Celebrate Tacoma’s waterfront and clean water at Maritime Fest

Celebrate Tacoma’s waterfront and 10 years of a clean Commencement Bay at Maritime Fest , July 16-17 at Thea’s Park. This free event features boat tours, boat building, music, art and more.

Ten years ago, Tacoma successfully cleaned up the contaminated Thea Foss Waterway. This cleanup marks the first time that a Superfund site on a body of water was restored. According to Bill Baarsma, Tacoma’s mayor from 2003-09, this environmental cleanup is the most significant event in Tacoma’s history.

To celebrate this cleanup, a parade of kayaks, stand-up paddlers, dragon boats and others will paddle on the Foss Waterway from Waterway Park to Thea’s Park. Paddlers will assemble at 10 a.m. and start at 11 a.m. After the parade, several key speakers will honor the importance of this waterway to Tacoma. Please see the City of Tacoma’s press release on the clean water celebration.

Photo of sailing on the Foss Waterway

Sailing with Sea Scouts at Maritime Fest

At the Foss Waterway Seaport, special exhibits will be on display with free admission during Maritime Fest. The Port of Tacoma will give free, guided boat tours on July 17 — this is always a popular activity. Sea Scouts also will take visitors sailing.

For more information:


Pause to learn about methanol in Tacoma

On February 19, Northwest Innovation Works (NWIW) asked the City of Tacoma to pause the environmental review for the proposed methanol plant on Port of Tacoma property. In its press release NWIW says “we have been surprised by the tone and substance of the vocal opposition that has emerged in Tacoma. To force a facility on a community that does not welcome it would not be consistent with our goals.” The City agreed to the pause and cancelled the February 24 public scoping meeting.

NWIW plans to engage the Tacoma community on this project over the next few months. At a February 18 Port of Tacoma Commission meeting, many people spoke against the project and several Port Commissioners also raised questions about it.

In May 2014 the Port and NWIW signed a 30-year lease. The lease’s feasibility period ends April 30, 2016. NWIW requested to extend the feasibility period, and the Port Commissioners will discuss it in a future meeting. The Port of Tacoma’s webpage provides more information, including links to the lease and the Feb. 18 commission meeting.

This pause is a great time to learn more about methanol. Several free events occur this week:

  • Health and environmental impacts of methanol refineries with Dr. Wilma Subra. Dr. Subra will give two free talks: Tues, Feb. 23 at 8 pm at St. Matthew Episcopal Church in NE Tacoma and Thurs, Feb. 25 at 6 pm at the University of Puget Sound. Please see this flyer for more information.
  • Science of methanol with the Center for Urban Waters. The Center for Urban Waters is holding a free discussion series on the science of the proposed methanol project. The next session — “potential impacts on regional water and power supplies” — takes place on Thurs, Feb. 25 at 6:00 pm. Speakers include Robert Mack, Tacoma Public Utilities; Eric de Place, Sightline Institute and Dan Kirchner, NW Gas Association. This session may be full but you can RSVP to get on a waiting list for this session or sign up for future sessions. Email questions in advance to Citizens for a Healthy Bay at rcruz@healthybay.org or post to their Facebook and Twitter pages with the hashtag #253methanoltalk.

This information may be helpful when the environmental review resumes. In the meantime, the proposed methanol project is attracting media attention including:

Save Tacoma Water, a citizens initiative, will start collecting signatures for a ballot about water permits in early March. Initiative 4 would require organizations that apply for water permits to obtain voter approval if they plan to use one million gallons or more of water  per day. The proposed methanol plant in Tacoma would need approximately 10 million gallons of water per day.

** Engage Northwest does not work on this project and currently does not represent any of the parties listed in this blog.**


Participate in environmental review of proposed methanol plant

Photo of Draft Scoping Report

The Draft Scoping Report identifies areas that the EIS will examine. It will be updated after the comment period closes.

Whether you are for, against or undecided on the proposed methanol plant for the Tacoma tideflats, please participate in the City of Tacoma’s environmental review process. The next public scoping meeting is Feb. 24, and comments are due by March 4.

Proposed by Northwest Innovation Works on property owned by the Port of Tacoma, the methanol facility would be the largest in the world. The City of Tacoma is conducting the environmental review. As a City planner said at the Feb. 10 public scoping meeting, more people are engaged in this project than almost any other Tacoma project in the last 20 years.

What would you like to know about it — jobs, climate change, water use or other topics? Now is the time to ask. You can speak or provide written comments at the public meetings, or email or mail written comments. Learn more about how to comment on the City’s webpage.

The Port of Tacoma, which signed a lease for this project with Northwest Innovation Works in 2014, will hold a study session on the project at its Feb. 18 meeting. Public comment is included on the meeting agenda.

Feb. 24 public scoping meeting

Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center ballroom

1500 Broadway

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. to sign up to speak. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.

For more information

** Engage Northwest does not work on this project and currently does not represent any of the parties listed in this blog.**


Celebrated U.S.-China relationship at Chinese Reconciliation Park

Photo of welcome to Chinese Reconciliation Park

Flags wave and tigers dance to welcome Minister Qiu to Chinese Reconciliation Park

We welcomed China’s Minister  Qiu Yuan Ping to Chinese Reconciliation Park yesterday. Minister Qiu’s visit builds on Tacoma’s Sister City relationship with Fuzhou, and is part of China’s official visit to the United States. President Xi visits Seattle and Tacoma this week.

The special ceremony included speakers from Tacoma Public Schools, Chief Leschi School, The Puyallup Tribe of Indians, Tacoma City Council, and Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation. Two students from Tacoma’s Sherman Elementary were honored to present flowers and meet the minister.

Photo of Minister Qiu

Chinese Minister Qiu speaks at the Fuzhou Ting in Tacoma

Minister Qiu — the Minister of Overseas Chinese Commission in the China State Department — recognized the importance of Chinese workers in helping build the transcontinental railroad in the United States. The railroad strengthened America’s economy, and its terminus was Tacoma.

Minister Qiu emphasized education and collaboration in the U.S.-China relationship. Many Tacoma-based schools and colleges were represented at the ceremony, including Bates Technical College, Pacific Lutheran University and University of Puget Sound. They offer exchange programs and opportunities to learn about and study in China.

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit Tacoma’s Lincoln High School. Nathan Gibbs-Bowling, a teacher at Lincoln, was just named the Washington teacher of the year. President Xi will visit Mr. Bowling’s government class. This video shows how the students are preparing for this historic visit.

For more information

More photos from the event at Chinese Reconciliation Park are available on Flickr:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/engagenorthwest/albums/72157656606146903