John Caulfield (253) 983-7703 • Fax (253)
City Manager


March 25, 2016


To: Mayor and Members of the City Council

From: John J. Caulfield, City Manager 

Topics of Interest and Updates

Habitat For Humanity VP Visits Tillicum


On March 23, 2016, several representatives with the City of Lakewood met with Larry Gluth, Habitat for Humanity International Vice President for United States and Canada in the Tillicum neighborhood, site of a future redevelopment project .

Attendees included Mayor Don Anderson, City Manager John Caulfield, members of the City's Community Development Department and employees from Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat for Humanity. They discussed community development efforts in the Tillicum neighborhood, Habitat for Humanity's both in Lakewood and throughout the country, community focused redevelopment efforts and the organization's national initiatives.   

Gluth's visit provided an opportunity to engage in a great discussion about the positive changes that Lakewood has seen and will continue to see in the Tillicum neighborhood, including increased stability with the Tillicum Elementary School population, veteran and disabled housing and financing mechanisms Habitat is considering moving forward.  

Sound Transit: Point Defiance Bypass Work Upcoming

(The following is a construction update from Sound Transit, which is conducting construction work for the Washington State Department of Transportation on the Point Defiance Bypass project. Click here to view the full flyer )

Sound Transit is replacing existing railroad track in your area through April. While construction started on the project early this year, we are now moving closer to your area. This alert is to provide you with details on what to expect during construction.

What to expect:

Construction is proceeding south from North Thorne Lane in 1600 foot increments, which will bring us to Berkeley Avenue around the beginning of April. Neighbors, motorists and businesses can expect work along the existing rail road track route that includes:

  • Welding
  • Grading
  • Track installation
  • Signal work
  • Improvements of at-grade rail and roadway crossings
  • Noise impacts sound similar to a truck engine running, with occasional rail cutting and beeping.
  • Work will take place continuously during the weekend track closures.

WSDOT has contracted with Sound Transit to deliver the track and signal work, including: upgrading crossings, bridge rehabilitation and construction and retaining wall construction.

The Point Defiance Bypass project includes a new Amtrak passenger train station in Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square, new and upgraded track between Tacoma and DuPont and five reconstructed at-grade crossings, each with advanced warning and signal systems. When all work is complete in 2017 it will provide more frequent, reliable and faster Amtrak Cascades passenger rail service in Washington.

March 2016 Business Showcase: Tijuana Taco

Tijuana Taco is as much Lakewood as lakes, oak trees and the military.

Sure, to someone new to the area, the connection might not make sense. The South Sound is located some 1,200 miles from Tijuana, Mexico, after all.

But talk to any longtime Lakewood resident, and he or she likely can recount fond memories of the family owned-and-operated restaurant that opened its doors in 1969.

The Tijuana Taco brand originally began in Scottsdale, Ariz., and thanks to a Northwest businessperson with franchise visions in mind, there were plans to open multiple locations in the South Sound and Portland, Ore., area.

The Lakewood restaurant – located at 10005 Bristol Ave. SW – opened and was an immediate hit with locals, who could order and munch on anything from tacos to bean tostadas to burritos.

Read the rest of the Business Showcase

City Council Adopts Street Classification Amendments

On March 21, 2016, the Lakewood City Council unanimously adopted amendments related to the classification of certain City streets.

The City Council first discussed the amendments in January – and that was the first time it had done so since the incorporation in 1996.

Public Works Director Don Wickstrom said the update is important because the streets that are classified as arterial streets, and subsequently become part of the Federal Route System, are the only City streets eligible for certain grant funding.

The amendments had also been examined under the State Environmental Policy Act, and the state issued a Determination of Nonsignificance.

PCTV Highlights ADC "Great American Defense Communities" Designation

Pierce County TV produced a news segment on the South Sound being named one of 10 "Great American Defense Communities " by the Association of Defense Communities.

The segment features current Pierce County Council Chairperson, as well as veteran and former Mayor Doug Richardson.

The designation - which recognized communities for providing unwavering support to service members and military families - is a result of the collaborative leadership from the South Sound Military & Communities Partnership. ADC recognized the South Puget Sound region - the only winner that represented a region rather than a single city.

Click the video to the right or visit YouTube  to watch the PCTV news segment.

Jermaine Kearse at Communities In Schools - Lakewood

On Monday, March 21, Communities In Schools of Lakewood​ celebrated its annual Champions For Youth Breakfast with some special guests.

The name many residents will recognize is Lakewood native and Seattle Seahawk wide receiver Jermaine Kearse​, who spoke about the importance of giving back to and building relationships within the community.

"I see the Lakewood community as a team, as my team," he told an excited, early morning crowd at the Old Country Buffet, which hosted the event.

Danny Rodriguez, a triathlete and mentor, told his story of how he overcame an addiction to drugs to inspire students who need help.

A Clover Park High School student spoke about how, with the help of Communities In Schools, he was able to earn a part-time job and has his sights set on college, despite his family struggling with homelessness.

Attendees from the City of Lakewood included Mayor Don Anderson, City Councilmember Marie Barth, Councilmember (and CIS Board of Directors member) Paul Bocchi, and Councilmember Mary Moss, as well as Mayor Emeritus Bill Harrison, former Mayor and current Pierce County Council Chairperson Doug Richardson and state Rep. Dick Muri. In all, it was an inspiring morning.

Many who attended took pictures or got autographs from Kearse, who mentioned his new effort to help military children, the 15 to 1: Jermaine Kearse Foundation​. Kearse himself is a product of a military family.

CIS' Dan Livingston also took care of what was most likely the biggest elephant in the room: Kearse's new three-year contract with the Seahawks. He thanked the Lakes High graduate for not making Monday's event "awkward" by signing with a team such as Oakland or Detroit.

Kearse played along: "It's good to be back in a Seahawks uniform, even though I never left."

If you don't know already, Communities In Schools is the local chapter of the nation's leading dropout prevention organization, working in public schools to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. In Lakewood last year, site coordinators helped 1,500 students overcome barriers to success, stay on track to graduate, and aim for a brighter future. To learn more or to donate to CIS, visit .

To view photos from the event, visit the City's Facebook page .

Meet Sherman Alexie on April 29 at Clover Park Technical College

Lakewood will host the signature event of the Pierce County Reads 2016 program  on April 29 when the community welcomes Sherman Alexie - outspoken poet, novelist and screenwriter explores modern-day Native American issues.

The event, titled “Meet Sherman Alexie,” is schedule for 7 p.m., April 29 at the Sharon McGavick Conference Center, Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW.

The free event headlines this year’s program, which unlike years past will focus on five books written by the Northwest native, giving participants an extra month read and discuss the selections. The five books are:

  • “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” (1993)
  • “Reservation Blues” (1995)
  • “Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian” (2007)
  • “Flight” (2007)
  • “War Dances” (2009)

Alexie, who was born and raised in the Northwest, connects readers around the world to the American Indian experience, making them laugh, cry and think through his semi-autobiographical writings, according the Pierce County Library System.

The New Yorker named Alexie one of the 20 top writers for the 21st century. He is “the world’s first fast-talking, wisecracking, mediagenic American-Indian superstar,” according to Men’s Journal. Read the rest of the story .

Call To Artists for Mayfest Event

Are you an artist who would like your piece on display during Lakewood's biggest art event of the year? Consider entering your work for Mayfest, 2016.

Artists are encouraged to enter a juried show to be exhibited during the Mayfest celebration, May 3-8 at Lakewold Gardens. This highly touted celebration is sponsored by the Lakewood Arts Commission. Artists who are residents of Lakewood or who work within the Lakewood city limits are encouraged to enter.

All artistic media will be included in this event. Details are available on line at the City's website  or by mailing a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

  • City of Lakewood Arts Commission
  • Attention: Dennis Higashiyama
  • 6000 Main Street SW
  • Lakewood, WA 98499

View a detailed flyer of the competition

3rd Annual Studio Fitness Healthy Start 5K

Attention runners, joggers, walkers and anyone else interested in fun activities while supporting a great cause.

The 3rd Annual Studio Fitness Healthy Start 5K returns Saturday, May 14. The event benefits the City of Lakewood's Healthy Start Program - an after-school program that provides kids with physical activity and nutritous snacks. In 2015, the event generated $8,000 for the program.

This year, the race will once again start and finish at Studio Fitness, 11112 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW in Lakewood. Registration is $40 a person, and the registration deadline to guarantee yoursel an official t-shirt in Saturday, April 30, 2016.

Register for the event

About the Healthy Start Program

The program starts when the school day ends, with a snack that includes uncommon fruits and vegetables. After the snack, children do a few minutes of journaling, followed by warm-up exercises, large group games and butrition lessons. Oakwood, Tyee Park and Tillicum Elementary Schools host the program. Funding for student transportation is necessary to keep the program running.


Police Report: February 2016

The City of Lakewood Police Department has released its monthly report for February 2016.

Among the highlights:

  • Simple Assaults are down 28 percent compared to the year before
  • Person Crimes are down 23 percent compared to the year before
  • Traffic Stops are seeing a sharp decline from last year

You can read the full report here .

City Council

The City Council will be holding a study session on Monday, March 28, 2016, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the City Hall Council Chambers located at 6000 Main Street SW.  Agenda items for the meeting include:

March 28, 2016 Study Session

  • Review of 2016 Comprehensive Plan amendments
  • Rental housing program update
  • Reports by the City Manager – Sewer Connections update


The City Council will be holding a regular meeting on Monday, April 4, 2016, beginning at 7:00 p.m., in the City Hall Council Chambers located at 6000 Main Street SW.  Agenda items for the meeting include:

April 4, 2016 Regular Meeting

  • Youth Council Report
  • Clover Park School District Report
  • Lakewood’s Promise signing ceremony
  • Appoint a member to serve on the Arts Commission
  • Bid award South Tacoma Way (SR512 to 96th St)
  • Approve LTGO Bond refinancing
  • Expressing support for continued State funding for MRSC
  • Expressing the intent to amend the 2016 Comprehensive Plan
  • Reports by the City Manager – 2015 Legislative Session Report, Sound Transit 3 update and 2015 Year End Police Report