Sign up for weekly news updates .

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/23/10

April 23, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Police Promotions: Andrew Gildehaus was promoted to Sergeant and Jeff Alwine to Lieutenant on April 16, 2010.
  • April 24 is Parks Appreciation Day: Citizens are encouraged to join us on Saturday, April 24th at the City of Lakewood's 8th annual Parks Appreciation Day celebration. Projects are planned at Fort Steilacoom Park, American Lake Park, the city's Blue Berry Fields and Wards Lake Park, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and noon.
  • Amtrak Project Open House on May 17th: Residents and businesses are encouraged to learn more about the proposed Point Defiance Bypass rail project by attending an informational open house sponsored by WSDOT on Monday, May 17th from 4-7 p.m. The event will be held in Lakewood at Clover Park Technical College's Rotunda Building (entrance off of Steilacoom Blvd). Those attending can view maps and other displays concerning the project, talk with WSDOT rail division staff, and provide comments.
  • Communications Director to attend National Security Issues Seminar: Communications Director Jeff Brewster, in his Army Reserve status, will be attending the Reserve Component National Security Issues Seminar in Arlington VA later this month. The seminar is presented by the Army War College and is described as a "short version of the war college experience." It is an intensive one-week seminar for selected Reserve Component officers, who are also community leaders, which focuses on contemporary geopolitical issues, the process involved in national security decision-making, and current strategy for meeting U.S. defense needs.
  • LPD sponsors Rape Aggression Defense class: Lakewood Police Department sponsored Rape Aggression Defense (RAD), a self-defense class specifically designed for women. This class is over 12 hours of instruction over four evenings, and is provided at no cost to participants. The current session concluded on April 22nd, with 15 students participating. Instructors for this class include Correne Buck, Dawn McGinnis, and Lt Steve Mauer of LPD and UW police officer Pat Gilbert.
  • CSRT Staff Conduct Graffiti Clean Up In Springbrook Neighborhood: Due to the large amounts of graffiti being observed in District 2, on April 2nd, CSRT members Gail Conelly and Mike Miller conducted a graffiti clean up emphasis in the Springbrook neighborhood. Graffiti was cleaned up off of numerous fences and utility boxes throughout the neighborhood. The area was once again tagged by an incoming gang who is trying to claim the neighborhood as their turf. CSRT covered the graffiti, and contacted the Neighborhood Association to help out. The Pacific/Springbrook Neighborhood Association members are in the process of gathering donated supplies to keep on top of cleaning up the graffiti on their properties as it occurs. In addition, the members are volunteering to help other residents clean up the graffiti on their property, keeping the neighborhood clean and free from graffiti.
  • Litter Clean Up Day by CSRT Staff and Pacific/Springbrook Neighborhood Association: On Saturday, April 3rd, CSRT members Gail Conelly and Doug Price participated in a litter clean up day with the leadership of the Pacific/Springbrook Neighborhood Association. Several bags of litter were picked up throughout the neighborhood. The event was organized by association vice-president John Ruze. The first Saturday of every month was selected as the day for the neighborhood to get together to clean up litter.
  • LPD attends National Tactical Officers Association Class: SWAT Team supervisor Lt Steve Mauer spent the week in a National Tactical Officers Association SWAT supervision and command decision-making class, designed to help SWAT supervisors prepare for collateral duty.
  • WSDOT cancels northbound I-5 closure from concrete panel project: WSDOT is canceling a previously scheduled full closure of northbound I-5 and is planning weather-dependent lane restrictions in Lacey and Lakewood April 23-25. Nearly three weeks have passed since WSDOT and contractor Penhall Company began rehabilitating 25.5 lane miles of concrete between in Thurston and Pierce counties. So far, crews have replaced 85 of 295 concrete panels and 3,018 of 56,700 dowel bars on the project. Southbound I-5 motorists in Lakewood can expect triple-lane closures from 7 p.m. Saturday, April 24 to 8 a.m. Sunday, April 25 between 48th Street and Gravelly Lake Drive. Drivers can expect delays during construction and should either adjust their travel times or avoid the impacted areas of I-5 during work hours. While WSDOT schedules high-impact construction at night - when traffic volumes are lower - the best times to travel northbound I-5 in Lacey and southbound I-5 in Lakewood this weekend are Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Drivers can stay informed about this project, visit the online construction schedule and watch the progress by visiting
  • Country Club thanks City for construction process: The Tacoma Country & Golf Club monthly newsletter featured the president's message with thanks to the City and PSE and their contractors for completing the utility project on schedule and with the minimal possible impact to their course. The message stated also that because of our "timely and conscientious effort", they were able to start planting trees and restoring the course last month.
  • Clover Park Rotary donated roses to Lakewood Police: On April 21st, Clover Park Rotary brought in 150 dozen roses which had been donated by the citizens of Lakewood. Every year, the Clover Park Rotary has a rose sale for Administrative Professional's Day and every year they chose an organization or group who they ask the community to donate roses to. This year they chose the Lakewood Police Department.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/16/10

April 16, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood Sub-Chapter of AUSA operational: The Lakewood Sub-Chapter of the Fort Lewis Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Chapter recently formed and is looking for new members. This group was created to support Lakewood's "Community Connector," the 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team and to support local veterans. The sub-chapter is composed of active, reserve, and retired military, local businesses, the City of Lakewood, and friends of the Army. If you'd like to get involved, please consider attending their next general membership meeting on June 9th at 4pm at Lakewood's Burs Restaurant at 6151 Steilacoom Blvd SW. Call Richard Wall at 984-1523 with questions.
  • Gravelly Lake Drive Closure/Detour Update: Due to scheduling issues associated with the relocation of other utilities that lay in the path of the City's sewer construction work on Gravelly Lake Drive, the City's contractor (NW Cascade) has deferred starting that work which was originally scheduled for Monday April 19th to Monday April 26th. Accordingly, Gravelly Lake Drive between Pacific Highway and I-5 will remain open to traffic through next week. Beginning on Monday, April 26th at 8:00 PM Gravelly Lake Drive between I-5 and Pacific Highway will be closed to traffic. The closures will be restricted to night time hours between 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM and will continuing for up to 6 work days, depending on weather. Signs and detours will be posted on I-5, Gravelly Lake Drive, and Pacific Highway. Local businesses have been notified of this change.
  • Robber Caught: On Tuesday in Woodbrook, LPD arrested the man sought by both LPD and Tacoma for robbing stores at knife point in the past two weeks. Detectives got a Crime Stoppers tip which led them to his location.
  • Community Safety & Resources Team (CSRT) presentation on Code Enforcement: CSRT team member Randy Richards gave a presentation at the Crime Free Housing Seminar on April 6th at the Police Department, with over30 apartment owners and managers and mobile home park owners/managers were in attendance. The presentation covered various private property topics such as adequate garbage service, abandoned vehicles, graffiti removal, identification of dilapidated buildings for abatement, business license procedures, sign permits as defined in the municipal sign code, and general issues of property maintenance.
  • CSRT responds to Abandoned House Clean-Up: CSRT team members Randy Richards and Dawn McGinnis responded to a complaint of a large pile of rotting garbage, furniture and debris sitting in the driveway of an abandoned house. The former occupants were believed to have moved out, possibly the result of an eviction. Household trash bags were stacked around the mailbox blocking citizen passage on the sidewalk in the public right-of-way. The complainants stated that animals were tearing apart the trash bags and scattering the remains throughout neighboring properties. Various unidentified people were stopping by the property during all hours of the day and night, trespassing and removing articles from the pile. The property stands adjacent to a main arterial highly visible to citizens passing by. The CSRT team was able to quickly secure the house and remove the trash off of the sidewalk allowing safe passage by pedestrians and cyclists. Through the joint cooperation of the State Corrections Dept and Lakewood work crews, the trash was removed.
  • Senior Safety Meeting: CSRT team member Dawn McGinnis provided a Senior Safety Meeting for the tenants of one of Lakewood's senior citizen apartment complexes. This meeting was at the request of several concerned tenants after multiple thefts at the property. The on-site manager worked with CSRT staff to coordinate the event; 35 tenants attended the meeting as well as management. Tips were presented on staying safe, how and when to call 911, and how to store valuables; tenants were provided written materials and contact information for City staff.
  • WRPA annual conference in Tacoma: Mary Dodsworth, Dennis Higashiyama, Amanda Richardson and Scott Williams of Lakewood's department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Services attended the Washington Recreation and Park Association (WRPA) Annual Conference this week at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Session topics during the conference focused on Cultural Arts and Heritage, Nature and the Environment, Health and Wellness, and Economic Development. Mary Dodsworth, Lakewood's department director and immediate past-president of the state organization, presented awards for the most outstanding park projects completed in Washington State over the past two years. Lakewood's Hill Ward Memorial project in Fort Steilacoom Park was ranked extremely high during the review process.
  • City of Lakewood now on Facebook: The City launched a Facebook page earlier this week, and within the first 24 hours had gained 100 fans. Find us at "City of Lakewood, Washington." There is a page using the name "City of Lakewood, WA" that is not affiliated with the City but is rather a real estate company impersonating the City. They have been asked to modify their name and indicated they would. City staff will use Facebook to provide updates on events, projects, and other matters of general public interest. Interested citizens are welcome to follow us on Facebook.
  • Metro SWAT Officers attend SniperWeek: This past week, three officers from Metro SWAT attended SniperWeek 2010 in Florida. SniperWeek is four-day professional development event in this specialized field, consisting of a conference and a competitive live-fire training event. The conference included discussions on functional fitness, malfunctions, special application/large caliber sniper weapons, rifle maintenance and repair issues, IED and booby-trap recognition and several debriefs by snipers regarding shootings they were involved in. There were 44 teams participating this year, a noticeable increase from 2009; the other teams included local, state and federal law enforcement, police officers from foreign countries and several teams of military sniper instructors. All of the courses of fire are based on actual police sniper shootings, or problems those officers had to overcome in order to save a life. Our Lakewood officer and a Bonney Lake officer ranked 5th place, while the Metro/Tac-30 team ranked 25th, a solid performance for two first-time attendees.
  • "Batter Up": The City will partner with the Lakewood Baseball Club during the spring baseball season as the baseball fields at Fort Steilacoom Park come alive with the sound of "Batter Up!" The local club holds its Jamboree games on Saturday April 17th on all four of the FSP fields.
  • April 24 is Parks Appreciation Day: Citizens are encouraged to join us on Saturday, April 24th at the City of Lakewood's 8th annual Parks Appreciation Day celebration. Projects are planned at Fort Steilacoom Park, American Lake Park, the city's Blue Berry Fields and Wards Lake Park, between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and noon. This is a regional effort associated with a county-wide Parks Appreciation Day and celebrations of Earth Day, Arbor Day, and National Parks Week. Participants should dress appropriately for the weather, with clearly-labeled hand tools from home, including such things as pruners, gloves, rakes, shovels, small pitch forks. Participants will be able to help prepare our local parks for the busy spring/summer seasons, and have fun as well. To register families, service organizations, school or church groups, please call Suzi Riley at (253) 983-7758.
  • Major Construction Projects on I-5 between Lacey and Tacoma: The Washington State DOT has advised travelers to expect major delays on upcoming weekends during evening and morning hours. Most start times begin at 7pm for various lane closures and run through the morning - sometimes until noon. The best source for information before you plan any trips is the following WSDOT website:

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/2/10

April 2, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Lakewood to Recognize Vietnam Veterans: During the next regular council meeting, Monday April 5th at 7pm at City Hall, the City Council will proclaim April 2010 as "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Month." All Vietnam veterans and friends of Vietnam veterans from Lakewood and beyond are encouraged to attend. Refreshments will be served after the proclamation.
  • Springbrook Neighborhood Association: The "Pacific Neighborhood Association" elected new leadership and renamed itself the "Springbrook Neighborhood Association." The new officers are primarily apartment managers in Springbrook. Mr. Charles Ames was elected as the president. The association will continue to meet every fifth Tuesday (which is quarterly) at 6:30pm. The association also decided to change the meeting location to Springbrook (from Ponders) and the next meeting will be held on June 29th and will hosted by the Garden Park Apartments at 12874 Lincoln Ave SW. Community Service Officer Gail Conelly is the City's liaison to the Springbrook neighborhood and the area surrounding Pacific Highway. Those residents and business surrounding Pacific Highway are encouraged to attend and participate.
  • Police Catch Purse Snatchers: On March 25th, Investigator Shirley McLamore and Officer Karen Herritt caught up with the duo that were snatching purses from grocery carts and then immediately using the credit cards (sometimes in the same grocery store where they took the purse while the victim was still shopping). Karen noticed that one of the subjects suddenly showed in a surveillance photo that he had a cast on his arm. She left a flier at St. Clare and within a day or two they had the names of the two suspects, a male and female. The officers served a search warrant on one suspect's residence and the suspects were located that afternoon spending some of their hard-earned proceeds. The female ringleader was booked for multiple counts of theft and forgery. The two officers did a great job and worked tirelessly on this case. This resolves probably 10+ purse snatchings with corresponding frauds committed on the victims' credit cards.
  • Oakland PD presents handmade quilt to LPD: Employees both current and retired, as well as their spouses, of Oakland (California) PD came to the Lakewood Police Department on Thursday March 25th at 2:00 p.m. to present Chief Farrar with a handmade quilt they had created which honored our four fallen officers. The quilt is so full of personal detail for each officer that it is truly memorable; we will be putting the quilt up for display once we have a way to keep it safe from admiring fingers. It is important to note as well that Oakland was commemorating the one year anniversary of the death of four of their officers (EOW March 21, 2009), so it was an especially emotional and moving tribute.
  • CSRT's Abatement and Clean-up at Fir Acres Mobile Home Park: In what was the City's largest and most complex abatement action, CSRT staff completed a dangerous building and public nuisance cleanup at the Fir Acres Mobile Home Park. A 2009 inspection of the property revealed significant deterioration of the structures, electrical system, and the property in general. There were numerous abandoned and vandalized mobile homes, dilapidated and dangerous structures, and an old meth lab that had not been cleaned up. The owners, managers, and investors proved unable and/or unwilling to take action to correct the conditions or sell the property. The abatement involved removal of 11 mobile homes (including the meth-contaminated unit) and 13 other structures, at a cost of approximately $80,000, and was done carefully so as to minimize disruption and not displace any residents. Staff worked with on-site management, residents, and their attorney, to provide information, address concerns, and identify and address residents and non-residents who were involved in illegal and nuisance activity on the property. A second abatement phase, which would have involved removal of additional vacant and dilapidated mobile homes and structures, and stabilization of the electrical system, is on hold as there is a sale of the property pending. Staff from the City and partner agencies are working with the prospective purchaser to establish agreements to reimburse the City for the abatement expenses and an operational plan to address the remaining code violations on the property in a timely manner. The City remains prepared to proceed with additional abatement action if the sale is not completed or the purchaser fails to correct the code violations.
  • Lakewood receives Federal CDBG and HOME Allocations. For fiscal year 2010, Lakewood will receive $691,806 in CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) and $451,333 in HOME (housing) allocations. This year's CDBG allocation is $50,000 more than the previous fiscal year. Since Lakewood is part of a HOME consortium with Tacoma, we receive 22.2% of their allocation; the 2010 Lakewood HOME allocation is about the same as last year's.
  • KLAY Talk Radio. The city manager was the guest on the Mike Lonergan radio show on Lakewood's KLAY radio station on April 2nd. The subjects included the newly awarded Police Department accreditation and Lakewood's economic challenges.
  • Northwest Regional City Managers Conference: The city manager attended the annual conference of city managers from Washington and Oregon this week in Welches OR, with about 140 participants. The theme was about "Surviving in a Difficult Economic Climate", with workshops on economic outlook for the Northwest, redesigning workplace processes, jump starting the local economy, and customer service in an anti-government age.
  • Governor Signs Bills at Lakewood Police Station: On March 31st, Governor Christine Gregoire signed bills into law at the Lakewood Police Station. One of the bills was HB 2519 relating to duty-related death benefits for public safety employees. There were about 300-400 people in attendance.


City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 4/9/10

April 9, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • 100th Street SW Traffic Delays starting April 17th: Sound Transit's contractor, Railworks/Merlino Construction will install a "sanitary sewer force main casing extension" on 100th Street - east of the railroad tracks over the weekend of April 17th. The road will remain open, but will be reduced to one lane eastbound. The work should be completed by Sunday afternoon. The contractor will be notifying adjacent businesses.
  • Gravelly Lake Drive Closure and Detour starting April 19th: The City's sewer contractor, NW Cascade will be closing Gravelly Lake Drive, just south of Pacific Highway to the railroad crossing overpass (I-5) to install sanitary sewer force main. The closures will be limited to night work between 8:00 PM to 5:00 AM starting Monday night, April 19, and continuing for up to 6 work days, depending on weather. Signs and detours will be posted on I-5, Gravelly Lake Drive, and Pacific Highway. Local businesses have been notified.
  • Draft Wards Lake Park Master Plan: The City is continuing development of a master plan for the 22-acre Wards Lake Park. Public meetings over the last month have shaped the proposed design and have been attended by neighborhood residents, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) members, and City staff. Staff will present a draft master plan design on Thursday, April 22, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. in the Council Chambers. The public is again encouraged to attend and participate. If you have questions, please call (253) 983-7758.
  • Building Permit Activity: For March, 2010, the building division issued 117 building permits totaling 9.4 million dollars in estimated valuation.
  • Meeting with Korean Building Contractors: The City conducted its fourth workshop with local Korean contractors. Topics included licensing, bonding, insurance requirements, and making application for small works rosters. The workshop was well attended.
  • Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Abatement and Redevelopment Program: City staff recently met with representatives from the Washington State Department of Commerce to review the City's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Abatement and Redevelopment Program. The City identified program impediments and State Commerce staff seemed amenable to reviewing current policies. The State indicated the City was "fully committed" and was meeting required deadlines. In addition, Commerce staff stated the City's abatement program was "far ahead" of other cities with regard to abatement processes and procedures. On a similar note, HUD recently revised its definition of "abandoned" and "foreclosed" properties that will enable the City to more easily apply funds throughout Lakewood.
  • CSRT Initiates Parking Patrols In Tillicum: CSRT initiated special parking violator emphasis patrols in Tillicum due to a high volume of citizen complaints about people parking in "no parking" zones and on sidewalks. Six citations have been issued so far and one unauthorized vehicle was towed.
  • CSRT, Tillicum And Neighborhood Associations Working Together: Through the encouragement of the CSRT, the Tillicum and Lake City Neighborhood Associations are working together to identify and create joint neighborhood projects; this same cooperation will be encouraged in other districts as well.
  • Upcoming Events To Honor Fallen Officers: The Tacoma Rainiers are hosting a special evening of baseball this Saturday, April 10th at 7 p.m. called "S.H.I.E.L.D Night" to honor Lakewood's four fallen police officers. In addition, the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial Ball will be held on Saturday, April 10th beginning at 3 p.m. Both events promise to be enjoyable and inspirational. Proceeds from the baseball game will be donated to the Lakewood Police Independent Guild's charity and proceeds from the Memorial Ball will be directed to the "Behind the Badge Foundation" which supports families of fallen police officers.

City Manager's Weekly Info Bulletin 3/26/10

March 26, 2010
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Official Census Questionnaire Assistance Center opens at Lakewood City Hall: A Questionnaire Assistance Center (QAC) clerk from the US Census Bureau is available on Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 5 pm at the first floor front counter at Lakewood City Hall, 6000 Main Street SW, to answer questions about the 2010 US Census. If citizens have questions about filling out the 2010 Census form, or if any households did not get a form, or if there's a need for language assistance, citizens are encouraged come on by. The Questionnaire Assistance Center will be at City Hall on Thursday and Friday afternoons through late April.
  • New Court Administrator in Lakewood Municipal Court : Deana Wright was appointed by Lakewood's presiding Judge Ernest Heller and the city manager as the City's new court administrator, and she will start on March 29th. She has been with the municipal court for 14 years, most recently as senior court specialist.
  • Ferrucci Jr. High School Sponsors Basketball Game to Raise Money for Fallen Officers: Ferrucci Jr. High in Puyallup sponsored a basketball game on March 24th to raise money for the Lakewood PD and Pierce County Sheriff's Department's Fallen Officers. The game was Teachers vs. Cops; Officers Jeff Martin, Ken Henson and Tim Borchardt along with Detective Ryan Larson played with Puyallup PD officers in an action-packed game. The Cops won the game 86-56. Ferrucci Jr. High stated they had a tentative early total of over $3,000 raised.
  • City Staff attend the Excellence in Leadership Conference: Staff from the Executive, Public Works, and Police Departments attended the Excellence in Leadership Conference on March 24th at the Tacoma Community College. The conference was open to public agency employees who were supervisors, lead workers, managers or directors. There were 26 different workshops offering information about the latest in supervision, employee discipline, basic communications, conflict resolution, preparing budgets, e-mail management, team building, generational differences, employee recognition and more. The conference was sponsored by the City of Lakewood, City of Federal Way, Kitsap County, Pierce County, Pierce County Library System, Tacoma/Pierce County Health Department, Tacoma Community College and the Washington State Department of Personnel. Approximately 300 people attended.
  • HR Employee nominated for United Way Volunteer of the Year: June Aguon, in the Human Resources Department, was nominated for United Way of Pierce County's Campaign Volunteer of the Year for 2009-2010. June is the Campaign Chair and has two coworkers assisting her in the campaign -- Diana Halar and Livia Rodriguez in Public Works. Those nominated for this award demonstrate a high level of dedication to making our community a better place. Nominees and winners will be announced at a Community Celebration on April 27th at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.
  • American Lake Toxic Algae Advisory lifted: The Toxic Algae Advisory for American Lake has been lifted. The toxic algae bloom has decreased in size and no longer presents a public health concern. Toxic algae are capable of producing toxins and, if present in large amounts, can pose a risk to pets and people. Swallowing or prolonged skin contact with the algae may cause illness that might include, muscle weakness, vomiting, diarrhea and/or nausea. A health concern exists where the toxic algae are visible as a scum on the waters surface that looks like green paint or pea soup. If citizens see signs of a new toxic algae bloom or for further information, they should contact the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Dept. -- Ray Hanowell at (253)798-2845 or Lindsay Tuttle at (253)798-3530
  • EDB Annual Meeting: The Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County held its 2010 annual meeting in Tacoma on March 26th with about 500 attendees. The keynote speaker was Joel Kotkin, author of "The Next Hundred Million, who spoke about the changing demographics and economic dynamics of the region and the nation as a whole. Senior city staff attended, along with Councilmembers Whalen, Anderson, and Moss. The City of Lakewood is a public sector investor in the EDB, and the city manager is a board member.
  • Champions for Youth Breakfast: The Communities in Schools/Lakewood held its annual event on March 24th to raise awareness and celebrate mentor relationships with adults and young people in Lakewood. A number of City employees have volunteered to mentor at various schools in the district.