After more than 100 years as a town wedged on Tacoma's northern fringes, Ruston is expected to become a city with a vote of the Town Council tonight.
In legal terms, Ruston will change from a fourth-class town to a second-class noncharter code city. In many ways, it's a paper move intended to give it more autonomy, flexibility and, perhaps, more protection against lawsuits.
But the shift to cityhood caught the attention of history buffs and longtime Ruston residents, including Karen Pickett. She runs the online blog Ruston Home, which celebrates "Small Town America surrounded by Urban Tacoma."
"It's been a town for a long time, and we've had the scrappy reputation of being an underdog," Pickett told The News Tribune today. "A big part of our identity is our name."
Mostly, however, she said she wishes the Town Council had referred the decision to voters so that the community of about 800 residents could gain a more thorough understanding of what it means to be a code city.
"We did have the option as citizens to file a referendum. I feel like the council at least should have put it out for a public vote," Pickett said, "but they chose not to, and I didn't have the time or energy to lead a (referendum) campaign to force it."
With Ruston's move, the ranks of small-town Pierce County will shrink to five: Carbonado, Eatonville, South Prairie, Steilacoom and Wilkeson.
Tonight's Ruston council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Joyce Community Center, 5219 N. Shirley St.