The Nose

The Nose: The farther Weyerhaeuser moves away, the less we have to try to spell it

Though neither city likes to admit it, Tacoma and Federal Way have a lot in common.

Both enjoy spectacular marine views from the Browns Point area. Both are blessed with Vietnam War-era shopping malls and brand-new Hobby Lobby stores. Both have received vague promises that someday, perhaps before the next ice age, Sound Transit will extend light rail to them.

Both are run by strong mayors. (Oh, wait, Marilyn Strickland just thinks she is.)

And now both cities have been betrayed by Big Timber.

Weyerhaeuser, founded in Tacoma in 1900, announced this week that it would build a new headquarters in Seattle’s urban core and abandon the ‘burbs by the end of 2016. Apparently the charm of a city that shares initials with company founder Frederick Weyerhaeuser has run out.

Tacoma and FedWay can file it under the heading “Misery loves company.”

Also “Forgive and forget.” A long 43 years have elapsed since the Fedsters lured Big W to a sprawling campus up the freeway, and we couldn’t possibly hold a grudge that long. (Unless it’s Russell Investments and Seattle. That grudge could last centuries.)

Oh, sure, the Federalistas have made a habit of stealing stuff from downtown T-Town, some of it recently – 350 employees from our DaVita headquarters in 2013, the entire MorphoTrak company in 2011, to name a few.

A small-minded, headstrong body part would be tempted to say: “Neener, Neener. What comes around goes around, suckers!”

The Nose would never stoop to that level.

But we can stop to marvel how times have changed in terms of the courtesy shown by companies toward cities they decide to flee.

In 1966, when Weyerhaeuser chairman Norton Clapp announced his company would vacate Tacoma in a few years, he felt obliged to write a personal letter to the public. It ran on a full page of the TNT.

This week, company president and CEO Doyle R. Simons scribbled his name on a 115-word statement that could be roughly translated as “adios, muchachos.”

It mentioned Federal Way’s campus is too big — and suggested its brains were too small. Moving to Seattle, he said, will furnish the company with “a larger talent pool.”

But take heart, FWay friends. You still have something just as good and almost as deep — the wave pool and kiddie pools at Wild Waves Theme Park.

Let’s see them try to move that to Pioneer Square.

Make it a hard lemonade, please: Government muckety-mucks quickly dispatched their own press releases in response to the corporate doomsday announcement.

Like, Metropolitan King County Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer, whose name always tricks our spell checker nearly as much as Weyerhaeuser does.

PVR, who represents South King, said he’s been in contact with other officials to figure out “how to make lemonade out of lemons.”

Hey, it’s not quite the same as making wood products out of wood, but we’ll take it!

Breaking news: Councilman von Reichbauer announces Minute Maid to build lemonade factory on abandoned Weyerhaeuser site.

Film at 11.

Run for the border: Seems like the Big W has fallen into a pattern of moving north along the I-5 corridor.

At this rate, they’ll eventually export their headquarters to Canada.

Like Burger King.

Too close for comfort: Lakewood won’t soon be confused for University Place, but the Chamber of Commerce types are doing their best.

A new set of 15-second cable TV promotional videos aims to give Lakewood a seat on the U.S. Open gravy train.

In one, a golf ball splashes in a man’s bowl of soup. In the other two, a man and woman are shown ducking a storm of golf balls in a hotel lobby and an art shop.

In all three, a voice-over pitchman says: “Lakewood, Washington — We’re that close!”

Golly, we knew the city had a dangerous reputation, but this cinches it.

No wonder it was recently named Washington’s third most-stressed city.

More stress: Tacoma is nipping at Lakewood’s heels. It’s No. 4 on the most-stressed list, according to an analysis by a credit card comparison company called Credit Donkey.

Federal Way comes in at No. 9. Gotta think it might soon make a push for the top.

Favorite crime of the week: The Seattle Times reported that a drunk man in a tuxedo fired a gunshot at a couple after they interrupted his early-morning sexcapade in a Pioneer Square alley.

See what you have to look forward to, Weyerhaeuser employees?

  Comments