Forty-nine years ago, I was drawn to come and work in Tacoma Public Schools’ fine elementary counseling program. I was aghast when I first visited the community. Back then, the city was dismal, the politics were corrupt and the port smelled. To be honest, I was depressed thinking, “What have I done?” Slowly over time, with new leadership and public commitment, Tacoma has been on a trajectory of renewal. We have invested millions of taxpayer dollars in cleaning up our city and port. The city’s transformation is stunning.
Today, please note that this shift has taken permanent root. Gone are the days that any level of toxic pollution is acceptable, that it is OK to take so much water out of the Green River that it has been declared an endangered river or that our natural resources be squandered for the greenback. Our community wants clean industries, a healthy place for families and sufficient water for decades to come. The city, port, and citizens came together years ago to set this vision. It is now time for a renewed community effort that will both draw non-polluting industry to our doors and keep our city beautiful and healthy.