May 12, 2021
Legislature Delivers on Recovery Funds, Local Projects

From: Rep. Dan Bronoske, Rep. Mari Leavitt, and Sen. T'wina Nobles
This year presented seemingly insurmountable challenges to local families and businesses. Frankly, a lot of folks in our community are hurting.  

Due to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19, many families struggled with getting unemployment checks, paying rent, or keeping the lights on. Local businesses kept us safe by closing their doors, costing themselves and their employees.  

We had to focus our efforts on key areas: businesses, schools, local projects, and communities here and across the state. We accomplished those goals through:
  • Using federal funds to pay back rent to landlords struggling during the moratorium, more small business grants and unemployment insurance tax rate cuts, increased food assistance and support for food banks, cash assistance to families, and funding to keep school districts whole; 
  • Addressing individual constituent roadblocks at the Employment Security Department to resolve outstanding issues;
  • Providing guidance to tenants and landlords to access resources; 
  • Helping small business owners with their Working Washington Small Business Grants;
  • Investing in suicide prevention in support of our veterans and military families; 
  • Connecting families facing food insecurity with their school districts; and 
  • Aiding seniors who found the Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine locator challenging.  

We are proud to support significant investments in our communities by partnering with the City of University Place to secure funding for two local projects in the Capital Budget. One will expand access to Pierce County’s sewer system and the second project is for our historic Curran House Museum, which receives hundreds of visitors annually while they also enjoy the apple orchard.  

Our first priority this year was to pass legislation to boost our local economy and help families and frontline workers. We passed House Bill 1368 to appropriate $2.2 billion in federal funding for public schools, public health, healthcare, assistance to individuals and families, housing assistance, and business support. We approved the Working Families Tax Exemption, which puts money directly in the hands of those who need it most. Furthermore, we passed Senate Bill 5061, which cut taxes for businesses that had an increase in premiums and boosted worker’s benefits to help make ends meet. 
Leach Creek Salmon Art Restored  ­­
Thanks to the initiative and creativity of City staff, the “Lifecycle of Salmon” public art that is mounted on the bridge over Leach Creek on Bridgeport Way has been carefully restored.

Donated by UP for Art in 2006, the installation’s Douglas Fir base had deteriorated over years of exposure to the elements. Attempts to find artists and restorationists interested in taking on the project were unsuccessful, with one estimate coming in at nearly $20,000.

That’s when Tony West, an operations lead in the City’s Parks & Public Works department, volunteered to take on the project. West was convinced that the best way to extend the art’s life was to use cedar wood, since it can typically last more than 25 years. When he was unable to find a cedar glulam beam, he took it upon himself to make his own.

Thanks to West’s ingenuity and creativity, the artwork was restored for approximately $2,500 and looks as good as when it was first donated. And thanks to the products used, it should last for at least another 25 years.

“Although they typically work behind the scenes, this project is a great way for the public to see the talents and knowledge our staff possesses,” said Gary Cooper, director of Public Works, Parks & Facilities for the City of University Place.
Chief's Corner
In 1962, President John Kennedy designated May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day, a time in which we remember those who have given their lives to protect and serve their communities. Today, we mark that day as part of National Police Week. 
During my 27 years of law enforcement service to Pierce County, we have lost 13 law enforcement officers/deputies in the line of duty. I hope you will join me in taking a moment to remember these men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities. 
Although too many law enforcement officers have been in the news lately for the wrong reasons, I want to remind you that the vast majority of our nation’s police officers are committed to doing the right thing for all citizens. They support our profession’s efforts to continually improve our training, tactics and procedures so that we can answer calls for help, seek justice for victims and serve as guardians of peace and order in our communities.  
In short, they are committed to fulfilling the oath we took: to serve and protect
I was talking with a few of our UPPD officers the other day and they commented on how they have recently received “Thank Yous” from different citizens in our community. Those words mean a lot to our officers. They reflect the fact that University Place is a community that supports and partners with public safety and its police department to maintain a safe and livable community. 
So let me say thank you to YOU.  
My hope is that all U.P. residents and business owners believe that we strive to serve responsibly and with respect, integrity, compassion, and courage for all.  
City Planners Pleased by Participation in Housing Action Plan FlashVote Survey
The April FlashVote survey by the City’s Planning and Development Services department designed to get input on housing issues in University Place garnered a 61 percent participation rate. Here is a look at the responses to the survey’s four questions:

Please rate how inexpensive or expensive you think housing is in University Place?
  • Very Expensive - 42.0%
  • Slightly Expensive -36.2%
  • Neutral - 8.0%
  • Very Inexpensive - 7.6%
  • Slightly Inexpensive - 2.5%
  • Not Sure - 3.6%

How should the City plan to accommodate the forecasted population growth? (Choose up to three)
  • New single-family homes in existing neighborhoods - 47.2
  • New accessory dwelling units (cottages, in-law units) in existing neighborhoods - 44.1%
  • Larger multi-family developments along major streets - 34.3%
  • The City should not plan to accommodate more people - 34.3%
  • Small multi-family developments in existing single-family neighborhoods - 32.7%
  • Other - 12.2%

The population in University Place is becoming older. What do you think are the best options for housing as you age? (Choose up to four)
  • Stay in your existing single-family home - 64.7%   
  • Move to a smaller single-family home - 54.1%                   
  • Move into an age restricted single-family or multi-family development - 40.8%
  • Move into a condo or apartment building - 40.8%   
  • Move out of University Place - 29.0%
  • Build (if necessary) and move into an accessory dwelling unit or cottage house on your property - 6.5%
  • Move into an accessory dwelling unit or cottage house on someone else’s property - 16.5%
  • Other - 10.2%   

One solution to housing shortages and affordability is to allow "missing middle" housing, which is a range of multi-family or clustered housing types that are designed and scaled to be compatible with single-family neighborhoods. Examples include townhouses, cottage courtyards, and small multiplexes with between 4 and 8 units. Which of the following types of "missing middle" housing would you find acceptable in your neighborhood, if any? (Choose all that apply)
  • Duplex (2 units attached together in one building) - 55.1%
  • Cottage Courtyard (up to 8 cottages arranged around a common courtyard) - 5.3%
  • Townhouses with up to 8 units attached - 31.5% 
  • None of these - 30.7%
  • Triplex (3 units attached) - 22.0%  
  • Fourplex (4 units attached) - 19.7%  
  • Multiplex apartments with up to 8 units - 9.4%  

David Swindale, the City’s director of Planning and Development Services, said that prior to the survey, 20,000 postcards were sent to residents in two zip codes requesting comments on the Housing Action Plan. Residents were also invited to request hard copies of the HAP if they did not have internet access.

“We received 15 requests for hard copies of the HAP and I have also received several emails with comments in addition to the survey comments,” Swindale said. “We’ve also seen numerous hits on the City’s Housing Action Plan web page. This level of citizen engagement is encouraging and will be considered as we move forward.” 
Chambers Bay Hosts USGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship
Residents should anticipate increased traffic in University Place from May 22-26 when the United States Golf Association holds its 6th U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Chambers Bay.

The tournament will bring an estimated 350 people to the course each day, including 128 players, plus caddies, USGA officials and course marshals, as well as players’ guests. The tournament, which some may recognize as best-ball play, features 36 holes of stroke play to reduce the field from 128 teams (sides) to the lowest 32 for match play. Like other USGA championships, the match play draw will be seeded according to stroke-play scores. Match play will then be contested over the final three days of the competition to determine the national champion pair.

Although the event is closed to public spectators, it provides another important opportunity to showcase U.P.’s crown jewel and for the community to roll out the welcome mat to those who are in town for the event. “Every time Chambers Bay hosts a major USGA event, it is an opportunity to showcase our best hospitality and let everyone in attendance know how proud we are to have this award-winning course right here in our little city of University Place,” said U.P. Mayor Caroline Belleci.

For more details, including course restrictions during the weekend, visit the Chambers Bay website.
What's UP With Biz
Another new business is calling University Place home. The public is invited to welcome The Joint Chiropractic to U.P. May 20 from 5-6 p.m. during its ribbon cutting at its new location at 3836 Bridgeport Way W. in the Green Firs Towne Center.

The Joint Chiropractic employs licensed chiropractors who can serve the entire family to provide both pain relief and preventative care. To provide maximum accessibility and convenience, The Joint Chiropractic will see patients on evenings and weekends, including walk-ins with no appointments required.

For more information on their services, including ways to help address lower back pain, sciatica and migraines, visit their website.
The Essential Contributions of U.P.’s Public Works Team 
When we think of essential workers, our minds immediately focus on doctors, nurses, firefighters and police—and rightly so. 

But as the COVID pandemic has shown us, Public Works professionals are essential, too.
Over the last year, many businesses, schools and daycares have reduced hours or closed all together, directing staff to work from home. 

Many of our Public Works staff, like millions of other Americans, faced the challenge of taking care of their children when schools and daycares closed. Some, with limited options, needed to stay home to provide childcare. The result was that, on any given day, our available staffing was down by 30 percent.

Yet the City of U.P.’s Public Works team kept the streets open, the streetlights on, the traffic signals functioning, storm drains clear, potholes repaired, snow plowed, etc. In short, your Public Works professionals stepped up to ensure the City’s critical public infrastructure needs were met and basic services were provided to support regular daily activities.

For more than 50 years, the American Public Works Association has sponsored National Public Works week as an opportunity to educate the general public about the value and necessities of public works to improving our everyday quality of life.

This year’s Public Works Week is from May 16-22. During this time, if you see a Public Works team at work in your neighborhood or around the city, take a moment to thank them for their service during the pandemic and for all they do to keep University Place humming along. 
U.P. Historical Society Hosts Garden Tours This Weekend
Be sure to make plans to enjoy one of U.P.’s most popular events, the annual Garden Tours sponsored by the U.P. Historical Society. Tours will be held this Saturday and Sunday, May 15 and 16, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All current state COVID protocols will be observed.

Ticket holders can view five beautiful gardens (including a few with spectacular water views) as well as the Curran Apple Orchard and Curran House. Several of the gardens on this year’s tour were featured in last year’s virtual tour, but this year’s event will enable garden enthusiasts (and aspiring gardeners) to see a beautiful variety of garden themes, flora, statuaries and water features up close and in person.

To get a preview of these gardens, including aerial views, take a few minutes to view videos from last year’s virtual tours.

Tickets are $25, with proceeds benefitting the U.P. Historical Society. Download the ticket order form here or purchase them at Willow Tree Gardens and Interiors at 7216 27th St. W. Tickets are also available at Chirp & Co. in Proctor and at Michael Morrison Sotheby’s International Realty in Proctor and Gig Harbor.

Major sponsors of the 11th Annual U.P. Historical Society Garden Tours are Gray Lumber, Columbia Bank, Seattle Seahawks, Sotheby’s International Realty, UP Refuse and Recycling, and Deric Mazzuca and April Rogalski. Additional sponsors are Suburban Opticians, Beach Tavern Inc, Hand & Stone Massage and Spa, Mr. Teller’s Mail Room, Portland Avenue Nursery, Sound Community Bank, U.P. Family Medicine, Atkins Chiropractic, Honest Estate Sales and JY Dental Group.
Visit the Job Opportunities page on the City Website for job description and details!
COVID-19 Vaccine Availability
Beginning April 15, everyone 16 and older is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

To find upcoming vaccine events, visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department vaccine page.
Have you signed up for FlashVote? It’s not too late!

Surveys take less than a minute and give participants an opportunity to weigh in on issues within our local community.

Get the Facts: COVID Resources
As the nation and our region continues to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, be sure to stay informed with accurate information from these official sources: 

  • The U.S. Centers for Disease Control offers the latest facts and information about COVID-19, including information on travel and return to school or work.
  • The Governor’s Office provides details about on-going response efforts throughout the State of Washington, including the state’s Risk Assessment Dashboard. 
  • The Washington State Department of Health provides updated statistics on the occurrence of COVID-19 across the state, as well as testing data.
  • The Tacoma-Pierce County Department of Health and Pierce County Government provide important local information on testing sites, phased re-opening status and CARES Act funding to support recovery efforts. 
  • The City of University Place’s dedicated COVID-19 info page includes valuable information on resources for businesses and residents, such as local school meal sites and public utilities’ contact information for payment plans or assistance.    
University Place City Council