Brynn Grimley (253) 983-7761 • Fax (253) 589-3774 •
Communications Manager

With the amount of rain the Puget Sound may receive, rain and wind will start knocking leaves off of trees. Storm drains may cause some urban flooding.

Christine Badger, the City of Lakewood's Emergency Management Coordinator, advises neighborhoods to clean leaves off of storm drains. 


The first of two strong Pacific storm systems will likely begin to affect the area Wednesday evening, as rain begins to spread into the region. Models continue to show the potential for up 1 to 2 inches of rain over the lowlands and 2 to 4 inches in the mountains. (The picture shows 3.27 for Tacoma and 4.03 for Olympia)

A second, potentially stronger Pacific storm system will affect the region on Saturday and Sunday. Models continue to show a very deep surface low tracking into the area that may bring heavier precipitation and even stronger winds than Thursday's system.  In addition to rainfall and winds, this system will also bring seas greater than 30 feet to the coastal waters of Washington and the potential for significant coastal flooding. The details regarding the nature of the impacts of this storm, including the specific timing, location, strength and type of hazards, are dependent upon the track and strength of the surface low, which is not certain at this time.      


These storm systems have the potential to bring a wide range of potentially significant impacts to the region.


Confidence is moderate to high that one or more strong Pacific storm systems will affect the area beginning Wednesday evening through the weekend. In addition, confidence is moderate to high that these storm systems will produce a wide range of potentially significant impacts. Confidence in the specific timing, location and magnitude of impacts is low at this time.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department issued a Toxic Algae Advisory for Lake Steilacoom on Tuesday, Oct. 11.

When you see a toxic algae advisory, it means the water has cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, which can produce toxins. Add sunlight and warmer temperatures, and toxic algae can reproduce rapidly in fresh water—creating toxic algae “blooms.” Water with toxic algae can kill pets, waterfowl and other animals and cause serious illness or even death in people.

Until further notice, TPCHD says residents must:

  • Not swim or water ski in areas of scum
  • Not drink lake water
  • Keep pets and livestock away
  • Clean fish well and discard guts
  • Avoid areas of scum while boating

For more information, visit TPCHD's website .

(This message comes from the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services)

LAKEWOOD— In coordination with local law enforcement offices, Western State Hospital has revised its policy on patient escapes and unauthorized leaves to ensure that law enforcement has accurate, reliable, timely and appropriate information to protect their safety and the safety of the public when responding to a missing patient report.   

“The staff at WSH made extraordinary effort to include police and other stakeholders in their policy review process. Updating policies for an entity the size of WSH is neither quick nor easy. CEO Strange and her staff should be commended for their dedication and determination to make these necessary improvements,” said Lakewood Police Chief Michael Zaro. “I am confident that the work they did will result in a more efficient response from police and, more importantly, a safer environment both in the hospital and in the surrounding communities.” 

Highlights of the revised policy include:

  • A clear definition of the differences between escapes and unauthorized leaves,
  • Clarity as to individual roles of clinical, nursing, security, escort, communication and administrative staff in response to escapes and ULs,
  • A streamlined process for timely notification of the incident, including the circumstances for implementing an incident command structure,
  • More specific information for law enforcement responding to an escape or UL at WSH:
    • Clear outline of the level system for civilly committed patients. More advanced levels allow for patients to have grounds privileges and  police must have accurate information about the heightened risks and needs associated with individual patients
    • Timely information about a missing patient’s most recent assaultive or threatening history.  

Under the revised policy, both escape and unauthorized leave status are defined as patients who leave a supervised setting on or off grounds without staff permission or patients who fail to return from grounds privileges or authorized leave at the prescribed time.

“Western State Hospital is a good neighbor and demonstrated a willingness to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies to ensure we have the information we need to protect our residents,” said Chief T. J. Rodriguez of the Steilacoom Department of Public Safety. “Our department appreciates the hospital for seeking local feedback and suggestions as they created a policy which balances the community’s safety with the safety needs of the hospital’s patients.”

“Clearly defined and easy to understand policies and safety procedures are the backbone of a well-functioning hospital operation,” said Cheryl Strange, the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer. “This is particularly critical in a mental health facility that serves a diverse population of individuals with serious and persistent mental illnesses who may also have significant criminal histories.  While the majority of patients treated at Western are not considered dangerous, it’s important that police, the community and hospital staff know as soon as possible when a patient is missing and whether the patient is a threat to others or to themselves.  

“We worked with multiple stakeholders, including law enforcement from Lakewood and Steilacoom, the state Office of the Attorney General, and the Department of Social and Health Services’ Privacy Officer to ensure that people who may be involved in searching for missing patients had a voice in the updated policy,” Strange said. “Their participation in ensuring that we have solid and easier to understand safety procedures in place, speaks to their support of work we do at Western to treat mentally ill patients so they can successfully live in their own communities.”

Unauthorized patient walkaways at WSH have dropped dramatically from 181 in 2014 to 81 in 2015. March 2016 was the first month in years with no reported “unauthorized leave” incidents. From May through September there were 16 unauthorized leaves, of which four were reported to law enforcement. 



Escape Status
The escape status applies to patients residing in the Center for Forensic Services or Habilitative Mental Health Unit who are being evaluated for competency or receiving competency restoration services; patients found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGRI), or who are NGRI and have a court-ordered conditional release to either the CFS Community Program at WSH or in the community.  Patients on a conditional release in the community are on escape status if they fail to meet with their supervising staff at the determined time.  Community Program patients at WSH are considered escapees immediately when unaccounted for whether on hospital grounds or during off-campus, supervised outings. 

Escape status also applies to patients civilly committed after being found incompetent to stand trial for a violent felony (referred to as 1114 patients) and civil patients with a jail hold, requiring the patient to be taken into custody by law enforcement.

Unauthorized Leave
Unauthorized leaves apply only to patients civilly committed, who are not 1114 patients and do not have a jail hold. 

The new policy directs Western State Hospital to provide law enforcement with a history of the missing patient’s assaultive and threatening behaviors during the past 30 days, providing law enforcement with more up-to-date information on risky behavior. They can use this timely information to better assess their response in community notification. 

A copy of the policy is here

The Behavioral Health Administration provides inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment, recovery support along with prevention and intervention programs for people with mental health needs and substance abuse concerns. It operates three state psychiatric hospitals that deliver high-quality services to adults and children with complex needs. BHA’s team of 2,804 staff ensures that nearly 150,000 people receive needed services each year on a $910 million annual budget. 

DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

(The following message has been updated to reflect the rescheduled event

On Saturday,  Oct. 29, 2016, the City of Lakewood will throw a hay-riding, tricked-trucking, pumpkin-picking party known as 10th Annual Truck and Tractor Day.

The always-popular event runs from noon to 3 p.m., at Fort Steilacoom Park. As its name implies, there will be trucks. There will be tractors. There will also be plenty of other reasons Truck and Tractor Day will be a great experience for you and the family. Here are some of our favorites:


Pumpkin picking

What is the best part of October? The pumpkins, of course. The City knows this, which is why kids who attend will take home their very own free pumpkin while supplies last.  Volunteers will help carve pumpkins and provide decorations for children to adorn their pumpkin.  Kids will also get free hard hat. Get there early!


A smashing good time

In Lakewood, we have a favorite fall tradition: We like to smash things to bits. This year, you can take control of our pumpkin-chunkin’ launchers and blast those pumpkins across Fort Steilacoom Park, just like they used to do in the ol’ days. (Note: We have yet to confirm with the Lakewood Historical Society whether this actually happened in the ol’ days, but for convenience sake we’ll assume that it did).


Hit the hay

Enjoy free hayrides through Fort Steilacoom Park. This 340-acre gem is the largest in the City and a regional attraction. Enjoy a trip around Lake Waughop with the fall leaves crunching underneath those tractor tires.


Trucks, trucks, and….a boat?

Clean trucks. Dirty trucks. Milk trucks. Box trucks. You name it, Truck and Tractor Day will likely have it. The rigs will be right there for you to climb, although we strongly advise against trying to take one home as a souvenir. New this year is a Coast Guard Search and Rescue Boat.


Halloween Doughnut Game

If you have ever tasted the delicious doughnuts from the Original House of Doughnuts, you won’t want to miss this game where you try to eat the doughnut, with your hands behind your back, while it dangles from a string! It’s a whole new twist on eating treats!


New this year

Ok, so you’ve been to Truck and Tractor Day in years past, but you want to try something new? Don’t worry, this year’s event features several new types of fun, including hands-on activities from Children’s Museum of Tacoma and Bricks4Kids, as well as a football toss and timed fast pitch.


Get lost … in Fort Steilacoom Park

The park is huge. Not only will your kids love climbing on tractors, going on hayrides, decorating pumpkins and wearing their hard hats, but they’ll also love the playground, crafts provided by the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, fresh air and the flat grass that looks like something out of the Sound of Music. With all that excitement, they’ll be asleep by dinner time. You’re welcome, parents.


“F” to the “R” to the double “E”

Did we mention that this whole event is free? It is. As in, no cost. Nada. Just come down to the park with your friends and family and enjoy. Truck and Tractor Day is one of the most popular community events.

The following is the construction schedule for the South Tacoma Way project for the week beginning Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, according to the Lakewood Public Works Department:

  • Drivers travelling northbound on South Tacoma Way should expect temporary lane closures as the contractor finishes work associated with the new water main and begins preparing for the installation of new curb, gutter and sidewalk. Other work to occur this week will include the installation of electrical conduit and work associated with a new traffic signal at 100th Street Southwest & South Tacoma Way.
  • Drivers should be advised that during the week of October 24th, the contractor will be performing work at South Tacoma Way and State Route 512. This work will occur at night between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. There will be lane closures during these hours to accomplish the work.

(This message comes from the Lakewood Historical Society)

The Lakewood Historical Society is looking for people interested in Lakewood’s history to serve on its Board of Directors and/or as volunteers. People with professional skills such as previous board experience, marketing, program management, artistic display, writing, records archiving, and craftsmen are welcome. If you have and interest or are seeking a new and interesting direction for your spare time, personal enrichment, or desire to give back to the community, please consider joining us.

We would appreciate an opportunity to talk to you, answer your questions about the many programs the Society engages in, and learn how we can best bring together our needs with your skills and available time.

Please contact Glen Spieth, Society Board Director and Nominating Committee Chair, at 253-3-970-0383,  or Sue Scott, Society Vice President, at (253) 588-6354,  .


About the Lakewood Historical Society

The mission of the Lakewood Historical Society is “to identify, preserve and perpetuate Lakewood’s history”. The Society accomplishes this mission through:

  • The dedicated work of its Board of Directors and volunteers
  • Management of the Lakewood History Museum
  • Development of permanent and rotating historical exhibits & displays in the Museum
  • Placement of historical markers at specific locations within Lakewood
  • Community outreach programs
  • Publication of periodic publications and quarterly Newsletter
  • Public contact at community events
  • Volunteer docents in the museum

On Oct. 3, 2016, City Manager John Caulfield presented the 2017/2018 Proposed Biennial Budget to the Lakewood City Council.

Overall, the proposed budget maintains current levels of service in public safety, economic development, recreation and development services, while it increases services in street and park improvements.

The proposed budget is compliant with the City’s financial policies:

  •        Balanced budget that does not include reductions in services
  •        Does not use one‐time monies for ongoing programs
  •        Operating expenditures do not exceed operating revenues
  •        Maintains reserves

The budget also provides an estimate for future revenue growth, currently estimated to grow on average of 1.6 percent in 2017 and 1.7 percent in 2018 while operating expenditures are expected to decrease by .04 percent in 2017 and increase by 3 percent in 2018.

Also, the proposed budget does not include any new debt. It shows a balanced operating budget that has/is:

  •        Fiscally responsible underlying financial assumptions & policies in place
  •        Consistent with adopted financial policies
  •        Not using one‐time funds for ongoing operations
  •        Operating expenditures do not exceed operating revenues
  •        Reserves are replenished, albeit over a three year period


To view the 2017/2018 Proposed Biennial Budget and related documents, visit the City's Finance Department's budget page .


The City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin is a roundup of news items, happenings and other items of note for the City of Lakewood.

Lakewood's recognizes strong and longstanding local businesses with its Business Showcase.