Tacoma

Will James / KNKX

If you go to the base of Point Defiance in Tacoma and look east, you'll see a finger of earth jutting into Puget Sound. 

It formed as toxic slag spilled from a copper smelter during the city's industrial heyday. 

For years, it was a foreboding sliver of black, glassy material. Today, workers and machines roam the peninsula as they transform it into a grassy park with Puget Sound views.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Seattle is getting its first woman mayor since Bertha Knight Landes was elected in in 1926. Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is set to become mayor. 

Women will now likely hold the top office in three out of four of Washington state’s biggest cities.

Will James / KNKX

Former City Councilwoman Victoria Woodards leads local architect Jim Merritt by about four percentage points in Tacoma's mayoral race.

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People driving through Tacoma on Saturday evening say they saw a banner with the phrase "white lives matter" unfurled over I-5. 

It's the latest in a string of white nationalist messages reported in Pierce County.

Will James / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma say they’re attacking homelessness on two fronts.

Since the summer, they have spent millions of dollars on new services while also cracking down on people sleeping outside.

Five months into what officials describe as an emergency plan, they're now talking about doubling down on both strategies next year. 

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One of the starkest challenges facing South Sound leaders is how to spare residents a punishing commute to Seattle.

With transit improvements years away, some officials are looking to the sea instead. 

Will James / KNKX

Growing up Roma meant growing up fast -- and learning how to hustle. 

That's how Miller Steve describes it. He was raised in Tacoma's Roma community in the 70's and 80's, when it was a close-knit collection of families, all descended from a nomadic minority group in Europe

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

One of the most powerful activist groups in Tacoma has changed its name after critics said the previous title was insensitive to people of color.

The group known as RedLine Tacoma is now Redefine Tacoma. 

Will James / KNKX

The City of Tacoma is three months into an emergency plan to address homelessness, estimated to cost $3.4 million by the end of the year.

On Tuesday, city leaders released some data showing how those efforts are working out. The numbers tell a story of successes and roadblocks.

Will James / KNKX

Leaders in Tacoma are months into a citywide effort to address homelessness. 

Their next step: Hiring an artist. 

City officials are conducting a nationwide search for Tacoma's first artist-in-residence. Whoever gets the job will work specifically on issues related to homelessness.

Erin Hennessey / KNKX

Results continue to come in for this year's primary election.  

Last updated at 4:40 p.m. on Wednesday, August, 2, 2017.

KNKX is keeping an eye on several races around the Puget Sound region. We'll be updating this page as results become available. Given the state's vote-by-mail process, outcomes may change over the next few days. 

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The Tacoma area leads the state in hospitalizations for conditions that may be preventable, such as complications from diabetes, a new study says.

The report, released this week by the state's Office of Financial Management, found two neighboring state legislative districts had the highest rates of hospital visits deemed "potentially preventable."

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Shannon Zawilski used to spend all day on her feet as a nurse in an intensive care unit, or ICU. 

Now, she spends her 12-hour shifts watching a screen.

She works in CHI Franciscan Health's virtual ICU in Tacoma, where she monitors the vital signs of dozens of the hospital system's most fragile patients. 

Will James / KNKX

Environmental activists are the most vocal group in Tacoma politics today.

That's a new development in a city known as a hub of heavy industry. But growing concerns about fossil fuels and pollution are already shaping the race for the next mayor.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

This story was originally published July 4, 2013.

It seems as much a part of a trip to the ballpark as eating hotdogs.

But, when you hear the announcer say, "Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and remove your caps for the singing of the national anthem," do you ever wonder why you're standing?

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Tacoma City Council members voted Tuesday to lift an 11-year ban on electroshock weapons, including stun guns and Tasers.

The policy change came amid pressure from a gun rights group and doubts about whether the city's ban would hold up in court.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma officials are at a critical point in their new plan to manage homelessness.

This week, city leaders are attempting to move an entire encampment of homeless people to a new site overseen by the city, much of which will be covered by a gigantic tent.

That means convincing dozens of people to voluntarily pack their belongings, abandon their shelters, and accept the rules of the sanctioned encampment, located a mile away.

Bellamy Pailthorp / KNKX

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent over the last few decades to clean up toxic pollution from the region’s industrial past.

In Tacoma, a prime spot for manufacturing and processing is the waterfront area in the center of town.

The City of Destiny no longer suffers from the notorious “Tacoma aroma” of its past. But some of the less-visible cleanup work is vulnerable because of budget cuts before the state legislature.

Will James / KNKX

Tacoma officials' plan to reduce the impacts of homelessness on public health began this month with the installation of a water line and portable toilets at one of the city's largest encampments.

But those amenities are scheduled to be on-site for six weeks at most. City leaders are still figuring out exactly what happens next. 

Will James / KNKX

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. 

Courtesy of city of Tacoma

After a nationwide search for a new city manager, Tacoma leaders chose someone close to home.

Courtesy of the Tacoma Public Library http://bit.ly/2pRsmhM

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. 

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Tacoma’s City Attorney’s Office is exploring ways to hold the makers of opioid painkillers accountable for the city’s growing homelessness crisis.

The city is gathering information from law enforcement and other city officials to determine whether to move forward with a lawsuit against drug manufacturers.

Last January, the city of Everett filed a lawsuit against Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, alleging the company knowingly allowed pills to be funneled to the black market.

"20040812 08 Tacoma, WA" by David Wilson is licensed under CC by 2.0. http://bit.ly/2qKMFkJ

The University of Washington is preparing to turn students into government consultants for the city of Tacoma.

That's the next subject of the university’s Livable City Year program, which pairs students with government officials for an academic year to help study and shape policy.

PAULA WISSEL / KNKX

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. 

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Tacoma Public Schools, once labeled "dropout factories," posted record-high graduation rates last year that beat statewide averages.

That's according to a report released Friday by the nonprofit Foundation for Tacoma Students. The group formed in 2010, the year a dismal 55 percent of the city's students finished high school in four years.

Simone Alicea / KNKX

Since the election, there has been renewed interest in learning about how government works. 

Most high school students said in 2010 that they learned about civics in some form, according to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress in the subject.

But many adults in Washington state and around the country are finding those high school government lessons difficult to remember. 

What Washington Teaches Kids

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When Ali Modarres 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.

Doug / Flickr

About a dozen juniors and seniors from Tacoma high schools are helping build airplanes as part of the state's first youth apprenticeship in aerospace and manufacturing.

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee launched the program last week with several manufacturers in Pierce County.

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More than 50 years have passed since Bobby Seale co-founded the Black Panther Party.

But the lessons of 1960s political movements still apply today, Seale said in an interview this week, before he delivered a lecture on activism at the University of Washington Tacoma. 

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