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

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