Monday, October 31, 2011

Frightfully Good Time In Ruston Tonight

Although not as busy as year's past, plenty of youngsters (and not-so-young) made their way along the Winnifred Street boulevard to collect treats. The Ruston Police and Fire Departments passed out candy, and even had a little canine help to greet the visitors. Sounds like a great time was had by all!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Business District Happenings

In case you haven't seen it yet, the Ruston-North Tacoma Business District launched a new web site recently. You can visit it at And the local design/branding experts at LILT put together this great new logo. You can even follow the District on Facebook (link here).

The District is publishing a newsletters these days. Enjoy the latest issue below and remember to support our local tax base and shop our neighborhood stores! Click on the image to enlarge...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Toilet Lids Secured

I know it's for a good cause, but it has been a hassle having our roads and alley torn up the last two months for the sewer replacement project in my neighborhood. But a sure sign of progress was left on my door yesterday with a warning for today: "Sewer main testing tomorrow. Advise closing & weighing down all toilet lids." So far no explosions in the toilets at my house. I hope the same is true for my neighbors...

Friday, October 14, 2011


In case you didn't notice it in the last town newsletter:
  • Garbage cans may need to be placed on the front sidewalk for pick up. If you can't get your car in the alley because of the sewer construction, the town garbage truck won't make it either. On those rare occasions when garbage pick up hits on a day your alley is blocked, the town asks that you put your cans on the sidewalk in front of your house. This applies to the yard waste and recycle bins too.
  • The recent burglary at Town Hall highlighted the negative flip side of living in a close-knit, trusting community. Police Chief Jeremy Kunkel noted that after the suspects ran, they received assistance from over a dozen friendly neighbors ranging from using phones, borrowing gas cans and getting rides - all while Ruston and Tacoma police were searching the area for them. No one called in the suspicious behavior at the time. Police ask that you call them anytime you see something that feels suspicious, either by dialing 911 or the non-emergency number at (253) 798-4721. Leaving a message at the police department office can cause significant delays since that phone is not monitored.
  • Chief Kunkel invites anyone who is interested to ride along with the police. Contact him via town hall if you are interested, (253) 759-3544.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pagoda Update

The News Tribune has a nice update on construction progress at the Point Defiance Pagoda (link here). You may recall the structure was badly damaged by arson in April this year (read more here). Park district officials promise an improved structure that will look basically the same. The Park Board authorized $1.6 million for work recently, with hopes to have the building ready by next May.

In related news, the teenager charged with this arson has pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 142 to 189 weeks in juvenile detention today. The News Tribune story is here...

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sewer FAQ's

Council Member Lyle Hardin sent out this notice recently with lots of good information on the major sewer replacement project making its way through town:
The town web sight,, has information regarding the Sanitary Sewer project posted and updated as information becomes available. On the site is a Frequently Asked Questions section, which I have included in this email. Please pass this email along to all town residents and remind them to check the web sight for updated information.

Per the web site, you may also call or email Dan Osier, Project Engineer, at (360) 352-9456 or

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this project necessary?
Most of the original sewer collection system was installed between 1917 and 1920, and in-pipe video and inspection has revealed that there are many leaks, which contributes to pollution of Commencement Bay. The Ruston Sanitary Sewer Upgrade project will replace approximately 14,000 feet of sewer main, 78 sanitary sewer manholes, and 270 sanitary sewer laterals including 4,000 LF of 6-inch diameter pipe.

How is this project funded?
Funding for this project is being provided by a low-interest loan from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Rural Development Division. This loan will be repaid over 40 years from funds collected from utility bills.

Will my property/driveway/alley be repaired?
The contract with the Town requires that the contractor restore all areas disturbed by construction to their pre-construction state or better. The timing of when this restoration is accomplished depends on many factors, but should occur within a reasonable amount of time from when the contractor is finished with utility work in the area.

What is the procedure for residents to file claims for property damage
resulting from construction?
Please call Charlie Severs, project field representative, at 360-481-4144. He will examine the damage and coordinate with the contractor to resolve the issue. If damage is significant, residents may need to contact the Town Clerk and file a written claim.

What will be the width of the alley repaving?
Although the contract generally calls for repaving only the width of the utility trench (nominally 2.7 feet), the poor pavement condition in many of the alleys will result in additional width of paving, up to and including the entire width of the alley. This decision will be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on pavement condition, other contract requirements, funding limitations, etc.

Will repaving be completed before adverse weather prohibits it?
Construction work will be halted for the season when weather conditions warrant. It is the contractor's intent to get all the locations that are disturbed repaved prior to the anticipated winter shutdown. If some locations are not sufficiently addressed, it will be the contractor's responsibility to keep everything maintained acceptably.
Lyle Hardin
Ruston Council

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pt. Defiance Receives National Award

We always known we have a national treasure at our doorstep, but its nice to see it recognized. The American Planning Association named Pt. Defiance Park one of its top 10 Great Public Spaces for 2011. The News Tribune has more details here...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lawsuit Outcome

The tragic motorcycle accident on N. 51st Street that took the life of Brandon Brooks resulted in a lawsuit against the Town of Ruston (among others) by Brandon's mother. Ms. Brooks claimed that the multiple center lines along that curve of 51st caused the accident.

From what I can gather from court documents, Ruston was successful in getting the lawsuit against it dismissed in August of 2010. The town then sued Woodworth and Company, Inc. who had installed the center lines, for the cost of its defense. The Town was successful in its lawsuit against Woodworth and received a judgement of $80,000, which was paid to the Association of Washington Cities (AWC). AWC is the insurance carrier for Ruston and had provided the Town's defense.

I've asked the mayor and town attorney to confirm this interpretation of the court documents, but they have not responded.