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

Two Union Civil War Soldiers who were buried at the Western State Hospital Historic Patient Cemetery at Fort Steilacoom Park will receive a proper headstone dedication Saturday.

Sergeant Oliver W. Bean, Company D, 5th Wisconsin Infantry and Private Thomas Blanchard, Company I, 4th New York Heavy Artillery will be honored during the ceremony. 

Both graves were previously unmarked. 

The headstone of Sergeant Charles Wesley Cooley, Company G, 49th Ohio Infantry will also be rededicated.

The ceremony is part of a larger effort of the small non-profit Grave Concerns Association, which has worked for nearly two decades to identify and properly mark the grave sites of thousands of former Western State Hospital patients buried between 1876 and 1953 in the nearby cemetery.

Saturday’s ceremony is the result of work by the Gov. Isaac Stevens Camp No. 1, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), supported by Co. B, 71st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Sons of Veterans Reserve and the Grave Concerns Association.

Research done by SUVCW member James Dimond led to the identification of the unmarked graves of Bean and Blanchard. 

Members of the Grave Concerns Association say there are three additional unmarked graves of Civil War veterans in the cemetery. They plan to dedicate those headstones at a future date when family members are present.

Military funeral honors will be rendered during Saturday’s ceremony. That includes a three-volley rifle salute.

Residents in and around the park between 2 and 3 p.m. Saturday could hear gunfire and should not be alarmed.

The dedication is will follow a 1917 ritual of the Grand Army of the Republic, which is modeled after a ceremony performed in 1868 for headstone dedications of Civil War veterans.

A black powder rifle will be used to fire the blanks to commemorate the end of the ceremony. The salute will be followed by the playing of taps.  

In addition to the three Civil War gravestones, Grave Concerns Association volunteers will install a total of 30 headstones to replace the markers that currently only show a number marking the grave location.The group goes out roughly twice a year to replace the markers with headstones that honor those who have died, listing their names and then birth and death dates.They are able to do the work through community donations, grants and this year received money from the city's Lodging Tax Advisory Committee.

Saturday's ceremony begins at 2 p.m. at the Western State Hospital Historic Patient Cemetery at 9601 Steilacoom Boulevard.

Click here to read more about the Grave Concerns Association and to see a map of the cemetery.


Improvement projects totaling $56.5 million are planned for Lakewood’s roads over the next six years. Between now and 2018 there are 30 projects slated for completion, totaling $28 million.

That’s a lot.

To help keep people informed the city created an interactive map that will live on the city’s website. It indicates completed (green), in progress (orange) and upcoming (gray) projects on the city’s 431 miles of roadway.

Here’s a look at some of the more visible projects:

  • South Tacoma Way: state Route 512 to 96th Street: Good news, this project is expected to wrap up by summer. When finished South Tacoma Way will be wider with shared bike lanes, concrete curb and gutter and sidewalks. Also added: LED street lighting, updated traffic signals at state Route 512, 100th and 96th streets and new pavement. A gateway entrance sign with the neighborhood designation will be built in the island at 100th Street.
  • South Tacoma Way: Steilacoom Boulevard to 88th Street: Road widening continues for shared bike lanes, concrete curb and gutters, sidewalks, LED street lighting, new traffic signal at Steilacoom Boulevard and 88th Street intersection and new pavement. A second right turn lane will be added to Steilacoom Boulevard onto South Tacoma Way to make it safer and faster to pass through the intersection.
  • Gravelly Lake Drive: 100th Street to Bridgeport Way: This sidewalk project also adds curb and gutter to Gravelly Lake Drive from 100th Street to Bridgeport Way Once completed there will be continuous sidewalks on Gravelly Lake Drive from 112th Street to Bridgeport Way.
  • Lakewood Drive reconstruction/overlay: 100th Street to Steilacoom Boulevard: Pavement reconstruction planned from 100th Street to Steilacoom Boulevard. New curb and gutter and concrete sidewalks will be added to the western side of the road.
  • Sidewalks are coming to Lakeview Ave/112th St from Kendrick St to Steilacoom Boulevard to improve pedestrian safety as part of a state Department of Transportation-funded project to mitigate for the high-speed trains that will soon pass through the city.

2017-18 projects

  • 2017 chip seal program Oakbrook
  • Repave Onyx Drive SW from 87th to 89th streets
  • Military Road and 112th Street safety improvements
  • Safety improvements to 40th and 96th streets
  • Gravelly Lake Drive improvements Washington Boulevard to Nyanza
  • Gravelly Lake Drive improvements, 59th Street to Steilacoom Boulevard
  • Safe Routes to Schools: John Dower and Phillips roads
  • Dekoven Drive traffic calming project

Click here to see a comprehensive list of road projects planned for the next six years (2017-2022). 













The city recently approved a tree removal permit for six trees at the Lakewood Colonial Center.

The trees could come down as early as tomorrow (April 7) with work continuing through the weekend.

The Westwood Financial Corporation was granted the permit April 5 to address hazard trees on its property located on the 9300 block of Bridgeport Way SW near its intersections with Gravelly Lake Drive and Motor Avenue.

In total there are 79 trees on the site and only six will be cut. Of those, two are large Garry oak trees; the others are maples.

Westwood Financial submitted an arborist report with its permit request detailing the health of each tree on its property. The report determined the six trees slated for removal were hazardous and posed a public safety risk.

The report noted the two Garry oak trees to be removed were troublesome because of how they were located on site and maintained.  

The tree located at the entrance of the center has a “large fungal fruiting body,” according to arborist Robert W. Williams.

“The appearance of this fungal growth indicates internal decay is present,” Williams wrote. “The presence of decay increases the likelihood of trunk breakage. Failure in this tree has a high probability of causing harm.”

Along with removing the hazard trees, Westwood Financial has also hired tree specialists to prune the existing trees on the property – which does not require a permit.

The trees are mature, but have not been properly maintained over the years. The proposed pruning is anticipated to improve the condition of the trees by removing dead, dying, diseased and weak branches from the crown.

Pruning techniques like topping, over lifting and lion tailing are prohibited in the city.

The tree removal and maintenance is being done as part of Westwood Financials plans to renovate its property and bring in new business.

Click here to read the permit application approval and full arborist report.



Yes we know, the driveway into Fort Steilacoom Park is challenging, to say the least.

Significant deterioration of the road prompted city staff to recently recommend moving up plans to pave the driveway as soon as possible.

Pending City Council approval later this month, additional money will be applied to the project. The allocation means a permanent fix could be made by the end of 2017.

But don't worry, the road won't remain in its current state between now and then.

Now that the weather is warming up, road crews will apply hot mix patches that provide a comprehensive repair compared to the gravel that is used during the cold, wet months. These temporary patches will smooth the driveway and remain in place until paving occurs.

The City Council will review the city’s 2016 year-end financial report and a proposed 2017 carry forward budget adjustment at its April 10 study session. The city’s finances ended better than anticipated in 2016 largely because revenues came in higher than anticipated and because we realized some savings on expenses.

Most of the money carried over will cover previously approved projects from 2016 that will be completed this year, but some projects like the Fort Steilacoom Park driveway will receive additional funding.

The city shares and understands the frustration of park visitors who have to navigate the holes in the road. But before we can fix them, two other projects in the park must be completed: the Waughop Lake Trail and parking lot improvements.

Work resumed April 3 on the trail project. That means large trucks carrying heavy loads will come and go from the park. Once the trail work is done more large trucks will travel through the park to improve the parking lot near the barns. (Check out the Waughop Lake Trail Project page to see photos of the trail paving .)

The hot asphalt patches will be applied to the large potholes on the driveway after these projects are done.

If the patches were applied now the large trucks would tear them up.

We ask for patience while this work is completed.

We are accepting applications from vendors interested in showing at our weekly Farmers Market, held Tuesdays in Towne Center starting June 6, and our annual SummerFEST festival held this year on July 8 at Fort Steilacoom Park.

See below for more:





Lakewood Farmers Market

The Lakewood Farmers Market takes place June 6 – September 12, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., Tuesdays in Lakewood Towne Center.

Join our close-knit, friendly family of vendors! We are seeking crafters and artisans. Deadline is May 15.

Click here for the vendor application . Contact Sally Martinez (253) 983-7758 for more informaiton.






SummerFEST Vendors

Businesses, health and fitness entrepreneurs, artisans, crafters, and organizations are invited to join Lakewood SummerFEST July 8 and gain exposure to 15,000 people. 

With over 25 sporting activities, art, live music, food trucks, international festival, car show and more this free festival engages people of all ages. Contact Sally Martinez at (253) 983-7758 or email  .

Application and event details on our SummerFEST page

Walking through the vacant Golden Lion Motor Inn Tuesday afternoon, police Chief Mike Zaro recounted a homicide he worked at the motel in the early 2000s as a Pierce County Sheriff’s Department detective (before the city formed its police department).

As he walked alongside what remained of the partially demolished building, Zaro rattled off numerous crimes committed at the motel over the years. They ranged from serious like the homicide he worked, and sexual assaults, to lesser incidents like drug offenses and fights.

As he climbed into a giant excavator located at the back of the property, Zaro was ready to for some “demolition therapy.”

Seated in the cab of the yellow beast, Zaro maneuvered the arm over the building until it came to a rest at the roofline. Moments later the loud crunch of wood cracking and glass shattering echoed through the property.

Standing to the side, the demolition crew from Northwest Abatement Services, Inc. watched as Zaro helped tear down the single-story motel located at 9201 South Tacoma Way.

Northwest Abatement Services started demolition March 31 after nearly a month of preparation. That included asbestos cleanup and other steps to make 

sure the site was safe before the buildings came down.

The motel has been on the city’s radar for more than a decade for various building code violations and calls for police service.

In 2011 Lakewood police were called to the motel at a rate of two times that of nearby motels. By mid-2011 the Golden Lion’s calls for police service were the highest among all motels in the city, according to police statistics.

Here’s a snapshot of police calls for service for some of the worst years in 2011, 2012 and 2013:

  • 2011: 103 totalalls (13 “serious” including rape, weapon, shots fired, domestic violence, sex offender, narcotics violations)
  • 2012: 156 total calls (14 “serious”including simple assault, resisting arrest, fight, domestic violence and narcotics)
  • 2013: 102 total calls ( Seven were “serious”, including fights, simple assault and domestic violence).

The motel has a new owner who worked with the city to see the property razed. He plans to develop the site, though the details of those plans are still in the works. 

Click here to see a video of Chief Mike Zaro demolishing the building.


The Waughop Lake trail will close April 3 so crews can finish work on the trail improvements.

Work was halted earlier this year after weather became too wet and cold for new pavement to be installed.

The trail will remain closed to the public until the work is complete. Please stay off the trail until it reopens – your cooperation will reduce the project cost and allow us to finish faster.

Those worried about tree removal, don’t worry. Replacement trees will be planted in October. Find out more on the lake project page.



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