor disturbances, disorderly conduct)

If someone on your block has already volunteered to work on the phone tree you could still help with another block. Or you could assist the person who has already started working on it.

When working on this phone tree (we need names, addresses, phone numbers, and emails), it is important to approach the people you know and feel comfortable talking to. Do not put yourself in danger by going alone to knock on doors of people you do not know. Always take a partner with you.

We want to be non-combative, non-confrontational, pro-active, and neighborly in our approach.

Another way to help (again if you feel comfortable) would be to pass out invitation flyers for the next meeting at the same time you work on the phone tree.

If you think about the concept of six degrees of separation, the impact you, as one individual, can have is tremendous!

(Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth.)

We are ALL busy, but by helping just as much or as little as you feel comfortable you have the ability to impact the synergy we are creating in our neighborhood.

1. The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.

I also need help calling people on the phone who did not provide an email address but who came to the neighborhood meeting. We need to determine their level of interest and concern and ask if they are willing to help in any little way at all.

Please, let me know what you are willing to do. You are ALL VIP’s on this team and you are ALL the MVP’s. If we work cooperatively we can accomplish so much more.

Submitted August 16, 2008 by Lena T.

August 2008 / Meeting Notes

Thank you to all of you who were able to attend last night’s neighborhood meeting!!!! Just your very presence there meant a great deal.

Thank you also for all of you who volunteered to help Laura this weekend and Sam next Saturday and for those who expressed an interest in helping to organize their blocks and possibly being part of the citizen’s patrol. For those who didn’t sign up at this time, we know there is a place for everyone even if it is in being part of a phone tree for your block or taking note of suspicious activity when you are out walking your dog or driving home from work! Everyone is valuable and appreciated no matter how much or how little they are comfortable doing. I realize some are still skeptical and/or apprehensive but there is safety in numbers and united we stand!!! We are gaining momentum and seeing amazing results and it is only going to expand and increase.

We certainly had an unbelievable turn-out, didn’t we? 53 on the sign-in sheet and that doesn’t include our CLO’s and Tribal Police…I think I counted 4 or 5 of those! Thanks to them as well. It is so wonderful to be working in concert with so many of you!!!

For those who weren’t able to make it last night…..John impressed us all with before and after pictures of some of the code violations he’s gotten cleaned up!!! He is really working hard and deserves our support and cooperation. We have to get rid of the blight so that the bad guys we get rid of do not want to come back and so that any new bad guys don’t want to move in. Folks can get two free pick-ups a year from Call-2-Haul…spread the word! Next neighborhood clean-up is August 23rd…meet at 9am at the park….contact Samantha if you want to volunteer or if you need anything picked up….

Chris wowed us with slides of the First Creek (former) dumping site and METH lab clean up and shared a story of a couple of neighborhood children who were so thrilled that our environment is being restored. One of the slides showed a colorful canister that would be appealing to young kids but that is associated with meth. We are taking this neighborhood back!!!

David shared the vision the tribe has for cleaning up the entire creek and possibly putting in an interpretive center where young people (aren’t we all young?) could learn about the original settlement. There will hopefully soon be walking trails down there, too. David said that if good people are able to go down there and use the space then the not-so-good people will NOT want to be there!

Edwina reported that ____ tons of garbage were hauled off at our last clean-up and that ____hundred tires were taken as well. (sorry I don’t have the exact figures there) Edwina also reminded us of the importance of introducing ourselves to new neighbors (southern hospitality style) and the common sense of simply being good neighbors. She is awesome, isn’t she?

Don spoke about gangs and said there were around 50 in Tacoma and we have some problems here with a few rival gangs. The McKinley station has free paint and brushes to paint over graffiti and the tribe has a volunteer crew that goes out on Saturdays. WE really need to be quick about getting rid of those messages so that the gangs know we mean business! Unfortunately, homeowners can be fined if it isn’t taken care of promptly. Don encouraged us to call in the non-emergency number (798-4721) for any suspected gang activity we see. More on that later…..He stressed that we need to use the problem house forms to keep a record of suspicious activity in our area because the city uses the statistics to decide where to focus their efforts in order to be the most effective. It really helps them build a body of evidence that can be used to make arrests if necessary. Don’t despair if you call something in and don’t seem to get a response…..every call adds up and the statistics will eventually lead to solutions!

Our newly appointed but very experienced CLO was introduced to us. We are extremely happy to have our very own CLO now! She already took action on the Browning St. dumping! She prefers email if you need to relate anything to her. She is so dedicated she even checks her email from home!

Guy was thrilled that several want to attend the training classes for citizens’ patrol and/or assist. He believes a proactive approach to increase awareness of the programs available (Call-2-Haul, Graffiti abatement, etc) can be an important part of what they do. He wanted to stress that you can be involved formally or informally. It is simply being the eyes and ears of our police force so if you are out and see anything suspicious make a record of it or call it in, please.

Of course, I am working on organizing every block so that we can support one another and so that we can identify ways to make our blocks less desirable to criminals and deadbeats. I am looking for block point persons and would like to create phone trees and email trees for everyone on the block. Don gave an example of an undesirable person walking down our block and every house he passes flips on the porch light some before the person even gets that far….it will make them want to leave!!

There is a place for all….we need volunteers to see, hear, write, phone, plant, paint, clean, haul, patrol, report, people to invite others to join us and to spread the word about our successes, and people to pass out flyers for the next meeting (Wednesday September 10th at 6:30pm at the park). Just tell me what your strengths are and what your comfort level is and we will find a place for you!

Anyone have an idea for a name for our group?

Email or call us anytime for more information or for copies of forms or flyers or whatever.

Meeting notes submitted August 8, 2007 by:

Guy T. & Lena T.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tacoma CARES

What is Tacoma CARES?

The power of partnership. . .YOU and Tacoma CARES
A cleaner neighborhood is a safer neighborhood—that's the spirit behind Tacoma CARES (Cleanup And Revitalization EffortS.) Since 1995 Tacoma CARES has worked with people like you to strengthen and preserve the livability of the City of Tacoma. What does Tacoma CARES do for you?

Community Activities
Cleanup and beautification projects
Whether it's cleaning up litter from a gulch or helping to arrange a beautification project, Tacoma CARES can help you. Solid Waste Management's "Blight Mobile" can help you dispose of litter and debris on streets, alleys and other public right-of-ways.

Code enforcement
The Tacoma CARES program enforces the following:

Nuisances (primarily litter and debris)
Junk vehicles on private property
Minimum Building and Structures Code (dealing with the condition or existing buildings)
Overgrown vegetation on private property
Abandoned Autos

To report any violations please call 591-5001. To report graffiti please call our 24-hour graffiti message line at 591-5691.

To read more about Tacoma CARES and how they can help you, visit their website:


Community Based Services:

Jennie Reed - The group reached out to Safe Streets to help organize greater participation. The monthly community meeting is being held in Room 1210 of the Tacoma Police Department Headquarters’ Building on the second Wednesday of every month. Officer Don Williams has been assigned as the area Community Liaison Officer.

38th Street/Lincoln - Tacoma’s newest CBS area is working on community priorities. The area is much larger then previous CBS areas. The city is working with community members to establish strong lines of communication. As community priorities are established, the CBS Team is addressing them to make a stronger, safer, and cleaner community.


Lower Portland Community - The Lower Portland Avenue Community has been meeting to reduce crime and blight. The neighborhood held a community clean-up that recovered several tons of garbage. This event also facilitated bringing members of the community together.

Pacific Avenue Prostitution - The reports of prostitution are down over 50% from 2007 to 2008. Tacoma Police officers have conducted dozens of high profile emphasis missions in that area to address the past prostitution problems that have occurred.

This is the monthly report, which was posted on:

Safe Streets / Community Resource

What does Safe Streets do?

The Safe Streets Campaign connects you with necessary community resources to tackle your community’s challenges. When you form a Safe Streets block group, you will become a part of a larger network that works, solves and prevents community problems together. As a part of Safe Streets, you’ll learn how to entice your neighbors to help and get out into the community. Together, we’ll create active and involved neighborhoods.

They have a very good website with information about getting involved, youth action, resources, and news and events. Be sure to look at the "Tips and Advice" section located under resources. In that area, you will find the following:

When to Call 9-1-1
How calls receive priority
Join a Community Group
Neighborhood Councils and Associations
Blighted/Abandoned Properties
Abandoned and Junk vehicles
Vehicle Prowls
Mail and Identity Theft

To learn more about this important community resource please visit the Safe Streets website: