See below for additional information from city liaisons below. Topics in bold.

TFD  St. #8: 4911 S Alaska St • 253.594.7948 • St. #10: 901 Fawcett Ave                     • 253.591.5737 •

TPD Sector 3 Substation: 1501 S 72nd St • Sector 4 Substation: 400 E 56th St         • 253.594.7948 •

City of Tacoma Linda Stewart, Neighborhood and Community Services Director • 747 Market St Room 836 • 253.591.5225 •

City Council District 5 Chris Beale • 253.312.0550                                                                •

City Council District 4 Catherine Ushka • 253.355.1276                                                     •

City Manager’s Office Ted Richardson, Management Fellow • 253.341.8702          •

Safe Streets Darren Pen, Community Mobilization Specialist • 622 Tacoma Ave S • 253.272.6824 •

Port of Tacoma Leslie Barstow, Community Relations Manager • One Sitcum Plaza • 253.428.8662 •

Tacoma Public Utilities John Gaines, Community Relations Manager • 3628 S 35th St • 253.260.0065 •

Environmental Services Preston Peck, Recycle Reset Project Lead • 3510 S Mullen St • 253.593.7707 •

Metro Parks Craig Standridge, Conservation Engagement Coordinator • 5400 N Pearl • 253.404.3690 •

Tacoma Public Schools Lisa Nolan, Assistant Superintendent• 253.571.1252      •

Pierce Transit Penny Grellier, Community Development Coordinator                      • 253.589.6886

City Manager’s Office:

The City is really trying to push out Rental and Utility Assistance funding right now before it receives more money from the American Rescue Plan (about $63 million total!). Can you please pass this link on to any person or groups you know that would be able to utilize it?

Rental Assistance | Pierce County, WA – Official Website


Help shape the future of housing in Tacoma

The Planning Commission is seeking public input on a package of policy actions intended to increase housing supply, choice and affordability in Tacoma.

PUBLIC HEARING: Wednesday, April 7th beginning at 5:30 p.m. on ZOOM


Dial: +1 253 215 8782

Webinar ID: 821 9792 3401

COMMENTS DEADLINE: Friday, April 9th to or   Planning Commission, 747 Market Street Room 345, Tacoma WA 98402

Learn more and COMMENT by April 9th on the interactive Housing Growth Scenarios Map 

The full proposals are at

The City is asking for your input on proposed housing growth strategy changes that would affect most of Tacoma’s residential areas, as well as near-term code changes, and an environmental (SEPA) review of potential impacts. This input will inform the Planning Commission’s recommendations to the City Council. The City Council will consider these recommendations in May to June 2021.

Council action will then initiate the next phase of public engagement and policy development from July to December 2021, to develop zoning changes, and standards changes, and other actions. Sign up to receive updates!

 Home In Tacoma Project proposals

·         Allow more housing types (such as duplexes, triplexes, cottages and small multifamily) throughout Tacoma’s neighborhoods

·         Allow mid-scale multifamily housing in areas close to shopping and transit

·         Update design standards so new housing complements the neighborhood

·         Strengthen policies and programs to make housing more affordable

·         Strengthen anti-racism and anti-displacement policies and programs

Housing Choice Survey—a summary of the 870 responses is now available

Check out the Virtual Housing Café series recordings (English and Spanish versions on the project webpage)

Find out more about the project and view our interactive storymap at

The City of Tacoma has launched the Home In Tacoma Project to gain community and industry insight in updating Tacoma’s housing growth policies and zoning. Before Tacoma’s Planning Commission makes recommendations to the City Council for Comprehensive Plan, Zoning and other actions in 2021, we need your participation.

Tacoma Public Schools

Please see below for city-wide Tacoma public schools report. Not specific to South End. (We’re working on this.) 

April 2021

All students back in school now at least part time

By the first week of April, students in all grades are back in school at least part time.

The final grades began the week of March 29—grades 8, 10, 11.

We do not anticipate any additional schedule changes for the remainder of the school year.

Tracking all COVID-19 cases in Tacoma Public Schools

Since October, for transparency, Tacoma Public School has publicly reported the location, number of cases and number of associated individuals in quarantine. You can find the up-to-date chart in the Health Services section of our district website at

When we have a case, we follow the notification process established by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department in its School COVID-19 Case Response Toolkit.

Most recently, as more students have returned to school, we have seen an uptick in the number of reported cases in school. This is an expected occurrence. Nearly every person with a COVID-19 positive case in our schools has contracted the virus outside of school.

Vaccinations for TPS staff

Tacoma Public Schools has stopped offering mass vaccination clinics exclusively for TPS employees. As the number of vaccination opportunities has expanded throughout the community, we have had very few employees sign up for TPS-exclusive events.

We now believe that every TPS employee who wants a vaccination has had one.

We want to thank Rankos Pharmacy, Lincoln Pharmacy and Kirk’s Pharmacy for partnering with us on a series of highly popular exclusive vaccination clinics for our employees.

Board elects Deputy Superintendent Garcia to succeed Superintendent Santorno, who announces her retirement

The Tacoma School Board of Directors voted March 25 to elect Deputy Superintendent Josh Garcia to succeed Superintendent Carla Santoro, who recently announced her retirement at the end of the 2021-2022 School year.

President Andrea Cobb noted that she has worked in education throughout her career and served on the Board for six years—where she had observed the “culture of leadership,” vision and systems of improvement that Santorno and Garcia have built together.

The Board voted 4 to 0 with Board Director Enrique Leon abstaining. Director Leon praised Dr. Garcia’s work and leadership yet made clear he would have preferred a search and competition for the superintendent’s position.

The Board’s action also launched the beginning of negotiations between the Board and Dr. Garcia on a superintendent contract. At a future business meeting, as early as April 22, the Board will vote on the contact.

During the public comment portion of the board meeting, several community leaders representing TPS partner agencies thanked Superintendent Santorno and spoke about Dr. Garcia’s contributions to developing and growing partnerships to help Tacoma’s children.

Community partners included Shon Sylvia from Metro Parks, Tanya Durand from Greentrike (Children’s Museum), Fahren Johnson from the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation who previously worked for the YMCA, Tom Pierson from the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Holly Bamford Hunt from the Bamford Family Foundation and Tafona Ervin from the Foundation for Tacoma Students.

Partners lauded Dr. Garcia’s contributions to expand learning opportunities for students before and after school, use data systems to support student 

Dr. Garcia joined Tacoma Public Schools in March 2012 after serving as assistant superintendent, executive director and high school principal in the Federal Way School District. He started his career in the Riverview School District as a teacher, athletic director and dean of students.

Coming in late April: Superintendent’s recommendation on renaming Jason Lee MS

During April, Superintendent Carla Santorno expects to make her recommendation to the School Board on the renaming of Jason Lee Middle School.

In 2020, citizens asked Tacoma Public Schools to consider renaming Jason Lee Middle School.

Following district policy, Superintendent Santorno deemed the request worthy of consideration and assigned Stewart Middle School Principal Kim Messersmith in collaboration with Interim Jason Lee Principal Michael Knuckles to form a committee to study the issues. The committee commissioned a survey in which 67 percent of respondents supported a name change.

The committee considered a range of options for a new name and presented its findings to the School Board on Feb. 18. The top names considered:

  • Hilltop Heritage Middle School
  • šɘqalič Middle School (pronounced shuh-kah-leech); šɘqalič, means “up on top” or “high up top” in the Lushootseed language, which is the historic language of the Puyallup Tribe.

Background: Why change the name of Jason Lee Middle School?

Jason Lee Middle School in Tacoma’s historic Hilltop neighborhood was constructed in 1924-25 at the former site of the College of Puget Sound. It was named after one of the first missionaries in the Pacific Northwest, who arrived at Fort Vancouver in 1834 and in 1835 established the first mission and manual labor school for American Indians in Oregon to convert the Local Native American people. 

These institutions were notorious for the cultural genocide and abuse they inflicted on Indigenous people across the continent. 

NEW SPORT: TPS launches high school girls flag football in partnership with Seattle Seahawks, WIAA, Nike and NFL Flag 

The Seattle Seahawks announced April 1 a donation of $50,000 to support flag football participation for youth in the state of Washington. In partnership with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA), Nike and NFL FLAG, $25,000 of the funds will be granted to Tacoma Public Schools to launch the state’s first girls club flag football league at the high school level starting this spring. Nike has also granted $10,000 to help launch the league and will be providing each school with equipment and custom team Nike uniforms from their new Girls Flag Football line of apparel.

For the 2021 spring season, girls flag club teams will be formed at 10 high schools in Pierce County, including all five comprehensive Tacoma Public Schools high schools – Foss, Lincoln, Mount Tahoma, Stadium and Wilson – along with neighboring Franklin Pierce, Washington High School and Spanaway Lake, Bethel and Graham-Kapowsin. The season is set to kickoff May 3 and run through June 13.


Students interested in participating should complete registration in FinalForms and need to have a current sports physical. There are two upcoming free sports physical and health fairs for TPS students April 8: one at Lincoln High School and one at Mount Tahoma High School

In-person Tacoma School Board business meetings resumed March 11

The Tacoma School Board of Directors resumed in-person business meetings beginning with its March 11 meeting, now that previous COVID-19 restrictions on the Open Public Meetings Act have been lifted by Gov. Jay Inslee. 

Board study sessions—typically the third Thursday of each month—will continue to meet remotely. 

Some COVID-19 restrictions remain in place for in-person business meetings, including: 

  • All attendees must wear a mask at all times. 
  • All attendees must remain at least six feet apart during the meeting. 
  • All attendees must complete a health survey attesting that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms, have not been exposed to COVID-19 nor are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test. 

To meet the six-foot social distancing requirement in the Auditorium at the Central Administration Building, attendance for members of the public and guests is limited and requires a reservation. 

Public comment for those who wish to address the School Board will only be taken in person during the meeting. 

For information about how to provide public comment, reserve a seat and to review the meeting agenda, visit the School Board website

We encourage all those who don’t want to make public comment to watch the livestream of the Board meeting on our website, Facebook page or cable TV channel 25 or 26 in Tacoma. 

Construction Updates


Update: During the first week in April, workers apply soil cement treatment at the football field, and field turf system installation begins on Monday. 

Street improvements, including extending sidewalk, curb and gutter along 8th Street, continue. The sidewalk and right-of-way improvements at Vassault Street are complete. The crosswalk at 10th and Whitman Streets and curb, gutter and sidewalk improvements are complete for road paving at South 10th Street that City of Tacoma crews will start in April. Meanwhile, workers are completing a wood observation deck and prepare to pave the south parking lot next week.

Stormwater connections and vault installation has started near the wells, where the baseball field will take shape soon.

The siding and painting are almost finish on the exterior of the building. Garage-style doors have been installed in six locations. Concrete slab is completed at covered play area. 

Inside, painting in the music room and clear coating in the gym is complete. The ceramic tiles and partitions are complete in the bathrooms. 

Still to come: Painting, plumbing fixtures and partitions in the locker rooms. Gas meter connection to the building, City of Tacoma and PSE inspection should be completed by end of week so that water heaters can be loaded, and rooftop units can be fired up next week.

Skyline Elementary School

Update: Temporary fencing can be seen at Skyline as Turner Construction begins to move equipment on site. Workers will work from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Skyline’s track and fields are closed for public use to accommodate the construction work.

Skyline students and staff broke ground on Friday, March 26, marking the beginning of the construction project of their new school.

A look ahead: Virtual neighborhood meeting on Tuesday, April 13, 6 – 7 p.m. To join the online meeting, go to Skyline’s construction website and click the JOIN THE NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING button.


Update: Fawcett staff start packing up their spaces in preparation for the move to the former McKinley Elementary in June. McKinley is at 3702 East McKinley Avenue.

Staff at Fawcett are organizing their Design Advisory Committee (DAC) with the Hensel Phelps and BLRB Architects design-build team. The first DAC meeting is scheduled for late April.

Plan for Fawcett: The existing school building is scheduled for demolition this fall; construction of the new school is scheduled from 2022 to 2023. Fawcett staff and students will use the former McKinley campus for the next two school years, as their new school is built. Transportation will be provided for students living in the current Fawcett boundary. 


Update: Korsmo Construction temporary fencing surrounds the site at Downing. Crews will work at the site from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. 

Changes to student drop off and pick up will start Monday, March 22, will improve the flow of traffic and reduce congestion on N. 26th Street. 

  • Parents should continue to enter from N. 26th Street and follow N. Orchard Street on the shoulder of the road toward the front of the school. 
  • Parents will drop off and pick up students at the front of the school in a “valet style,” where a staff member will greet students and usher them into the building. 
  • In the afternoon, teachers will walk students to the front of the school to wait for pick up.

A look ahead: 

  • Virtual neighborhood meeting on Monday, April 19, 6 – 7 p.m. To join the online meeting, go to Downing’s construction website and click the JOIN THE NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING button.

Other future projects funded by the 2020 capital construction bond passed by voters: 

Bryant Montessori (opening Fall 2024), Oakland High School (opening Fall 2025), Lowell Elementary (opening Fall 2026), Whittier Elementary (opening Fall 2027).

Neighborhood and Community Services

  1. How many houseless neighbors are thought to be in Tacoma currently?

The most current survey information that we have is from the 2020 Point-in-Time Count, which reflected that 544 people experiencing homelessness reported their last address within Tacoma. Of these 544 people, 158 were unsheltered at the time of the survey. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 safety protocols, the County was not able to facilitate a new count in 2021.

2. How much of an increase is this from the previous year?

From 2019 to 2020, Pierce County’s point in time count indicated an increase in homelessness from 1,486 people to 1,897 people. The number of people who indicated their last address in Tacoma increase by 108 individuals between these two years, as well.

3. How many shelter spaces do we currently have in Tacoma? Total including tiny homes? How many shelter spaces did we have before COVID?

Every year, shelter capacity fluctuates throughout the season, as expansions occur for inclement weather or as temporary shelters begin and end services. For the majority of 2020, there were 871 beds available in Tacoma including temporary sheltering, micro-shelters, and permanent shelters. As of the end of February 2021, there were 946 beds available, which included temporary sheltering. Even since February 2021, the exact number of beds has fluctuated slightly with the closing of warming centers, but new temporary sheltering has opened in their place.

If you are needing to find available shelter, we recommend contacting 211 or visiting to see current offerings and availability.  

4. How many “affordable” housing units do we have in Tacoma? How many “low income” housing units do we have in Tacoma?

The information that the City of Tacoma collects includes units that have been made available by the multi-family tax exemption. In this case, we would consider low-income and affordable to be the same. We have requested current data from the Community and Economic Development department and expect to be able to share an updated report with SENCO by April 13, 2021.


Weekly crime report from Council Study Session:

Preview attachment April 1 2021.pdf

April 1 2021.pdf738 KB

City Manager’s Office

Home In Tacoma Project public meeting:

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 starting at 5:30 PM on ZOOM


Dial: +1 253 215 8782 

Webinar ID: 821 9792 3401

Planning Commission Seeks Applicants for District 2, 3 and 5 positions – City of Tacoma

Tideflats Visioning (

Resiliency Grants: In our ongoing effort to support businesses through this pandemic, the City of Tacoma is launching a second round of $10,000 grants for micro businesses.

Rental Assistance | Pierce County, WA – Official Website

Prevent eviction for those impacted by COVID-19 who are behind on rent

at or below 80% Area Median Income (AMI)


For Students 13-19:

CTS_FLYER .jpg674 KB

My name is Kate, I am the program coordinator at Write253, and I want to let you know about our upcoming event, Crossing the Street, for all Tacoma/Pierce county teenagers age 13-19.

This year, in lieu of hosting an in-person festival, Crossing the Street will be a weekend-long virtual celebration of poetry on April 17th and 18th. If you can, please take a moment to share this flyer with your students and let them know about the event! 

Our schedule is comprised of multiple workshops for students to choose from, and opportunities on both days for participants to share their work – an Open Mic on Saturday, and a poetry slam on Sunday.

Saturday will be comprised of workshops oriented around various subjects, Poetry in Social Action. Participants will be able to register for the specific workshops they are interested in ahead of time, and spend the day creating poems they can share at the open mic Saturday evening. The open mic will only be open to those who are registered for workshops and participating in Crossing the Street.

Sunday’s slam will take the place of our annual Louder Than a Bomb-Tacoma teen festival. This year’s slam will be all-indy. This event will be live on Zoom and streamed to Youtube. Writers ages 13-19 are welcome to compete and attendance is free. More info about the slam can be found on the registration site, but if you have questions, you can email Michael Haeflinger at

If you have any questions about the weekend in general, you can email me at this address. To register, teens can go to

Author: senco253

South End Neighborhood Council in Tacoma, WA

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