South Sound Proud: #LiveLikeTheMountainIsOut every day

I recently got invited to be a guest on Marguerite Giguere’s Move to Tacoma podcast. I went on with the goal of talking about 6 new things that add to the Tacoma/Piece County region’s coolness factor.

  1. Sound Sound Proud: the campaign to “Live Like the Mountain Is Out.” I’ve had the privilege of working on this project for over a year with a great group of communicators. That slogan speaks to our attitude – our state of mind – about living here.
  2. The Downtown to Defiance trolley, which starts June 2nd.
  3. The new Pacific Seas Aquarium that’s under construction at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Coming in mid 2018: hammerhead sharks, sea turtles, giant Japanese spider crabs, and more!
  4. A new 11-acre park at Point Defiance Park also opens in 2018. It will feature an event lawn, a paved trail linking Ruston Way with Point Defiance, a pedestrian bridge offering incredible views, a series of slides down a steep hill, and more boat trailer parking. Think Gasworks Park, only better.
  5. One of my favorite projects to be a part of is the development of the Eastside Community Center in a part of Tacoma that badly needs it. Features will include an amazing pool, a gym, social hall, teaching kitchen, recording studio, multipurpose rooms, cafe and more.
  6. Swan Creek Park: did you know that Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance members tallied thousands of volunteer hours as they built over 5 miles of trails in this huge park in East Tacoma? People are coming from far away to ride these trails.

Before we got to all of that, Marguerite and I talked about civic engagement, my experiences on the Fircrest City Council, and of course, what caused me to move here.

You can find a link to our conversation here.

And check out her website’s section on Fircrest here.

OK, let’s try this again (plus a career change announcement)

I spent 19 years as a reporter and editor with The Associated Press and The News Tribune, which means my daily mission was to inform the public about things going on that might affect or interest them. It’s a role I cherished, and I drew heavily on those skills during my 6 ½ years as Communications Director for Pierce County.

I loved that county gig. I served on the 2015 U.S. Open Operating Committee, helped plan three Aerospace Summits and two Farm Forums, conceived and led the design of the Puget Sound Fresh mobile app that directly connects consumers with local farmers, and worked with police and fire agencies to consolidate 911 dispatch services and emergency radio systems into a new voter-approved agency called South Sound 911.


However, an opportunity came along that I couldn’t pass up. Starting July 27, I’m overseeing public affairs (communications and government relations) for Metro Parks Tacoma. I got to help the county with its government relations in a number of areas, and I’ve been interested in shifting a little more in that direction. Metro Parks is preparing some major projects – a new aquarium at the zoo, a new educational building in partnership with Tacoma’s Science and Math Institute, among many others – so it’s an exciting time to join this terrific organization and see how I can help it communicate with its partners and the public.

As I start this new position, I also intend to follow up on my resolution to maintain this blog as a source of information about Fircrest. I’ve seen a number of elected officials host informative blogs about local issues, including former Lakewood Councilmember Walter Neary and former Gig Harbor Councilmember Derek Young. But you know how good intentions go…

Anyway, many of you probably follow the popular Friends of Fircrest page on Facebook, which is managed by three citizens – Kathy, Katie and Phaedra – who love this city dearly. They have a pretty specific goal for what that page should be, and they don’t want it to get political. I respect that (and I’m grateful to them for fostering a good-neighbor attitude on the page).

That said, there are a number of important projects and police matters that affect residents of our great little city.

So let’s try this again.

I’ll share as much information as I can, and of course I’d love your feedback. Some of my posts will simply relay news about the city. Of course, some posts will also focus on my accomplishments and goals, since I’m running for re-election.

Speaking of which – the race between Heather Heiderich and I will only appear on the November general election ballot. But please – please! – cast your vote in the Aug. 4 primary. There are very competitive races for the Pierce County Charter Review Commission, and you should help elect the three people who will represent District 4 (spanning from downtown Tacoma to UP) on next year’s once-a-decade commission. There are a number of smart, civic-minded folks running for the Commission, but two in particular live in Fircrest – Jamie Nixon and Alice McDaniel. I know both of them well and highly recommend them.


In Fircrest, girls rule

I’ve been wondering about the demographics of Fircrest because of different experiences I have:

  • At least a couple of times a week, I’ll mention to someone that I live in Fircrest, and their reply is “hey, I grew up there, and my parents still live there.” That gave me the impression that Fircrest’s population is generally older.
  • My circle of friends has revolved around five years at Whittier Elementary, four years with the Fircrest Soccer Club, and lots of time at the Tot Lot and the Rec Center facilities.
  • A key reason we bought our house in the Commons at Fircrest is because it’s packed with families and kids. My daughter is one of two dozen kids who get on the bus to Narrows View Intermediate in the mornings.

So, who are we? Here is some data from the 2010 Census.

At the time of the Census in April 2010, there were 6,497 residents in Fircrest. Of those, 3,501 were female and 2,996 were male. (This is where my daughter would shout “Girls rule, boys drool!”)

Here’s a breakdown of the population by age group:

Under 18 years


18 to 64 years


18 to 24 years


25 to 44 years


25 to 34 years


35 to 44 years


45 to 64 years


45 to 54 years


55 to 64 years


65 years and over


I’m not surprised by the data. It shows we have a lot of families with kids, lots of people of working age, and lots of retirees. I think that shows a nice diversity of age, experience and perspective.