Friends of Pierce County


November 5, 2020

         Volunteers Needed for the Pierce County Conservation Futures Citizens’ Advisory Board

Now accepting applications from District 2, District 7, and University Place

Are you excited about protecting open spaces, wetlands, forests, and farms? Do you want to help preserve these lands for the benefit of Pierce County residents now and in the future? A volunteer position on the Conservation Futures Citizens’ Advisory Board (CAB) might be right for you! Conservation Futures is a land acquisition program funded through property tax revenue that provides grants for the preservation of important open spaces, such as wildlife habitat areas, parks, agricultural lands, and timber lands. The CAB is comprised of 17 members from across Pierce County that serve in an advisory role to the County Council regarding Conservation Futures purchases. Members work together biennially to evaluate and rank properties that are eligible for acquisition with Conservation Futures funds, using a combination of site visits and presentations from project sponsors. The ranked project list is provided to County Council for final consideration. Board members serve a four-year term and board meetings are held on Thursday evenings at least twice per year.

Representatives are currently needed from University Place and Council Districts 2 and 7 (see map at For more information about the Conservation Futures program or to apply online, go to Applications can also be returned by mail to Pierce County Parks, 9850 64th Street W, University Place WA 98467. For questions or to request a hard copy application, call 253/798-4252.


October 20, 2020

County Records show that the Pierce County Executive promoted massive Park Junction Project by interfering with staff and violating County regulations

Why would the Pierce County Executive be asking Planning staff to extend a 25-year permit for a project that has yet to break ground?

On July 31, 2019, Pierce County Planning staff reported in a public hearing that upper management asked staff NOT to make a recommendation on Park Junction.  

The Pierce County Hearing Examiner Code, § 1.22.100.A requires a recommendation:  “The Planning Department shall . . . make a specific recommendation to approve, deny, modify, or conditionally approve the subject application. . .” 

The Pierce County Executive interfered with Planning staff doing their job, directing them to violate PCC § 1.22.100.A, and gave special treatment to the proposed Park Junction Resort near Mount Rainer.  

The County’s records show that the Pierce County Executive usurped the role of Planning staff and changed the agenda for the public hearing, so the action taken was to grant the project yet another extension, instead of revoking the permit.  

It is our opinion that planning staff should be allowed to do their jobs, without political pressure and interference by the Pierce County Executive.



Water Wise Natural Yard Care Webinar
Presented by the City of Tacoma EnviroHouse

Thursday, June 25, 2020 ~ 4:00-5:00 PM

Register Here: 
or at:

Registrants will receive an email when confirmed with a link to join the webinar on June 25 at 4 PM.

  • Create attractive, pesticide free lawn and garden spaces:
  • Build healthy soil with compost and mulch
  • Establish plant zones and micro-climates to water wisely
  • Identify what makes an efficient irrigation system 
  • Learn practical maintenance tips to save time and 

Real time participants are emailed a workshop summary and handouts after the session. Webinar will be recorded for later viewing. 

The EnviroHouse is closed until further notice. 

Email inquires to:  Janda Volkmer, Coordinator, City of Tacoma EnviroHouse or


June 6, 2020

Pierce County approved to enter Phase 2 of Washington’s Safe Start Recovery Plan.

Modified restrictions set to take effect June 5.

TACOMA, WASH.—Pierce County residents will soon have relaxed restrictions on businesses and other areas of public life. On Friday, June 5, the state secretary of health approved the county to move to Phase 2 of the state’s Safe Start Recovery Plan.

The application process began with a recommendation from Tacoma-Pierce County Director of Health Anthony L-T Chen, MD, MPH. He recommended to the Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health at a special meeting May 31 that the county could safely move to Phase 2 based on the state’s target metrics. The Board unanimously approved the recommendation for the application, which it forwarded to the Pierce County Council. The council approved the recommendation unanimously on June 1. County Executive Bruce Dammeier submitted the application June 2.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting how we work, learn, worship, and play. Every single person in Pierce County is living through one of the most challenging times of our lives,” Chen said. “We are all eager to resume our normal lives. But we must help our society and economy recover while protecting community health, especially our ethnic communities who suffer disproportionately.”

The Equity Action Network has strategies ready for immediate action for four ethnic groups with disproportionate rates of COVID cases: Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, Black, Latinx, and American Indian/Alaska Native. Our Communities of Focus teams will work closely with community members, including in rural areas like Key Peninsula and the White River communities, to make sure CARES funding serves populations countywide.

“Pierce County is safer and ready to take this step,” said Tacoma-Pierce County Board of Health Chair Catherine Ushka. “We have seen COVID-19 have greater effects on our communities of color that already face health disparities. We’re committed to providing the necessary resources to them so they can reach their full health potential,” she said.

In Phase 2, businesses like restaurants, barber shops and hair and nail salons, and retail will have relaxed restrictions. See the list of more businesses and details about how they can operate. 

Even with the relaxed restrictions, it’s more important than ever to do your part to prevent the spread of disease. Our position remains precarious and an outbreak could happen at any time. We do not want to act in ways that could risk our hard fought progress. Until a vaccine becomes available, continue to:

  • Wear face coverings when you are in public and especially when you cannot easily keep physical distance from others.
  • Maintain physical distance of six feet from others .
  • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands frequently.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Continue to spend time with family and those you live with.
  • Choose five friends or non-household members you would also like to see regularly. When you play, eat out, visit, or otherwise socialize, try to limit your close contacts to this group. You can reduce the risk of infection while enjoying more Phase 2 freedom.
  • Check in with family, friends, and coworkers by phone, social media, or video calls to make sure they are OK and to offer encouragement.
  • Worship with your community of faith in the modified, allowable ways.
  • Exercise, eat healthily, and take care of your health issues. Remember that you still need to take medicines, get your children vaccinated, and otherwise keep up with health care.
  • Continue to stay home as much as possible and limit non-essential travel.
  • Continue all those healthy hygiene behaviors you have been doing—wash your hands, cover your cough, stay home if you are sick, clean high touch surfaces regularly.
  • If you are over 65 years old, with medical conditions, or are immune compromised, you may need to continue to stay home. Everyone’s health is different: check with your health care provider.

We expect more protests in our community in the days ahead. We support the need for community members to come together to mourn, process, and heal. We hope protesters stay safe, wear cloth face coverings, and maintain safe physical distance whenever possible.

“We do not want to act in ways that could increase outbreaks, causing us to lose the progress for which we all worked so hard,” said Chen. “We are stronger together and must stick together to move through these phases of re-opening. The right choice for our health is also the right choice for our society and economy. Choose to do what is right and which will keep ourselves, our families and friends, and our community healthy,” he said.

Learn more at

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Healthy People in Healthy Communities

April 28, 2020

Contact: Justin Bush
Washington Recreation and Conservation Office
Cell:  360-704-0973

Scotch Broom Census Set for May

OLYMPIA–The Washington Invasive Species Council, state agencies and researchers are calling for a census in May to help determine the location of Scotch broom throughout the state.

“We need everyone’s help to size up the problem,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “Without baseline information about the location and population size, we don’t have enough details to determine solutions. The information from the census will help us set short- and long-term action plans.”

Yellow flowered, Scotch broom is hard to miss when blooming. It can be found in 30 of Washington’s 39 counties. While known to be spread across the state, specific locations and patch sizes are not well documented, leading to the council’s call for a month-long census.

How to Participate in the Scotch Broom Census

“We’re asking people to send us information from their neighborhoods,” Bush said. “The information can be transmitted easily to the council by using the Washington Invasives mobile app or by visiting Sightings should include a photograph of the plant that shows enough detail that the plant can be verified by an expert. A description of the size of the patch is also helpful, such as whether the patch is the size of a motorcycle, a car, a school bus or multiple school buses. Photographs also can be shared with the council on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by using the hashtags #TheGreatScotchBroomCensus and #ScotchBroom2020Census.”

Scotch broom is a problem because it crowds out beneficial native species and clogs healthy habitats. It can form dense, impenetrable stands that are a problem for grazing, farming and recreating and it creates fire hazards. Dense stands may prevent or slow forest regeneration and harm sensitive areas near streams and wetlands. Scotch broom also produces toxic compounds, which in large amounts may poison grazing animals.

While widespread and not likely to be fully eliminated from the entire state, action is being taken to remove Scotch broom from parks, roadsides, forests, riverbanks and other at-risk landscapes. The information from the Scotch broom census will help invasive species managers better understand the needs of landowners and managers.

“We don’t have the resources at a state or local level to remove every Scotch broom,” said Greg Haubrich, pest program manager with the Washington State Department of Agriculture. “But organizations like your local noxious weed control board can provide education and technical assistance so that you can efficiently and effectively manage Scotch broom on your property. In some instances, there also could be cost-share funding available from your local conservation district to remove your Scotch broom.”

What You Can Do to Prevent the Spread

When around Scotch broom and any other invasive species, care should be taken not to inadvertently spread it to new locations. Each mature plant can produce thousands of seeds, which are viable up to 80 years. Taking precautions not to move seeds on boots, tires, pets or vehicles is very important.

“Scotch broom is widespread, but it is not everywhere,” Bush said. “By taking simple precautions, you can prevent the spread of this invasive species. Clean your boots, bikes, pets, vehicles and other gear before you venture outdoors to stop invasive species from hitching a ride to a new location. Conversely, follow the same practices before you head home to protect your own property.”

People that have Scotch broom or would like to get involved in stopping it can find additional help with an online seminar series June 2-4 being organized by the council and its partners, who are working together to share the newest information from throughout the Pacific Northwest so everyone can better address this shared problem.

Julia McNamara
Administrative Assistant
1111 Washington ST SE
Olympia WA 98501

Mailing Address
PO Box 40917
Olympia WA 98504-0917

(360) 902-2956


A Win for Clean Water: $734,000 Settlement Reached in LRI Landfill Case

GRAHAM, WA—On December 10th, Puget Soundkeeper reached a legal settlement to resolve a federal Clean Water Act case filed in September 2017 against LRI Landfill, a 168 acre, privately owned non-hazardous landfill within the Nisqually River watershed.  The settlement requires LRI to pay $734,000 to fund third party environmental grants in the vicinity of the Nisqually River watershed and areas impacted by illegal discharges of landfill fluid, oils, and other contaminants caused by LRI’s failure to meet both Industrial and Construction Stormwater Permit standards.

Since the start of its construction in 1996, LRI has discharged stormwater to wetlands that lead to Muck Creek ( aka South Creek) – Nisqually River tributaries providing critical habitat for chum salmon, steelhead trout, and sea-run cutthroat trout.

Documented by the Washington Department of Ecology and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, LRI’s list of violations also include failure to follow stormwater sampling guidelines; high levels of toxic chemicals such as copper, zinc, lead, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in their discharged stormwater; and failure to install technological improvements to effectively control their water pollution.

The settlement reached with Puget Soundkeeper also requires LRI to comply fully with all clean water permits going forward; to install site improvements to prevent future leachate leaks; to install an advanced stormwater treatment system for both their industrial and construction stormwater discharge, and upgrade it if sampling data shows it’s needed; improved handling of auto shredder residue to prevent it from becoming a pollution source; and share permit compliance reports with Puget Soundkeeper to track changes outlined in the settlement.  For a full list of settlement outcomes, view the Consent Decree.

“LRI Landfill has a long and complicated history of disappointing community members with its poor pollution track record – and we hope that today marks a turning point for this facility,” said Katelyn Kinn, Puget Soundkeeper Staff Attorney. “Moving forward, LRI has the opportunity to work to become a better neighbor. We look forward to tracking their progress, and holding them accountable.”

Puget Soundkeeper is an environmental non-profit whose mission is to protect and preserve the waters of Puget Sound. Since 1984, Soundkeeper has filed over 200 legal actions and all funds from successful settlements go to restoring polluted waterways in the region through the Puget Sound Stewardship & Mitigation Fund.

Puget Soundkeeper was represented in this matter by Claire Tonry, Richard Smith, Knoll Lowney, Katherine Brennan at Smith & Lowney PLLC and Soundkeeper’s Staff Attorney Katelyn Kinn.

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News Release





December 18, 2019


Planning Commission adds meetings on community plan updates


The Pierce County Planning Commission has scheduled eight additional meetings on the Frederickson, Mid-County, Parkland-Spanaway-Midland and South Hill community plan updates in early 2020. The commission is scheduled to makes its final recommendations on the updates in March.


Community plans provide direction on how growth and development will occur. The plans address topics such as zoning, transportation, the look and feel of the community, and access to services and amenities. An overview of the proposed changes is available at


Upcoming meetings

The meetings will be held at the Pierce County Annex, 2401 S. 35th St. in Tacoma.


Several meetings will focus on the Centers and Corridors proposal, which would focus growth along Pacific Avenue/State Route 7, Meridian/State Route 161, 176th Street East, 112th Street East and Canyon Road East.


Two January study sessions are open to the public, but there will be no public testimony.

  • Jan. 7, 1-3 p.m.: Information about a concept that would allow the proposed Centers and Corridors rezones to be phased in over time.
  • Jan. 9, 1-3 p.m.: Information about a new approach to regulate design in the proposed Centers and Corridors zones.

Four public hearings will be held in February and March. Each meeting will feature a staff presentation, discussion by the commission, and public testimony about proposed changes presented at that meeting.

  • Feb. 4, 6:30 p.m.: Review additional draft proposed changes to the Centers and Corridors proposal.
  • Feb. 25, 9:30 a.m.: Results of the housing market study that provides a realistic estimate of additional housing growth related to the Centers and Corridors proposal for the Environmental Impact Statement. Environmental Impact Statements evaluate the environmental impacts of changes to plans and zoning and provide ways to reduce any identified impacts.
  • March 3, 6:30 p.m.: Review additional draft proposed changes to the Centers and Corridors proposal.
  • March 4, 6:30 p.m.: Review additional draft changes and potential amendments for the community plan updates.


The commission will make a final recommendation on each plan, associated development regulations, and amendments to the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan in March. There will be no public testimony.

  • March 10, 6:30 p.m.: Final amendments and recommendations.
  • March 12, 6:30 p.m.: Final amendments and recommendations.


The commission’s final recommendations will be submitted to the Pierce County Council. The council will then consider the proposed changes for each plan and determine whether to adopt them.


Visit to view a meeting calendar and sign up for meeting updates.


Written comment accepted
Written public comment will be accepted until March 4 for consideration at the final recommendation meetings. It can be submitted via email to or by mail or in person at Pierce County Planning and Public Works, Attn: Long Range Planning, 2401 S. 35th St., Suite 2, Tacoma, WA 98409.


Using community feedback gathered over the last few years, Pierce County and the Land Use Advisory Commissions for the four areas drafted updates to the plans and development regulations. The Planning Commission has held public meetings and study sessions this summer and fall to review the draft updates.

To learn more about the proposed updates, community members can call the Community Plans Hotline at 253-798-2799, email, or send a letter to Pierce County Planning and Public Works, Attn: Long Range Planning, 2401 S. 35th St., Suite 2, Tacoma, WA 98409.




Sheryl Rhinehart, Planning and Public Works public information specialist

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Friends of Pierce County 2019 Annual Meeting Summary

Friends of Pierce County welcomed Erin Dilworth from Citizens for Healthy Bay.  Erin briefed attendees on the latest issues with the Tacoma Tide Flats.  The City of Tacoma is working on a Tideflats Subarea Plan. The City is putting together a stakeholder team to address a vision, environment, land use, economy, public services and transportation in the plan.

The most contaminated site in Commencement Bay (from Hylebos to Marine View Drive – and deeper than the height of the Tacoma Dome) is slated for cleanup.  A plan is currently being developed for what portions of this area will be cleaned up.  For more on Occidental Chemical Cleanup:

Erin Dilworth, Citizens for Healthy Bay, at Friends of Pierce County Annual meeting. March 19, 2019.

Friends of Pierce County is a 501(c) non-profit organization. 

8205 90th Street Ct. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332

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