Monday, April 30, 2012

Council Meeting Notes: April 17, 2012

The meeting began on time with all elected officials present. The agenda was approved. No minutes were ready to approve yet. The police and fire department gave their monthly reports (available with the meeting minutes on the town’s web page when they are ready). Councilmember Hardin confirmed the “new-to-Ruston” fire engine will be modified mostly by volunteers to fit the garage and the cost to get the engine functional is in the fire department budget. The new equipment will be used for back up second engine if needed.

Public Comment
Ms. Jaydosh, a third grader who lives on Commercial Street, gave a very nice speech about why Ruston should install speed bumps to slow down traffic in this area.

Mr. Shores wanted to know when the street in front of his house would be paved now that the sewer had been replaced. He was also concerned about the necessary sidewalk repairs since his wife is disabled. The mayor explained the town is in discussion with the sewer contractor about quality issues with the paving work done to date. The town wants to resolve that issue before having any more paving done. He hoped to resolve things soon. He promised to get back to Mr. Shores when he had a date for the repair work.


Ordinance 1364 – Collective Gardens Zoning Code Amendment (2nd Reading): (staff report here) Councilmember Judd wanted to add language that only allowed these for those over 21 years old, required security cameras and make the buffer 500 feet rather than 300. The town attorney explained that the town could not change these state codes without risking being sued by the medical marijuana proponents. The measure passed 5-0.

Ordinance 1367 – Amend Street Excavation Permit (1st Reading): This ordinance would set the time for permits at 90 days, require the work to start within 30 days and allow for a 90 day extension. There were no comments from the council.

Resolution 504 – Purchase of SCBA for Fire Department: Chief Torbet told the council the old breathing equipment was a hodgepodge that put department personnel at risk. The funds are in the budget and the department is in compliance with Labor and Industries. Councilmember Hunt confirmed that $11,000 was from last year’s budget. The resolution passed 5-0.

Resolution 505 – Transformer Purchase: (staff report here) The mayor stated the purchase was for a new transformer at Baltimore and Commercial Streets and one for reserve for emergencies. Hardin confirmed the cost will come from the electrical reserve fund. The total cost was below the legal threshold of $7,500 (not clear what this meant). The measure was approved.

Town of Ruston Business District – Karen Pickett and Beth Torbet: I outlined my research on the town requirements, what had been required in the past and the district’s proposal for the Ruston Family Fair. The district was asking for clarification so they could begin signing up vendors, many of whom have already begun scheduling their summer events. After some discussion, the council decided they would update their code at the next meeting to require a $10 business license from vendors for special events.

Beth Torbet then showed different sizes of banners, including one that would be 18” as the town currently requires. The mayor directed the district to work with the town electrical engineer to resolve the size and other concerns as part of the project to replace the light poles on Pearl Street.

Claims and Payroll were approved

Mayor’s Time
Mayor Hopkins wants to install “Children At Play” signs along Commercial Street by the playfield.

Council Time
Hedrick had no comments.
Hunt wants the town to get bids to install speed bumps on Commercial as part of the repaving that needs to be done after the sewer replacement.
Hardin thanked the volunteers for the great job on the town Easter egg hunt. He encouraged everyone to attend the Ruston Way ribbon cutting on April 21st and hoped the road would open soon. He was concerned that so many Ruston roads are closed at the same time. Between the Point Ruston closures and the sewer project it’s getting hard to get out of town. The mayor explained under their contract, the town cannot stop the sewer contractor and he wants to get the project done as quickly as possible. Once the paving starts it will go quickly.
Kristiovich had no comments.
Judd had no comments.

The meeting adjourned at 8:10 pm.

Casino Lawsuit Against Ruston Dismissed

The Town of Ruston made a "breaking news" announcement on Friday (link here) about the dismissal of the latest lawsuit between Point Defiance Cafe and the Town of Ruston last week. Most of the case was dismissed in June of last year, but one piece of the suit was allowed to continue. The town congratulates the new attorney Carol Morris for successfully arguing the case on April 23rd.

Sights & Sounds

One of the organizers of the Ruston Way 5-K, ontheRUNevents, posted a great video capturing the sights and sounds of the race... You can view it here...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ruston Fit Walk Starts Today!

Don't let the gray skies discourage you! Grab the jogging stroller, con the hubby, put the leash on the pooch and head out the door for the first local Fit Walk at 10:30 am this morning. Park you car or walk to the parking lot at Point Defiance Cafe (5037 N. Pearl) and join other friendly folk for a 45 minute walk to explore our beautiful neighborhood.

Today's participants get a coupon from Don's Ruston Market. The walk is lead by Ladies Workout Express and sponsored by the Ruston - Point Defiance Business District. Walks will be held every second and fourth Wednesdays at 10:30 with give-a-ways from the business district each time. Support your local businesses, get healthy, fun social time and lovely scenery - doesn't get much better! Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ruston Way 5-K Results

Point Ruston provided the following results for the inaugural Ruston 5-K race last Saturday. The results for the Elite race are on the sheet below. Here are the results from the Fun Run:

1st Place Overall Male – Brian Johnson – 17:22
2nd Place Overall Male – Francis Holganza – 17:43
3rd Place Overall Male – Dave Miller – 17:55

1st Place Overall Female – Gretchen Van Dyke – 19:47
2nd Place Overall Female – Kathleen King – 20:13
3rd Place Overall Female – Nancy Abraham – 20:31

1st Place Masters Male – Dan Osier – 18:39
2nd Place Masters Male – Steve Yester – 18:52

1st Place Masters Female – Wenche Wahl – 22:21
2nd Place Masters Female – Kathy Johnson – 23:13

Here is a bit more info on each of the Elite Race Winners…
Mike Sayenko (Mike did mention this was a record for him on a road course)

More details available on

Monday, April 23, 2012

Momentous Day In Pictures

New Gallagher Way Connection

New Life (Phil would be happy)

Ruston round-a-bout not quite finished

Runners and visitors gathering

The Commencement building

Ruston Fire Chief Don Torbet at the speech tent

Ruston and Tacoma public safety had a big presense

Congressman Norm Dicks

Congressman Dicks chiding Loren Cohen for complaining about his front page photo.
Ruston Councilman Jim Hedrick

Tacoma Mayor Strickland

Ruston Town Council (missing Bruce Judd) with Mayor Hopkins and Loren Cohen

Elite Race

Elite Race Winner Mike Sayenko (time: 14:23)

Fun Run with almost 750 registrants

Step Back Into History

Friday, April 20, 2012

First Step - Finally!

Tomorrow marks the first time the public will be able to walk through the former smelter property (although we have to stay on the sidewalk and not wander through the entire development). It is literally the first real step in a very long process to transform this industrial site into a public jewel. It's been 19 years since the stack was imploded, touted at the time as the beginning of a new vision for the area - and 27 years since the smelter closed its doors. Those of us in Ruston who have watched and waited and hoped for this day will be celebrating not only the progress, but the fact that the town survived to see this day.

Everyone is invited to gather at the center of the site (pictured above) for speeches at 9:15 am (including Norm Dicks and Adam Smith), The eliite race begins at 10 and the fun run at 10:45 am. Ruston Way will close at 6 am and reopen by 2 pm. Everyone is encouraged to park in Ruston and walk in from this side. The full press release is copied below. See you there!

Point Ruston, LLC
Sarah Wagner – Marketing Manager
Phone: 253-219-8944
Fax: 253-752-7083
Point Ruston, LLC
Loren Cohen – Manager of Legal Affairs
Phone: 253-752-2185 x236
Fax: 253-752-7083
April 20, 2012
April 21st ribbon cutting ceremony and Ruston Way 5k to commemorate the grand re-opening of the new Ruston Way.
TACOMA, WA – On Saturday, April 21st Point Ruston LLC, the company behind the redevelopment of the former Asarco Superfund site, will be joined by hundreds of community members and local elected leaders to celebrate the grand re-opening of the new and improved Ruston Way.  The Point Ruston site has undergone dramatic changes, most recent being Point Ruston’s completion of the new Ruston Way public infrastructure improvements. This project was funded through a $28.7million Local Improvement District bond sale by the City of Tacoma, which will be repaid by Point Ruston. The project completes nearly one mile of public road replacement and infrastructure repair, realigning the new tree-lined, pedestrian oriented boulevard around the crumbling Ruston Tunnel.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will feature public remarks from local dignitaries that have been integral to the success of this project, including; Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland, Town of Ruston Council Member Jim Hedrick, City of Tacoma Council Member Jake Fey, State Senator Derek Kilmer, along with United States Representative Adam Smith and Representative Norm Dicks. The day’s events will be capped off by two separate 5k races; the first featuring Elite profession level runners, and the second, a fun run for amateur runners and walkers of all types. Both races begin and end at the new Grand Avenue roundabout, located at the main entrance of the Point Ruston development.
The program for the day is as follows:
Local media is advised to arrive early to account for easier parking and access to the event.

§  8:00 - 9:00AM – VIP & MEDIA ARRIVAL
o   Point Ruston – Loren Cohen
o   Ruston Council Member Hedrick
o   Tacoma Council Member Jake Fey
o   Tacoma Mayor Strickland
o   State Senator Derek Kilmer
o   Rep. Adam Smith
o   Rep. Norm Dicks
§  10:00AM – ELITE RACE
WHAT:           Ruston Way 5k and ribbon cutting ceremony
WHEN:          Saturday, April 21, 2012, Event open at 8:00 am
WHERE:       Tacoma/Ruston, WA - Point Ruston on Ruston Way
5005 Ruston Way
Tacoma, WA 98407
Please enter the event from N. 51st Street from the Town of Ruston end of Ruston Way
Directions to the event are:
From HWY 16
- Take the North HWY 163/Ruston exit
- Turn right onto N Pearl St/WA-163 (continue approx. 3 mi)
- Turn right at N 51st Street and proceed straight to the Point Ruston site.
Members of the Press are encouraged to cover this event. For more information or to obtain VIP parking access, please contact Sarah Wagner, Point Ruston LLC’s Marketing Manager.
About Point Ruston, LLC
Point Ruston is located on nearly one-mile of Commencement Bay waterfront and being developed into a vibrant mixed-use lifestyle center, featuring residential housing for nearly 3,000 residents and approximately 2,000,000 total square feet of mixed-use real estate. The development includes The Waterwalk at Point Ruston, a lifestyle shopping center with more than 250,000 square feet boutique shopping, restaurants, cafes, and other public amenities, all anchored by a four-star 175-room Silver Cloud Hotel, 30,000 square foot organic grocer, a brand new 9-screen Century Theatre multiplex cinema, and, The Waterwalk, a mile-long public shoreline esplanade.
For more information visit

Council Meeting Notes: April 2, 2012

The meeting was called to order at 7:08 pm by Mayor Hopkins. Councilmember Hunt was excused from the meeting. After the flag salute, the agenda was amended to include an executive session. There were no minutes ready to approve.

Town engineer Jerry Morrisette gave an update on the sewer replacement project. Among the issues discussed was the discovery of two more homes along Highland Avenue that are discharging storm water into their sanitary sewer. One of the houses appears to have tapped onto an underground spring and has water infiltrating at a rate of 5 gallons per minute. The town and the homeowner will need to make some costly repairs to address the problem. The owner had not been contacted yet.

Public Comment
Loren Cohen from Point Ruston thanked the town for the quick work on the sign code and urged the council to approve the new lease with them for the school building.

Beth Torbet discussed the new banners for the business district that Tacoma will be providing at no cost through the inter-local agreement. She was concerned that the town's new requirement that banners could not exceed 18" would not be readable and had been made without any input from the business district.

I asked for clarification on what the town would require for the Cadillac Car Show and Family Fair. The mayor will put the business district on the agenda for the next meeting so there could be more than 2 minutes to discuss the issue (the time limit for public comment). He required the district to outline the requirements.

Ordinance 1366 - Sewer Rate Revision (2nd Reading): Passed 4-0 with no discussion.

Ordinance 1363 - Sign Code Amendment (2nd Reading): Passed 4-0 with no discussion.

Ordinance 1364 - Collective Gardens Zoning Code Amendment (1st Reading): The attorney outlined the provisions for this regulation and how it related to medical marijuana dispensaries once Ruston lifts its moratorium. Councilmember Hedrick commented that the governor made an ill-advised decision on this issue last year that left local municipalities with potential liabilities. Councilmember Hardin confirmed this law was needed in order for the police to enforce community gardens being used to grow illegal substances.

Resolution 501 - Amendment to Council Rules of Procedure: Hedrick confirmed the change to Tuesday nights for the council meetings will begin at the next meeting. The resolution passed 4-0.

Resolution 502 - Point Ruston Lease Approval: Hedrick noted he is happy to sign but wanted the public to know this only covers Ruston's operating costs on the school. It does not provide funding for seismic upgrades or other improvements. Hardin complemented the mayor and Point Ruston for negotiating a reasonable compromise. Passed 4-0.

Resolution 503 - Purchase Resolution/Competitive Bids: The attorney outlined the measure, which passed 4-0 with no discussion.

The council adjourned for a 15 minute executive session to discuss pending litigation.

Claims (no payroll): Approved 4-0

Mayor's Time
Hopkins announced it was time to review the utility rates to ensure the town is charging enough to cover costs and have enough in reserve funds. He noted sewer rates had not been raised since 2009, yet the town costs have increased.

He was glad the purchase procedure was approved. The town attorney has had to correct him - at times asking him what he is doing. When he replies that he is running a business she points out the town is not a business and there are more rules to follow. The mayor noted that the first jury trial the town has seen in many years is underway.

Hopkins has requested bids on a "Welcome To Ruston" sign for the first round-a-bout at Point Ruston. The town electrical engineer confirmed the round-a-bout has power to illuminate the sign, but it is Tacoma's - so the town has to negotiate to use it.  The engineer is identifying where street lights can be turned off as a cost savings measure. The police department is involved so ensure public safety is not compromised.

Council Time
Hedrick thought he and the mayor would be meeting the next Friday with the Department of Revenue, but the mayor asked for more time because he did not have the documentation yet.

Hardin asked some questions on the street lights.

Kristovich announced the upcoming Easter egg hunt.

Judd had no comment.

The meeting adjourned at 8:32 pm.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Point Ruston + Train + New Development = Beautiful!

Great picture of a train passing through the new Point Ruston development today. Thanks for sharing, hubby!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Council Meeting Tonight

The Ruston Council will consider restrictions on community gardening and other medical marijuana issues, purchasing equipment for the fire department and electrical transformers as well as hear from the local business district. It's the first ever regular meeting on the new night (Tuesdays from now on). Stop in at 7 pm and watch your local political team in action! The agenda and background documents for the meeting are available here.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ruston Way Party Saturday

The Volcano has a story about the 5-K run and opening ceremony planned for this Saturday, The speeches start at 9:15 am and the races start at 10 am. Local businesses Ladies Workout Express and Platinum Chrysalis Massage will be down helping.

Since the road is not scheduled to open for another month, my guess is the event will only be accessible from the Tacoma side. See everyone there!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Oh, Oh!

It appears the damaged crane has been removed.
A minor crane accident at Point Ruston got some attention this morning. No one was hurt and damage to the crane was minor. A temporary rental crane with an operator provided by the rental company has been working on the fourth floor of the Copperline building (not the larger stationary crane visible from the road). The work this morning caused the end of the crane to bend. There were some inquires from local media, but nothing is being reported yet that I can see.

Work has resumed and life goes on.The crane can only be seen the waterside, so the pictures are from a distance.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


Like a butterfly starting to emerge from its cocoon, the new entrance to Ruston at the bottom of the hill is taking shape. After saying goodbye to the tunnel last summer, the last visible sign of the old structure was covered this week.

A grand opening ceremony with speeches, ribbon-cutting and a 5-K race is just over a week away, scheduled for the morning of Saturday, April 21st. It was hoped this would be the official opening of the new Ruston Way, but current projections are it will still be a month until the road is open. The fence goes back up after the race and the public will have to watch the final touches on the road construction from a distance.

Copperline Apartments taking shape

Train tunnel to the right with the old car tunnel buried under the tarp

The longstanding billboard at the bottom of 51st appears to be going away

The Tacoma-Narrows Federal Credit Union is sporting a snazzy new sign

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Taxes Set To Go Up Again

Pierce County Council voted last week to form a flood district that will tax all of Pierce County, including Ruston (read The News Tribune's story here). The money raised will go towards flood control measures in the county. The last time this issue came up, Ruston joined several other cities appealing the move (previous story here).

It does not appear Ruston will be joining any appeal this time. Mayor Hopkins responded to an email inquiry to say that the issue had been to the hearing examiner already. He said it appears Gig Harbor is considering appealing the council's decision. So taxes will go up by January 1st at earliest on this new measure, even in Ruston.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Eggs, Kids & Sun

It was a fun-filled sunny holiday weekend in Ruston. Mayor Hopkins' wife Lynette and team put on the annual Easter Egg Hunt, followed by a bake sale, coffee and goodies at the Joyce Community Center.
The quiet before the 3-minute madness.
A future Ruston officer in the making.

Ready..... Set....


The school and community center were decked out.
Painted chairs from the Arts & Parks event two years ago were displayed.

Special eggs with a butterfly earned a special prize.
Free kites were given out. It was a perfect kite-flying day and several were spotted on Stack Hill later in the day.
Ruston Fire Department offered information and sign ups for their free CPR class. They are working to set a world record for the highest per-capita CPR trained community.
Bake sale goodies sold quickly.