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City of Tacoma

Tacoma Citizens for Schools

UPDATE, Feb. 12: Adds preliminary results for some school districts, including Tacoma, Bellevue and Burlington-Edison and comments from the state superintendent. 

School districts around the Puget Sound region are taking stock of initial voting results for bond measures and levies. According to the state superintendent's office, almost 90 percent of local capital and operating levies are passing. 

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

It's not only a new year but Jan. 1 also marks the start of new regulations on recycling for residents of King and Pierce counties.  

Seattle Public Utilities and King County Solid Waste are no longer accepting plastic bags or plastic wraps in curbside bins. (Pierce County already made this change). Instead, residents are asked to bundle these thin plastics up at home and take them to drop off sites at retail stores.

The main reason for the change is that thin plastics get caught in the gears of the sorting machines that separate different kinds of recycling. 

West Coast cities, including Seattle and Portland, have had states of emergency in place around homelessness for several years. But many of those declarations are open-ended, lacking definitions of what it would take to end the crisis.

Tacoma City Council members settled on such a definition last week.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma has invested millions of dollars in a sanctioned encampment where caseworkers act to move people from homelessness to housing. 

With funding for the "stability site" set to run out at the end of the year, city officials are now weighing the program's cost and effectiveness as they consider how, and whether, to keep it open. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Voters in this fall's election made Tacoma the first city in Washington state to say yes to an expansion of arts and culture programs funded by a new sales tax.

Will James / KNKX

This is a breaking news story. We will update this post with new information as it develops. 

U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials have opened an investigation into the death of an immigrant detainee in Tacoma last month.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Leaders in Tacoma, home to one of the nation's largest detention centers for immigrants facing deportation, may vote Tuesday to express disapproval with the Trump administration's approach to border enforcement.

Will James / KNKX

City Council members, a congressman — even a U.S. senator — gathered Monday to celebrate the start of a new light rail project that will one day speed people through Tacoma's busiest corridors. 

But local leaders also sought to assuage fears that the project will accelerate gentrification in the Hilltop, a historically African-American neighborhood that has already undergone drastic changes as Tacoma's housing costs soar.

Will James / KNKX

This story originally aired on November 18, 2017.

If you go to the base of Point Defiance in Tacoma and look east, you'll see a finger of earth jutting into Puget Sound. 

It formed as toxic slag spilled from a copper smelter during the city's industrial heyday. 

For years, it was a foreboding sliver of black, glassy material. Today, workers and machines roam the peninsula as they transform it into a grassy park with Puget Sound views.

Will James / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma have hired two artists-in-residence to help the city grapple with human elements of a homelessness crisis.

"Moving day for Russell" by Scott Hingst is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2Ft6FfX

State Farm Insurance is clearing out of Tacoma by the end of the year, the company said Thursday, meaning some 1,400 jobs will leave the city's downtown as local leaders name attracting employers as a top priority. 

"Old Buildings With Adverts In Tacoma" by Bradley Gordon is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2mth1EP

Tacoma's city council this week approved a property tax break of about $250,000 a year for a developer of market-rate apartments that are expected to rent for $1,200 to $1,600 a month. 

It's a common practice in the city, despite a growing need for less expensive housing. Tacoma had among the nation's the fastest-rising rents last year, according to the listing service RENTCafe. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

The City of Tacoma's legal defense fund for immigrants facing deportation is struggling to attract donors. 

Just under $2,000 has flowed in from 21 donors since the fund's creation in late October.

Flickr photo "Union Station" by Travis Wise is licensed under cc by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2h8jZfq

Balancing business development, focusing on environmentally-conscious projects and combating homelessness are just a few of the issues coming up in Tacoma. Voters now have an opportunity to decide who will lead the city into its next phase.

Will James / KNKX

Why would Amazon build its second headquarters just 30 miles from its first headquarters in Seattle? 

If you ask leaders in Tacoma, it's because their city has everything the retail giant loves about the Pacific Northwest, plus plenty of room to grow. 

"Rich Passage 1 in Bremerton" by SounderBruce is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2wnedMD

One of the starkest challenges facing South Sound leaders is how to spare residents a punishing commute to Seattle.

With transit improvements years away, some officials are looking to the sea instead. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

There are a lot of opinions about what projects should get a green light at the Port of Tacoma. In the last few years there’s been more of a push to move away from the traditional industries like mines and fossil fuels to more environmentally-conscious plans. But not everyone is in agreement.

Will James / KNKX

In the fight for Tacoma's economic future, the battlefield is the city's tideflats. 

The sprawl of shipping cranes, oil tanks, manufacturing buildings, and rail lines is the gritty heart of city's industrial economy.

"TASER" by cea + is licensed under CC by 2.0 http://bit.ly/2tm3SSA

Tacoma City Council members voted Tuesday to lift an 11-year ban on electroshock weapons, including stun guns and Tasers.

The policy change came amid pressure from a gun rights group and doubts about whether the city's ban would hold up in court.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma officials' plan to reduce the impacts of homelessness on public health began this month with the installation of a water line and portable toilets at one of the city's largest encampments.

But those amenities are scheduled to be on-site for six weeks at most. City leaders are still figuring out exactly what happens next. 

Will James / KNKX

Water and bathroom facilities are making life a little more bearable for people who live in one of Tacoma's largest encampments of homeless people.

City officials installed a water line and spigot last week, along with a row of portable toilets and sinks, near a few dozen tents and makeshift shelters in Tacoma's tideflats.

It represents a shift in the way Tacoma leaders manage a growing homeless population. Instead of forcing people off vacant lots like this, they say they are trying to make conditions cleaner and safer while they work toward longer-term solutions. 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo/file

The Puyallup Tribe says it will not go along with plans to put a liquified natural gas facility on a site at the Port of Tacoma. The site is located on land that lies sandwiched between parcels on its reservation.  

The tribe says its biggest concern is that its reservation lies in an urban area. And the heart of that is the Port of Tacoma.

Tom Colins / Flickr

A judge in Pierce County has thrown out two initiatives aimed at giving people in Tacoma a bigger say in development projects. The group “Save Tacoma Water” circulated petitions for two ballot measures. They would have required a public vote on development projects planning to use more than a million gallons of water a day.

Michael LaFreniere is the spokesman for the grassroots group Save Tacoma Water. He says today’s ruling undermines the ability of citizens to put forward local initiatives.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KPLU

It’s one of the more dramatic-sounding aspects of climate change: as carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases speed up global warming, sea levels are expected to rise too.

SounderBruce / Flickr

Right now, it’s illegal to live in your vehicle on a city street in Tacoma for more than 24 hours. But the Tacoma City Council will weigh a measure to extend that to seven days.

The change comes in the wake of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The judges said a similar ordinance in Los Angeles that prohibited people from using a vehicle as living quarters was unconstitutionally vague. So in response to that decision, Tacoma city staff crafted a more precise definition of what it means to inhabit a vehicle, for example, sleeping in it or setting up bedding. And the city proposes allowing people a week to use a vehicle as shelter before it would be a violation.

City of Tacoma

The city of Tacoma wants to improve how its citizens and the police force interact with each other. It started Project Peace - an ongoing series of facilitated conversations that are taking place throughout the city.

At each meeting, police officers and community members use the open platform to share their fears and hopes. KPLU student reporter Zoe Velie talked with participants at a Project Peace event at Tacoma's Lincoln High School.

YouTube

Cities across the Puget Sound area are paying more attention to gun violence. In Seattle, a federal grant worth half-a-million dollars is designed to help law enforcement trace guns used in crimes, and pay for more prosecution. And in Tacoma, the city is holding “Gun Safe T Awareness Week.”

Saul Loeb / AP

When the Chinese president visits Seattle next week, he’ll take time to drop in at a Tacoma high school. That visit is the result of lots of behind-the-scenes effort in Tacoma and in the Chinese city of Fuzhou. The two municipalities have long ties with each other.

Gregory Youtz is the chair of the Tacoma Fuzhou Sister City Program and a music professor at Pacific Lutheran University. He says a lot of Chinese people will be exposed to Tacoma because of the president’s visit.

Brian Cox / City of Tacoma

The City of Tacoma has launched a program to improve the relationship between police and the community. Project Peace will involve a series of meetings to be held over the next several months. The plan is that, with the help of facilitators, people will sit down with police and brainstorm how best to improve trust.

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