Fall Updates from Deputy Mayor Kristina Walker

2023 Deputy Mayor Kristina Walker Page Banner

Hello Tacoma!

I am excited to share some of the great work the City Council has been doing this fall and some of the fantastic events happening in our community. We have a lot of hard work to do in 2024, but I know we can build on the progress we are already making. I am wishing you all a wonderful end to 2023 and I am looking forward to the bright days ahead for our incredible city in 2024! 

As we head into the winter months, please make sure to be prepared for inclement weather. For information on City resources, please visit: Inclement Weather - City of Tacoma.

The Latest from City Council…


Biennial Budget Modification

For the past several months, the City Council has been working on the biennial budget modification process. I am pleased that the modifications we are making address issues that our community prioritizes, including funding for our alternative emergency response models, affordable housing and homelessness work, and Climate Action Plan implementation. In 2024, the City will be adding our new Community Service Officers to further improve community safety, extending emergency sheltering and safe parking, and implementing our Green Economy Study.

You can learn more about our budget work here: 2023-2024 Biennial Budget Modification Process FAQs.

Vision Zero

City of Tacoma Awarded $2 Million in Grant Funding for Portland Avenue Vision Zero Project

I am thrilled to share that the City's Public Works Department has received a grant to identify and design safety improvements, enhance pedestrian and bicycle connections, and provide better access to public transit on Portland Avenue from East 27th to East 56th Street. Portland Avenue was identified as a high-risk corridor in Tacoma’s Vision Zero Action Plan due to the number of fatal and serious crashes, high driver speeds, inadequate bike facilities, and limited pedestrian crossing options. The City's work on Portland Avenue is aimed at lowering driver speeds and enhancing safety for all travel modes while fostering a stronger sense of community.

More information about the Portland Avenue Vision Zero Project, as well as other capital projects, is available at cityoftacoma.org/capitalprojects. More information on the Vision Zero Action Plan is available at cityoftacoma.org/visionzero.

Joint Session

Fostering a Regional Approach to Homelessness

In September, we held a joint Study Session with the Pierce County Council to discuss homelessness. During the presentations, we had the chance to hear about the work of the City's outstanding Homeless Engagement Alternatives Liaison (HEAL) Team. The HEAL Team has made nearly 2,500 outreach contacts this year and connected over 200 individuals who were experiencing homelessness to housing. To read more about the City’s Homeless Strategy, visit: Homelessness Services - City of Tacoma.

In addition, for the 2023-2024 winter weather season, the City has partnered with funded shelter providers to ensure that unsheltered individuals have access to indoor shelter options. These efforts have expanded the City’s shelter capacity by 170 beds.

While the City has allocated $35.7 million for homelessness services and programs this biennium, we cannot do this work alone. Addressing homelessness in our city will require a regional approach and I’m glad these conversations are happening with the Pierce County Council. I know that when we all work together, we can find a way to ensure the health, well-being, and dignity of all our community members.


Advancing Affordable Housing with Home in Tacoma 

The City Council received an update on Home in Tacoma and the City's efforts to increase housing supply, choice, and affordability. The update focused on building design standards, affordability and accessibility, land uses, the bonus program, and the upcoming round of community engagement in 2024. You can take a look at the presentation here: Home in Tacoma.

In addition, for the latest information on the Landlord Fairness Code Initiative that was approved by voters, please visit: Renting in Tacoma.

Reflect and Protect

Violent Crime Reduction Plan  

The City Council heard from Tacoma Police Department Chief Avery Moore about the status of the Violent Crime Reduction Plan, which has been in effect for one year now. I am so pleased to share that overall crime is continuing to trend downward in our city. While we are seeing homicides and violent crime rates dropping, we must continue to focus on how we build on this progress.

The Tacoma Police Department is still hiring and offering some great bonuses! Take a look at their vacancies here: Tacoma Police Jobs.

I also recognize that community safety is not just a police issue, and I am looking forward to more discussions in 2024 as the City continues developing a broader Community Safety Action Strategy. The City Council received an update on the Community Safety Action Strategy that you can view here.

Tacoma FIRST 311

Tacoma FIRST 311

I’m proud to share that the City Council recognized the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the Tacoma FIRST 311 Customer Support Center in October. Our Tacoma FIRST 311 Customer Support Center has processed more than 650,000 requests for service during the past 10 years.

You can use Tacoma FIRST 311 online resources to access more than 700 answers to commonly asked City-related questions, submit and track more than 70 types of requests for City services, and direct questions to City departments. Just click here: Tacoma First 311

The Latest from Our Community…

Tacoma Reads

Celebrating Tacoma Reads

Tacoma Reads is a longstanding partnership between the Mayor’s Office and Tacoma Public Library, and this year’s reading selection included, A Place Called Home, by David Ambroz. In his book, David recounts his time as a child experiencing homelessness and in foster care. His story deeply inspiring, and it is one that we need to hear to better understand the impact of homelessness and poverty on our children. 


Touring Aquagga with Governor Inslee and Mayor Woodards   

I had the opportunity earlier this fall to tour Aquagga Inc. with Governor Jay Inslee, Mayor Victoria Woodards, and other state representatives. Aquagga is an incredible business, working hard to help protect our country’s water from PFAS. PFAS, or Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are highly toxic man-made "forever" chemicals that have infiltrated the air, soil, and water. Due to the strength of the carbon-fluorine bond, these chemicals are highly challenging to eliminate, making environmental remediation efforts complex. Innovative companies like Aquagga are helping to address PFAS and it was joy to visit their new facility here in our city.

The City's Community and Economic Development Department has been hosting great workshops designed to strengthen Tacoma’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and to address disparities for historically underutilized businesses owned by minority, women, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. If you have not had an opportunity to attend one of their workshops, keep an eye out for future events here: In the News - City of Tacoma.