Water and bathroom facilities are making life a little more bearable for people who live in one of Tacoma's largest encampments of homeless people.
City officials installed a water line and spigot last week, along with a row of portable toilets and sinks, near a few dozen tents and makeshift shelters in Tacoma's tideflats.
It represents a shift in the way Tacoma leaders manage a growing homeless population. Instead of forcing people off vacant lots like this, they say they are trying to make conditions cleaner and safer while they work toward longer-term solutions.
Tacoma's new poet laureate, Kellie Richardson, says her writing is laced with explorations of identity, and how different identities intersect. Sometimes, that means exploring her identities as an African-American woman, a mother, an activist, and a Christian.
Lately, she's also been thinking a lot about the identity of the city where she was born and raised. That includes "what gentrification continues to do" but also "having kids, and being able to see their journey's in the city versus mine."
Tacoma was once home to vibrant Japanese-American neighborhood full of photo studios, barbershops, and families. That was before almost 900 people of Japanese ancestry were forcibly removed from the city 75 years ago this week.
Tacoma leaders are signaling a shift in strategy in their fight against homelessness.
City Council members passed a resolution Tuesday calling for an "emergency temporary aid and shelter program." They said it may involve providing trash pickup and sanitation services to homeless people living in encampments -- or even creating a sanctioned tent city for the homeless.
When AliModarres looks at a map, he doesn’t see a line dividing King County and Pierce County. Instead, the urban studies professor sees the booming area right around Seattle as one region and everything to the south, from SeaTac in King County down through Pierce County, as another.
That latter area is what he defines as the South Sound. Southern King County, he said, has more in common economically and demographically with Pierce County than it does with Seattle and Bellevue.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the federal government isn't going to step in and help solve the city's homelessness crisis.
November's election, he said, made it clear that Seattle is on its own.
That's why he's asking city voters to approve $275 million in new property taxes over five years to invest in homelessness programs. He made what amounted to an opening pitch for the tax levy at a news conference Wednesday.
As Seattle lawmakers discussed pulling the city’s money from Wells Fargo to protest the bank’s support of the Dakota Access Pipeline, one idea got some applause: What about creating a taxpayer-owned bank in Washington state?
City Councilman Mike O’Brien floated the idea at a committee meeting last Wednesday while wondering where the city should park its money if it divests from Wells Fargo.