Sign up for weekly news updates .

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 5/8/09

May 8, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

Volunteer of the Year Award: The City hosted the annual recognition breakfast for volunteers this week at Clover Park Technical College which was attended by about 135 volunteers. The annual Bill Harrison Volunteer of the Year award was presented to the Springbrook Mobile Food Bank Volunteers for their work providing three days worth of food every Saturday to 125-150 households (totaling more than 500 people) in the Springbrook neighborhood. The other nominations included Lewis Harrey and Sharron Kanter.

Wachter elected president of WSAMA: Lakewood city attorney Heidi Wachter has been elected by her colleagues as president of the Washington State Association of Municipal Attorneys. Wachter has been Lakewood’s city attorney since 2002.

RAMP reviews transportation projects: The public works director and city manager attended this month’s meeting of the Regional Access Mobility Partnership (RAMP), and a number of transportation projects were reviewed. The recent session of the Legislature did provide funding several area projects including $8 million in Regional Mobility Grant Program funds for the Lakewood-Tacoma Commuter Rail project (D to M Street New Track and Signal). Lakewood also received $321,000 in funding for the Park Lodge Elementary School “Safe Routes to School” Project.

Lakewold Gardens 20th anniversary: This week’s celebration of the 20th anniversary of Lakewold as a gardens facility open to the public was held in the Wagner House, and included remarks by the son of Eulalie Wagner. The city manager attended the reception, and Lakewold is appreciative of the partnership between the historic estate and the City.

AWC Chief Executive Officer selection process: The city manager is a member of the 5-member selection committee reviewing applicants for the CEO position for the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). The position will replace recently-retired Stan Finkelstein. AWC represents all 281 Washington State cities and towns in relation to state and federal legislation, as well as training and development.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 5/1/09

May 1, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • PROAC conducts stolen DVDs investigation: In September 2007, the Police Department's Proactive Property Crimes Unit (PROAC) started an investigation into a subject that was paying boosters to steal DVDs from area retailers so that she could resell them at the Starlite Swap Meet. The subject was eventually identified and located. Several boosters were arrested during the past year who confirmed they were stealing DVDs for this subject but would not cooperate further with the investigation. In March 2009, PROAC was able to identify a person that was willing to sell DVDs to the suspect, presenting them as stolen. The 150 plus DVDs needed for this operation were provided to us by Target Stores Investigation Division, who also assisted with video surveillance during the controlled exchanges. The PROAC unit secured a court order for body wires and audio surveillance was conducted as well. The suspect was recorded ordering DVDs, telling them what stores to avoid and reminding the boosters to not get caught. The investigation netted 3 search warrants, a residence, a vehicle and the swap meet location. The search warrants brought the recovery of over 1,500 DVDs still in the factory wrappers, and the suspect was arrested at the swap meet. This investigation revealed that the subject had cost area retailers between $800,000 to $1,200,000 in product loss and lost sales. The investigation is continuing into other subjects engaged in the same criminal activity based out of other retail locations in Lakewood. The arrested subject was charged with Organized Retail Theft, Possession of Stolen Property and Trafficking in Stolen Property. The Prosecutor's Office is also exploring the charge of Leading Organized Crime.
  • City Probation Officer honored: Jeanette Matthews was named Probation Officer of the Year by the WA State Misdemeanant Corrections Association.
  • Military base school facilities tour: The mayor and city manager joined representatives from Congressmen Norm Dicks and Adam Smith's offices, the Clover Park School District, and BCRA on a tour of military base schools on April 30th. The tour included visits to Hillside Elementary and Greenwood Elementary on Fort Lewis, as well as the proposed site of a new middle school on base. A comprehensive review of facilities needs for the growing military population will be a part of the OEA (Office of Economic Adjustment) grant from DoD, in which the City and the School District are participating.
  • National Urban League CEO presents "The State of Black America": On April 28, the city manager attended the Tacoma Urban League's annual business meeting in Tacoma at which former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial, the CEO of the National Urban League, was the speaker. Dorothy Anderson, the local urban league president, discussed with the city manager that Lakewood is in the area served by the Tacoma Urban League, and she requested to meet with us in Lakewood to discuss opportunities.
  • Tillicum Neighborhood Plan: Following its introduction at last Monday's City Council meeting, the draft Tillicum Neighborhood Plan is now available for public review online at /news-and-events/524-tillicum-neighborhood-plan.html. The draft plan focuses on Tillicum's future in light of the development potential that new sewer service will bring to the community. It suggests a series of actions and general time frames intended to further improvements, both "on the ground" and to the overall quality of life, in the Tillicum neighborhood. The Planning Advisory Board will review the draft plan on May 6, and additional public meetings will be scheduled. Reference copies of the plan are available during regular business hours at the Tillicum and Lakewood Library reference desks and the second-floor lobby at City Hall. Individual copies may be obtained for the cost of reproduction.
  • Tillicum/Woodbrook Sewer Project Construction Management Team introduction to public: Public Works will be attending the Tillicum/Woodbrook Neighborhood Association meeting on Thursday, May 7 as the first of two such meetings geared towards introducing to the community the city's construction management team for the Tillicum/Woodbrook Sanitary Sewer project, giving them some insight as to how the construction work is to be carried out and to answer any questions they may have. The second meeting will be held later in the month and the department will be specifically inviting those property owners and tenants whose property fronts on the project.
  • Officers in "Tunnel of Hope" at Oakwood: Neighborhood police team members (two CSOs and three officers) participated in the "Tunnel of Hope" at Oakwood Elementary School on April 14th, in which they greeted the students as they arrived at school and encouraged them to do their best on the upcoming WASL test. The event was sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club Hope Center.
  • Officers at Southgate talk about bullying and gangs: Neighborhood police team officers went out to Southgate Elementary to present a power-point to a classroom of students on bullying and gangs. In addition to the presentation, pamphlets with crosswords and word finds as well as coloring books on how NOT to be a Bully were handed out to the students and teacher. The children were given information to take home to parents on the serious problem of bullying at school.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 4/17/09

April 17, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • US Census coordination: The city manager and staff met with the U. S. Census Bureau's partnership specialist this week to prepare for the upcoming census. Lakewood will play an active role in supporting the census since the importance of an accurate count is related to federal funding and grant eligibility. The formation of a "complete count committee" is recommended to assist with the outreach to various groups in the community. The transient nature of Lakewood's population will make the census process challenging.
  • Police Station dedication: The ribbon-cutting and grand opening of the City's new police station went smoothly on April 15th, with several hundred citizens present. The 40,000 SF, $12.7 million facility was completed on budget and on schedule. The Police Department is in the transition process and the building will be open for business on Monday, April 20th.
  • Parks & Recreation director is Lakewood United speaker: Mary Dodsworth, department director, updated the group on April 16th regarding the Hill Ward restoration project, the blueberry farm, the Lake Louise "school park", and the proposed fishing pier at American Lake Park. The grand opening of the boat launch at American Lake Park is scheduled for May 16th.
  • Delinquent business licenses: Community Development staff began business checks this week with the intent to check each business in the City for a current business license. 126 businesses were contacted this week and 43 of those were not in compliance; they were issued warning notices to purchase a current license within seven days to preclude criminal citations. The inspections will continue until all businesses in the City have been brought into compliance.
  • City's Wellness Program recognized at AWC Employee Health Academy: Lakewood was one of 34 Washington cities and towns recognized by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) for its workplace health program. Dawn Avcular, Lakewood's wellness coordinator, and committee member Rebecca Hendricks received recognition for Lakewood's Wellness Program at the association's 24th annual AWC Employee Health Academy in Richland.
  • Bridgeport gas main project status: On April 20th (Monday night), PSE's contractor will once again be grinding off the outside south-bound lane area on Bridgeport Way from Steilacoom Blvd northerly to 250 or 300 feet as part of the pavement restoration work associated with their gas main replacement project that occurred several years back. They will be back in the next night to repave the area.
  • City's Flett Creek Blueberry Farm WASL Week: Freshmen from Clover Park High School worked at the blueberry farm on April 13th and 14th moving wood chips, removing invasive plants and laying out weed fabric as part of a service learning project. The freshmen were available to help due to WASL Week since they did not have to take any tests. Three senior students organized the work as part of their senior projects. They organized the transportation, the scheduling and supervised the youth with the assistance of their teachers. Nearly 100 students over the two days made a significant impact to the farm by filling-in the paths which are currently underwater. This is the second year that students from Clover Park High School have assisted with the blueberry farm during WASL Week.
  • Wards Lake Park demolition: The demolition of the house on recently-acquired City park property at Wards Lake has been completed. The chosen contractor was the lowest bidder, but provided added value to the job. Due to the proximity to the lake, the demolition was conducted carefully to minimize impacts to the environment. Additionally, the house was not torn down, but carefully dismantled for maximum material recovery and recycling. While the recovered building materials had no resale value, many were reusable. The contractor donated building materials to Habitat For Humanity, a small church, and a local man who is rebuilding after his house burned down.
  • Abatement update: The abatement demolition of a house in the center of Lakewood has been completed. The house was an extensive complex of unpermitted and substandard additions which, in recent years, brought gang activity, drug dealing, and, reportedly, dog-fighting to the neighborhood. Abatement actions were also initiated against five properties, involving extreme neglect, dilapidated and apparently abandoned properties, and one property that had been a public nuisance for several years, due to hoarding, and was recently damaged and made uninhabitable by a recent fire. Property owners have already responded in two of these cases and expressed their commitment to correct the problems quickly. Additionally, property owners, lenders, and others have recently stepped forward to take action to correct a number of other public nuisance and dangerous building properties, including several properties that have been public nuisances and subject of enforcement actions for a number of years.
  • Police participate in Tunnel of Hope: CSO's Kevin Pressel and Sandi Stauffer along with Officers Karen Herritt, Charles Porsche, and Pete Johnson participated in the "Tunnel of Hope" at Oakwood Elementary School on April 14th. They greeted the students as they arrived at school and encouraged them to do their best on the upcoming WASL test. The event was sponsored by the Hope Center.
  • City staff supports Phoenix Housing Network breakfast: Human Services staff supported the Phoenix Housing Network on April 16th by serving at their Spring Breakfast Fundraiser. All funds raised from the breakfast support PHN's pre-employment and mental health services, and will help to replace aging and worn beds used by families in their shelter program. Phoenix Housing Network is funded in part with the 1% general services funding dedicated to support human services to the citizens of Lakewood. Phoenix Housing Network provided emergency and transitional housing to 13 Lakewood families in 2008 and is currently housing 5 families in their transitional housing program for 2009. PHN will more than double their capacity to house Lakewood families with the addition of Guadalupe Vista, a 4-story, 50 unit apartment building that will house 38 PHN homeless families, and is scheduled to open in fall 2009.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 4/24/09

April 24, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • "Lakewood 101": We are revamping the former Lakewood University program into a one-evening session, entitled "Lakewood 101"; it will be conducted by city staff on the evening of June 3rd at our new Police Station at 9401 Lakewood Drive SW. This year's theme is "Setting the Conditions for Prosperity" with a focus on economic development and public safety. Doors will open at 5pm with refreshments. Interested participants should RSVP by calling (253) 589-2489 or, preferably, emailing
  • Towne Center owners coordination: The city manager and senior staff convened a meeting this week with owners of Towne Center properties to discuss updates on properties, needs, and new development potential. 15 participants representing 10 properties were in attendance, joined by the city manager, ass't city manager for development, economic development manager, and police chief. Issues of parking, signage, and coordinated marketing were discussed, as well as the need to review underlying covenants that may discourage new business development in the Towne Centre.
  • City Clerk on state association board: General Services Director/City Clerk Alice Bush was recently appointed to the position of Board Member of the Washington Municipal Clerks Association (WMCA) after serving as Past President of that Association this last year. WMCA is comprised of over 325 members performing the duties of municipal and county clerk.
  • Pierce County Auditor meets in Lakewood City Hall: Jan Shabro, the new county Auditor, met with the city manager on April 17th to discuss animal control mutual aid provisions, as well as support to the City in elections and recording.
  • DUI conviction in municipal court: Associate City Attorney Matt Kaser obtained a favorable verdict in a DUI jury trial on April 22nd. The defendant was observed by Officer Brian Wurts speeding and exhibiting signs of intoxication, and admitted consuming a pitcher of alcohol at a local bar. She was arrested and processed for DUI, supplying samples in excess of twice the legal limit. The jury took about 30 minutes to return a guilty verdict, and returned a special finding that she had a BAC of over .15% which resulted in an enhanced sentence and which will result in a 1 year license suspension.

City Managers Weekly Info Bulletin 4/10/09

April 10, 2009
To: Mayor and Members of the City Council
From: Andrew Neiditz, City Manager

  • Bid Opening for the Sewer Project: To allow more time for the potential bidders to address recent addendums to the construction plans for the Woodbrook/ALGs/Tillicum Sanitary Sewer project, the bid opening date on the project has been extended two days to April 16th.
  • OEA Stakeholders Workshop: The City of Lakewood hosted a primary stakeholders workshop on April 9th at Clover Park Technical College. The city manager and mayor presented the opening introduction, and presentations were made by Fort Lewis, McChord AFB, and the Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) of the US Department of Defense. A total of 88 participated, representing over 30 agencies and entities throughout Pierce and Thurston counties. Focus will be on transportation, housing, education, and economic development. On April 8th, the City was awarded a $500,000 planning grant by OEA for transportation planning assistance. The grant will fund efforts to refine computer traffic models and determine which transportation alternatives would best address the challenges in the I-5 corridor adjacent to Ft. Lewis and McChord AFB. The 18 month study, closely coordinated with the Washington State Department of Transportation, Ft. Lewis, McChord AFB and other stakeholders, considers which strategies hold the most promise for reducing the congestion on I-5 as a result of the increased base population.
  • Police Station Grand Opening: Citizens are reminded that the City will host a ribbon-cutting at the new Lakewood Police Station (9401 Lakewood Drive SW) on Wednesday, April 15th at noon. Refreshments and an open house, which will run until 4 pm will follow the ribbon-cutting.
  • Strong performance in the 2009 SniperWeek conference: A Lakewood police officer, with his counterpart from Bonney Lake PD, participated on behalf of Metro Cities SWAT in a two-day conference in Florida focused on professional development in this very specialized field. The conference featured sniper debriefs of callouts, tactics and operational matters, and technical updates. The two officers placed 2nd overall in the range competition called Sniper Challenge, competing against 35 teams of police and military sniper units from around the country. All the courses of fire in the competition were based on real-world incidents.
  • Parks Appreciation Day - April 18: For the seventh year in a row, the City will participate in Parks Appreciation Day on April 18th. The City has planned volunteer work projects at four Lakewood parks sites: American Lake Park, Harry Todd Park, Fort Steilacoom Park and the Flett Creek Blueberry Fields. The landscaping planned at American Lake Park during this event is one of the last elements of the boat launch renovation project. Several service clubs and private businesses have lined up volunteers to help plant flowers, shrubs and trees, but many more volunteer hands are needed. Projects at Harry Todd Park will include painting a shelter/restroom facility and weeding flower beds. Projects at Fort Steilacoom Park include a barn clean out, removal of invasive weeds, dog park clean-up, removal of blackberry vines and cemetery restoration. Volunteers at the blueberry fields will spread mulch and trim back overgrown plants. Please join us on Saturday, April 18th from 9:00 a.m. to noon. For more information, call Suzi at (253) 983-7758.