Friday, August 26, 2011

Progress At Point Ruston

Point Ruston released these photos this week, showing how things are proceeding on the project. From the first shovel of dirt going into the tunnel to workers finally busy atop the stalled Copperline building, all are good signs for both the project and our area.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I realize there is nothing unusual with a deer roaming the streets of Ruston, but it was pretty a pretty late romp this morning for this mama and her fawn (and I happened to have my camera handy)...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Mural At Antique Sandwich Company

The new mural for the Antique Sandwich Company sits upstairs at the shop, ready to be hung over Labor Day weekend. This masterpiece is the work of Mary Mann and some of her students at the neighboring SAMI school at Point Defiance Park. The News Tribune has an article with more details on the new mural here...

And the mural on Don's Ruston Market is now complete, adding vibrant color to the neighborhood. Pictures coming soon!

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Changes for The Commencement Building

Depending on your perspective, the announcement below of proposed changes to plans for The Commencement building can be seen as either good or bad. New owners, Onward Investors LLC is proposing changes to the development plan; removing the requirement for OCF parking and giving the town cash to make whatever improvements it chooses in leiu of that parking and adding two units within the existing building envelope. A copy of the full plan is available here.

A public hearing will be held on the issue on Tuesday, August 30th at 7 pm at the Joyce Community Center (Ruston School building: 5219 N. Shirley Street). Perhaps the almost vacant shell of a building will finally see life after all...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Good Bye Tunnel, Hello Future: Opinion

It was finally time to say the formal goodbye today to Ruston's last visible piece of the Asarco smelter that built this little town. It was a different crowd than our usual gatherings these days, drawing the few left in town who had ties to the old days rather than the new families (although there were a few in attendance). The News Tribune has a nice article about the event here...

It was a beautiful sunny day filled with memories and stories of days-gone-by; when the smelter whistle would echo through the streets calling kids home, employees to work and the fire department to action. No watch was needed in those days, everyone knew the time by the length and pattern of the whistle. The whole family went to the smelter doctor if needed, for free. Most walked to work from the adjacent neighborhoods. Community connected with industry just fine.

There were some today that joked about our past and ridiculed our industrial heritage. I understand the viewpoint, and much of the current change is good and necessary. But we forget the hard work that goes into our easy lifestyle and often dismiss the value of those who labor in places like a copper smelter. Smelting and refining metal is dirty, challenging and more complex than most realize. But we affirm the need for it every time we flip a light switch or start the car.

Most important to me are the people who gave their lives to this town and proudly worked at the Tacoma smelter. Their work was good and valuable and important - to this town and to society. They worked hard to purify copper and then came home to work hard to build this town. There may be those who look down on our blue collar past, but its a valuable heritage. It was that blue collar blood, sweat and tears that gave us Ruston. So to the Dockerys and Schonekers and Hights and Lomis' and Campbells and Tallmans and Pudlos and countless others... Thank you for your gift. You done good...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Weekend Fun In Ruston

Besides the end-of-an-era celebration marking the tunnel closure on Saturday (11:30 til 1:30 at the school), Sunday will feature the second annual LaSalle Cadillac Car Show in Ruston. Although the event has run for the car club for 30+ years, our local business district will host the annual picnic here again this year.

The event drew about 100 show cars last year and should bring at least as many this year to line the Winnifred Street boulevard. There will be vendor booths and live music from Malcom Russel and friends. There will be even be prizes awarded, including a piece from a local sculpture artist. The event runs from 9 am until 3 pm (times updated since the flyer below was produced). The print version of today's paper had some nice coverage of our weekend events too. Hope everyone can attend both parties!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sewer Replacement Starts Soon

These signs will soon be a familiar sight on Ruston streets. Town planners are hosting an open house on Wednesday to let the public know the full extent of the coming sewer replacement project. The aging sewer system has been one of the long-standing concerns for Ruston. The project will mean better service, improved quality for the local treatment facility but also road closures and intermittent disruptions for local residents.

Here are the meeting details if you want more information:

  • Wednesday, August 17th

  • 7 pm

  • Joyce Community Center, 5219 N. Shirley Street

  • More information on the town web site here...

Saturday, August 13, 2011

New Color In Town

UPDATE: Thursday, August 18th: Market owner and president of the Ruston-Point Defiance Business District Beth Torbet provided some clarifications today. The grant for the mural on their store is a matching grant from the overall business district association "Art In The District". Our local business district provided matching funds. Beth is applying for help with the remaining $825 cost for this large mural by local artist Rachael Dotson.

The upcoming new mural for the Antique Sandwich Company will be done by another local artist, Mary Mann. This mural is fully funded by the West End Neighborhood Council, one of Tacoma's neighborhood organizations.

Only the locals will get to watch the colorful new mural unfold on the canvas of Ruston Market's wall. Owners are taking advantage of the reduced vehicle traffic of the tunnel closure to spiff up the store. New awning was added last week, a new sign this week and a brilliant, bright new mural is in the works.

The mural is partially funded by the Cross District Association - the umbrella organization for all the local business districts. A second mural from the same funds will begin on the side of the Antique Sandwich Company soon.

If you miss your drive thru the tunnel and into Ruston, venture down the cul-de-sac that is now 51st Street for a great milk shake and check out progress on Ruston's newest art-in-progress!

Tunnel Goodbye Party

Save the date! The community will say an official farewell to the Ruston tunnel next Saturday, August 20th from 11:30 til 1:30. Construction prevents us from actually entering the structure, so we will gather at the Ruston School parking lot. Point Ruston will provide hot dogs, there will be a giant canvas to sign that will go into a time capsule (to be placed in the tunnel) and we are hoping to hear a recording of the old smelter whistle echo through Ruston streets one more time.

If you have other suggestions for the time capsule, please comment here. And plan on joining us next week to mark the end of an era in Ruston's history. And be sure to come back the next day for more nostalgia with the Cadillac car show. There will be dozens and dozens of classic cars, live music and booths to browse...

Monday, August 8, 2011

Ruston Galleries Moving

One of Ruston's longtime businesses is moving, although not far. Ruston Galleries, our signature antique shop on the corner of 51st and Pearl Streets is in the process of moving down the street to the former Now & Then antique shop. Business owner Sandy was not sure how long it would take to finish the move, but she should be in her new place soon. The sister shop that featured high quality refinished furniture, Salvage Style, has now closed. The former Coles Tavern next door awaits remodeling.

The new owners of the corner building have been working on a remodel of the upstairs apartment. As part of the remodel, the Town of Ruston required the addition of new awning along Pearl and 51st Streets. The owners have been marketing the retail space where Ruston Galleries has been located for several months. The owners said they would upgrade the retail space to meet the needs of new tenants. The flyer advertising the space is shown below.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Keep Your Eyes Open

UPDATE: 7:25 pm: KOMO News has confirmed that Jessica has been found and is at St. Joseph hospital today. Read more here...

UPDATE: 1:46 pm: A friend of Jessica's just tweeted that she has been found and is at St. Joe's. Hopefully this story has a happy ending in the making...

The husband of a missing local woman has asked that folks in the north end help watch for his wife, local artist Jessica Smeall. She was last seen at her home at 6th and Mason at about 7:45 pm last night, but she has ties to Salmon Beach and Proctor. KOMO News has a photo (here).

She was last seen without glasses wearing black pants and royal blue shirt. If you see her, please call Tacoma police non-emergengy number at (253) 798-4721.

Update on Ruston Way Construction

The Tacoma Daily Index has a nice update on the progress of construction along our end of Ruston Way. You can read more here...