Friday, May 23, 2008

Where'd the times go?

I don't read the Trib with any regularity these days, but I spied on the Grand Cinema website that they have decided to stop printing movie times in the daily Soundlife section. You can still get the times for the week out of Friday's Go section (not that it helps if a movie opens on a Wednesday, or if weekend showtimes are different than weekdays), but no more opening up the morning's paper to see what's playing on a Tuesday evening.

The Grand is pushing for this to be reinstated. From their release this morning:
Did you use this as a source of movie information for the Grand or other movie theaters? If so, please let them know that you'd like this information reinstated. The only chance it will return is if readers speak up! Contact information: Craig Sailor is their Entertainment Editor. His phone number is 253-597-8541 and his email is craig.sailor@thenewstribune.com.
At this point I think that way too many people use Fandango or a theatre's website to find times for there to be much of a fuss from the readership. But I still wonder why the move was made. I guess they can fit, what... two more ads in there? Judging from what I've seen them try to fill Soundlife space with in the past, I can't imagine them thinking they can use that space daily for actual worthwhile content...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wright Park Pics

After getting home from practice yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon reading in Wright park, followed by a stroll and some pictures taken on the new cam:




Biking Tacoma: Take One

There's been much talk of biking over on jcbetty's blog, and I've start to get back into it myself, so I figure I can use it as one more excuse to write. So I shall attempt to cover my expanding bike horizons through the summer, and my attempts to actually get in shape a little (I'm in good walking shape, but walking shape and actual fitness can be pretty drastically different things)

So Sunday I rode from my apartment to my dad's house (about 2 miles) for band practice, then rode a few extra blocks around his neighborhood (including a hill adventure between Proctor and Union on N 35th), and Monday night I rode to the Red Hot and back. The point being that I had already ridden more than I have in most recent weeks, before I got to today's ride:



Google Map
Distance: 9.1 miles
Time: 1 hour, 8 minutes

So, a few observations...

A) Started at the southeast corner of Wright Park. and headed up S 9th. It's not the best street, but it's got on street parking so it's not too hard to stay out of the way of cars when you need to. My general philsophy of riding is to be aware of the laws that support me, but not to rely upon them unnecessarily. I know that I can be in the traffic lane, and am not afraid to annoy cars by doing so, but I prefer a peaceful coexistence, and stay out of it when I can.

B) I cut over to 11th on Grant. I prefer to turn left when I can, rather than waiting until the major intersection (Sprague) and then struggling to get to the left turn lane.

C) This was a happy moment... finally getting the hell off 12th. Unlike 9th, 12th is not designed for on-street parking at all, and so I was basically making people go around me the whole way. Most did this without a fuss, though I got a couple honks. Didn't help that it was mostly uphill... the other way I would at least have been closer to keeping up with traffic. I don't think I could have quite managed it without this fancy gizmo:



Ever since a muscle spasm back in high school, my head's never quite turned far enough for me to comfortably ride in anything more than very light traffic. Being able to see cars coming up from behind with minimal effort is a convenience I'd rather not do without. Even if people do accuse me of being a robot when I wear it.

D) After crossing 6th Ave, Stevens finally gains a painted bike lane and parking lane. The first chunk (12th to 6th) has the room for it, but since Tacoma is clearly experiencing a white paint shortage (unless you can think of some other reason for the lack of consistent street lines and faded crosswalks downtown), I was happy to just have the room.

E) I contemplated heading home once I hit 21st. But since I'm a glutton for punishment, apparently, I decided to head out to Pearl first. Mostly uneventful, except for one ornery storm drain, wide enough to grab a bike wheel and unfortunately oriented to do just that.

F) After cutting off Pearl onto 26th, I came across a rather unpleasantly constructed street. If I'd thought of it I would've grabbed a picture, but instead I remained in motion. Anyway... the street is fundamentally wide enough to support an out of the way biker. But right of the edge is a sudden steep slope to the sidewalk (or where a sidewalk would be). Combined with the sand and gravel in the pit, there's really nothing to do but stay in traffic until it lets up.

G) Crossed 21st and turned left onto 19th, for the reasons mentioned earlier... too many cars coming to get over to the left turn lane at 21st.

H) Coming down toward where 21st shifts over to being I St., I was reminded of something Dan Burden said. He's a big proponent of lanes not being wider than they need to be, as well as back-in angle parking (saves room over parallel parking, is easier, and is safer than back-out). You can see a perfect example of this coming down 21st: parallel parking the whole way, but the two lane road has nearly another lane's worth of space if you count the additional space on either side. angle parking would fit quite well. The weakness? Wouldn't be able to use that existing extra space to ride comfortably.

I) So near the end of the ride, the Parkway at N 4th and I would be a great spot to stop and enjoy a chilled beverage. Alas, I am on a temporary beer hiatus, so it was not to be. Instead I head back to...

J) ...home.

A fun ride, on the whole. In the future I think I'll avoid 12th unless absolutely necessary. Next I think I might try something a little more southerly, and possibly venturing into east Tacoma and McKinley. If I can start riding out to the comic shop (72nd and Portland) on Saturdays, that would be fairly awesome.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Hey, look what I got...

...a camera. It being sunny, and Friday, guess what I photographed? Chalk. Chalk. Chalk. Oh, and some people, too.






Thursday, May 15, 2008

Professional Theatre Returning to Tacoma

On February 27, 2007, after 29 years of existence, Tacoma Actors Guild officially shut its doors, citing lack of foundation grants leading them further and further into debt. It took with it professional theatre in Tacoma. Now, more than a year later, professional theatre is on its way back to Theatre on the Square, in the form of the Theatre Northwest Group.



Theatre Northwest began as the brainchild of Brett Carr, Rod Pilloud, Charlotte Tiencken and Chris Nardine. If these names sound familiar, it is because they have spent much of their careers building a reputation not just in professional but in community theatre in the Puget Sound, and in Tacoma in particular. All four have directed at Tacoma Little Theatre numerous times in the last decade. Before leaving for a job in Massachusetts in the late 90s, Tiencken (then Wooldridge) served as TLT's Artistic Director, picking up the reins left by now Broadway Center Director David Fischer.

With Carr taking the lead as Producing Artistic Director, and the other three in place as resident directors, they have assembled a top notch production staff, including UPS theatre professor Kurt Walls (Set Designer), former TLT technical director Ryan Coleman (Production Manager/Tech Director), and longtime Tacoma theatre mainstays Kim Izenman (Charge Artist), Alex Lewington (Costume Designer) and Chris Gildner (Stage Manager).

Theatre of Integrity

"First and foremost, the responsibility is to have theatre of integrity, and to be able to gain and earn the respect of your audience." This statement is at the core of Carr's vision. So what is theatre of integrity? Says Carr, "It's easy to to say 'we're bringing professional theatre back into Tacoma.' But I'm determined not to ignore, nor to alienate the community. And the way to avoid that is to make it inclusive, not exclusive."

With that in mind, Theatre Northwest is seeking to integrate with the local community theatres, rather than stepping on their toes. "We're all one community. Somehow we've got to cross-talk and cross-pollinate." This means avoiding shows that local theatres have done recently, or are hoping to do in the near future. It means talking to other theatres about what kind of shows they'd like to see done professionally. It also means giving amateur actors the chance to work in a professional setting, alongside professional actors, under a professional director.

"We want to try to bring as much of the community... as we can. It's not going to happen in the first production... But it's a program that we're going to put together and work towards... [The directors] will be the first to say that there are people in the community that are as professional as some of the most professional people that they've worked with." Carr hopes that, by building a creative staff out of professionals with a strong tie to community theatre, there will be a pre-existing trust: local actors know these people, and will be interested in the work they are doing; and perhaps more importantly, they know the local actors. Ask a director in New York, London or even as near as Seattle if an amateur actor from Tacoma belongs in a professional show alongside Equity actors, and I doubt you'll be surprised by the answer. But the fact is that some of the strongest actors that I've seen in the region have other incomes and do volunteer theatre for one reason: love. And Nardine, Tiencken and Pilloud know those faces and those names.

This outreach does not stop at actors. Carr also addresses plans for an assistant director program, allowing the best of Tacoma's community directors to work in a professional setting under the guidance of one of the more experienced resident directors. "The resident director will act as the liaison between the guest and the Producing Artistic Director. They will be responsible for reviewing the show with the director, they'll watch the show periodically, and make sure that it adheres to the standards we're trying to keep."

Those standards, and not fundamental quality difference, according to Carr, are what separates professional from community theatre. A community theatre may put on as good a production as you're likely to see at any level, but the fact is that if they falter on a show or two, the audience will be much more likely to forgive than with a professional group, where the expectation is for the best that the region has to offer, artistically and technically, at all times.

The Curse of TAG

Of course, we have already had a professional group in this space, and a friendly symbiosis with other local theatres is not going to put the gross through the roof. So why does Theatre Northwest think that it can survive, only two years removed from the failure of TAG?

"We bring it intact as a complete production. We don't have to use the facilities of Theatre on the Square other than for the venue itself." As business manager for a commercial interiors contractor by day, Carr has access to a fully functioning carpentry shop. Between the staff's range of contacts they have a variety of options for rehearsal space. This means only renting from the Broadway Center for a week of tech researsals and the run of the show itself, a mutually beneficial situation: "It maximizes the Center's ability to use the space for other programs, and minimizes costs incurred by both organizations."

This same plan extends to the staffing model. The entire paid team of Theatre Northwest is focused on production. TAG relied upon its own paid staff for marketing, ticket sales, and other business maintenance concerns. Theatre Northwest will instead leave these tasks to the well-equipped BCPA. "We're using our production strength, and we're using the marketing and venue strength of the Broadway Center."

The project benefits further from Carr's extensive business management experience. He has already laid out a hypothetical budget for a mid-sized show to determine financial viability, surprising even BCPA Director Fischer with his detail. But the greatest strength remains the creative team's dedication to the project. As stakeholders in the success of this theatre, the founders have agreed that, in the event of a financial loss on any given show, the first sacrifice will be from the director's paycheck. True, this is the most obvious choice, as actor fees are dictated by the Equity union and venue rent will be dictated by contract with the BCPA, but the dedication to draw from director payment rather than sucking it out of the next show's production budget or risking the debt that killed TAG is a strong step toward a sustainable business model.

From Vision to Reality

That's the concept, the vision. So what's the timetable? The current plan, pending contract finalization with the Broadway Center, is to start with two shows in the Winter/Spring of 2009: the first, as yet undecided, will run from February 1st to March 1st, and the second, Tuesdays With Morrie, will fun May 4th to June 7th. Both are four week, 12 performance runs.

From there, the principals are building an extensive list of shows they would like produce, based on both practical and creative factors. With such a short schedule, and no pre-existing season ticket holders, the initial focus is on, not necessarily Neil Simon-common shows, but at least those that are a known commodity. "Until we know our audience, and until we re-establish that credibility with the Tacoma audience, I think we're going to have to start by doing plays that will bring the most people in... because without the public coming through the door it doesn't matter what you do."

In the long term, can we expect to see more cutting-edge material? "You have to earn the respect of the audience. The audience then trusts you to put on the best productions possible regardless of the show. When this process begins to happen, you can take steps to show plays that are more outside the mainstream."

There will almost certainly be those who are bored with Tuesdays With Morrie, whether they'd rather see a comedy, or a musical, or a dark, avant garde art piece. But it is well suited to the creative team, and to a theatre starting fresh. "if we can't put 150 people in the seats per show in Theatre On The Square with Rod as Morrie, with Charlotte directing, with Kurt designing, you're going to be able to knock me over with a twig."

Lasting Impact

"So many people are involved in theatre. All the actors, all the crew, the six degrees of separation from all of them... when it stops there truly is a huge void in the community." As a truly collaborative effort, theatre is far more invested in the community than many art forms. Great theatre can't be achieved by one genius sitting in his studio, creating. Similarly, even the best theatrical production isn't made profitable by one patron making a purchase, the way a painting is. The cast have to sell their art to more than a hundred people a night for 12 nights over the course of a month.

What this means is that Theatre Northwest will only survive to fulfill its artistic potential if the audience chooses to support them in their first steps. It remains to be seen if that audience still exists in sufficient numbers, willing to forgo the gas and time required for a trip to the 5th Avenue or the Paramount for a road show to take a chance on the hard work and dedication of these talented individuals.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Walkable Tacoma: The Problem of Mass Transit

It's no secret that I like mass transit. I ride the Link 2-4 times a day (I live at one end and work at the other), and I would be very happy to see it extended into other areas. Most months I buy a bus pass to cut down on my need for quarters (I'd rather hoard them for laundry, anyway) and to get me to out of range locales (comic book store, clothing stores, parental homes, etc). If it weren't for Sound Transit express buses I wouldn't have been able to take Greek class last year, or go to a meeting at the Bellevue library a couple weeks ago. These services fill a need that exists in our current society, and I hope they continue to expand.

BUT.

There are certain flaws in this paradigm that need to be addressed. Mass transit, while improving congestion, reducing pollution (theoretically), reducing oil use and providing outward mobility for a variety of carless populations, does NOT fundamentally build a sustainable transportation network.

Public mass transit is designed for one thing: to allow people to function in a car-based geography without a car. This is important because that's what we live in. Our cities have, for the last century or so, been designed to cater to the automobile. The farther people are able to travel, the farther out a retail company can build their outlet, away from the big city where the land is cheaper (key example: Ikea... no way it would be in Renton if they thought that distance would be prohibitive to Seattle and Tacoma residents).

So governments see the congestion caused by the cars and the rising gas prices and decide to add a bus route, or build a commuter train. And we pedestrians and environmentalists are happy to see progress being made, and fail to recognize that it is a fundamentally temporary solution. The core problem with a highway-centric economy is not that pedestrians can't get far enough. It's that things are too far away. That may sound like the same thing, but it's not. Pedestrians shouldn't need to be forced into highway economy, any more than drivers should be forced to give up their cars.

Instead of trying to make it easier for the population fit into the design, we should be trying to make designs that fit the population. Adding buses runs into the same problem that adding lanes does: it becomes a war of escalation rather than compromise. We are continuing to say to businesses, urban planners and landowners "You don't need to change what you're doing. We'll just keep figuring out more ways to move more people longer distances." And so we have retail stores flooding remote malls and shopping centers and a barren downtown. A lot of people can walk to downtown, or drive there and walk the length of it, but the stores aren't there, because farther away is cheaper and the geography is no obstacle. (And yes, I know that some of the blame for high downtown rents goes on out of town landlords, but I suspect that even a reasonable rent in Tacoma's downtown is going to be trumped by a location out in Puyallup or Lacey or Kent).

Are buses better than cars? Certainly (as long as people use them... a bus with one person on it as a horrible waste of resources in many different ways). Could I do all the things I like to do without them? No. I just think that it's important for the city planners and the businesses to realize that, at a fundamental level, mass transit is a part of the same problem; that they will run into all the same issues of rising gas prices that car-owners do; and most importantly, that the real answer is not finding new ways to pile it on, but designing within a paradigm that will allow us to scale back motorized transit of ALL forms, personal or public.

In practical terms... given a choice between a bill that spends our tax money to extend the Link to places that I go with frequency (up 6th, out toward the mall and so on) and a bill that spends that same money to do whatever is needed to give us a functional downtown in the area where the Link already runs, I would go for the latter in a second. The goal shouldn't be to get us to other places that have what we want, it should be to put what we want where we already are. So says me, anyway. I know that there are at least three people who will read this and have opinions on this, whether similar or different, and I'm curious to hear what they are.

Break out of the... NOOOOORM!

It's probably because I'm a bit of a bad person. But ever since RR Anderson made this post back in February, I've had this desire to... alter it. At the time I had no means, without Photoshop or related tools. But for an upcoming project I needed something, so I finally downloaded and started playing with Gimp. Newly inspired, I hunted the image back down, and spawned something unholy...




That is all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Walkable Tacoma: Dan Burden

Dan Burden, in case you didn't gather from the eleventy billion posts on feed>>tacoma yesterday, is the founder of a consulting firm called Walkable Communities. The city of Tacoma brought him in for a couple days to look around, and give a talk this evening at UWT. I'll be writing in more detail on some of his points and my own thoughts over the next couple days, but I thought I'd do a quick summary of the event tonight.

(I forgot to bring a bad of paper, so I have in front of me a few sloppily-written notes on the backs of crumpled receipts. Yay me.)

Interestingly enough, the message that permeated the lecture was very similar to the message espoused by Kunstler (from what I gather... I wasn't at that one). There is so much emphasis on making driving easier in our communities that we are losing site of actual sustainable design. Transportation authorities have had a tendency to look at traffic congestion and assume that the problem is too few lanes, when it's actually too many cars. Even those who see that the key is too many cars tend to jump to long-range transport solutions, which still misses the point. It is much better in the long run to build a community where the car is used less because it is needed less.

One thing that I found interesting about Burden's approach is that at no point does he preach the elimination of the car. In fact he speaks very little about mass transit. Instead he focuses on the coexistence of cars and pedestrians. Traffic solutions like roundabouts and networked through streets that allow for higher vehicle capacity at lower speeds, narrower lanes that allow for buffer zones.

It all, to me, seemed to come down to two major factors. Make it sensible and make it appealing. Making it sensible means designing communities based primarily on mixed use areas and small property houses so that we physically can walk from place to place (based on a 5 minute radius, which is about what people are comfortable walking. . I know that my 30 minute = normal walking distance is a bit off the norm). Not only do things need to be nearby, but they need to be connected, which means the elimination of the cul-de-sac culture.

Making it appealing comes in from both an aesthetic and a safety angle. People need to want to make the trip, based on the look of the neighborhood, how comfortable the feel about the sidewalks, the crosswalks, everything. People feel comfortable inside their cars, because it's their own little world. So make the community their world.

The biggest difference between Burden and Kunstler, of course, is that Burden is a kindly-spoken man with a big bushy mustache, and Kustler is a crotchety angry bastard. Kunstler is great for getting a bunch of people who already agree with him fired up and ready to move... Burden strikes me more as someone who can actually convince people of things, because he can't be passed off as just a yelling lunatic by the other side.

Anyway, like I said, just a quick summary. More to come.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wright Park Fusion +1

As the weather gets nicer and Downstairs Man continues to be annoyed by any and all music goings-on, Mr. Fusion is starting to amp up the frequency of its outdoor practices. We headed out yesterday after work to the Sitting Tree in the Northwest corner (I don't have any pictures, but if you've ever seen it you probably know what I'm talking about), guitars and doumbek in hand.

Last week when we came out, we definitely caught the eye of a couple joggers, but nobody really stopped. So it was cool to see one woman stop and sit down in front of us to eat dinner. Even more fun was a couple who stopped by too watch a few minutes later. The gentleman asked to look at the drum, and then requested permission to jam along. He was actually a remarkably good drummer. He left us with the sage advice to "never stop playing, keep music close to your hearts." Wise words from a man who is 62 and has been drumming for 48 years.

I have a question, though. We were out there, in a public park, in full view, not far from a couple paths and an intersection. So why did every person who stopped ask permission to listen?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Frost Park: What Have We Accomplished?

I've been having a lot of fun at Frost Park these last couple months. It's a great chance to just get outdoors, especially as the weather gets nicer, and put some faces with all the names and blogs we see. I've heard a lot of interesting discussion about all the issues that people are writing on, seen new friends made, and seen the group grow and grow.

But the fact is that we started doing this with a purpose, and a hope of accomplishing something positive beyond just a networking opportunity. So have we? Well, first off, it all sprung out of word that a fence was to be erected around the area. So if we simply measure our success in terms of that, it's worth noting that the fence project has, in fact, been canceled. Not only was the county money set aside for the project pulled back, but it was actually repurposed directly to the Downtown Merchant's Group to offset potential losses during various upcoming street construction projects.

Does this really count as success, though? From what I gather, this move has little to do with our get-togethers, and much more to do with the county getting tired of waiting for the city to use requisitioned funds (similar action is pending on a couple other projects that have just been rolling over in the county's annual budget waiting for the city to get its act together). I'll grant the possibility that knowing there was a group out there that was against the fence may have contributed to either the city's never-ending discussion on the project or the county's eventual decision to repurpose the money, but I agree with what Councilman Farrel said, both in his first spiel at us and in our conversation a couple weeks ago: as far as "Taking back the park" and avoiding something like the fence altogether, it will take more than one lunch a week. It doesn't matter how many people we get down there any given Friday, if it's all focused then and doesn't spread to other days/times.

To me, the biggest thing we've achieved is along a different line altogether; not in the occupation of the park but in the new life that has sprung from it: the chalk-offs. Yeah, some people will still call that graffiti, and no, we're not combating crime or feeding the homeless or anything, but there is still a positive step being taken. Andrea summed it up best for me:
I'm not from around here, and I've spent most of my time hunkered down in my cave. It's encouraging to find out just how committed this community is to creative expression.
It really is awesome to see this outpouring of support for spontaneous community art. Better and better artists have taken up arms, in turn bringing out the best in the others (RR's work, for example, has stepped up drastically from his first piece to the most recent one, as he realized that there was actual competition). People who are convinced that they can't draw are doing so anyway. Even little kids are scribbling around. It's great, and it's the kind of cultural phenomenon that this city could use a lot more of. We've clearly got the right kind of people to be an art culture, we just need to start getting them in the same places more.

I know that, as the person who says "we need more of this" I become assigned to cause it. And I will if I think of something. But everyone else ought to, as well.

(P.S. wasn't able to whip it out today, but pending weather next week there will probably start being live music, too)

Walkable Tacoma: Business District Walkability

After reading about the community walkability lecture happening at UWT on Monday, I got to thinking about what does make an area walkable, and how well we're doing at it. While he says it to be a "generally flippant dude" (a cause I can get firmly behind), Mr. Driscoll brings up a valid point: in a car-based culture, it is easy for those with cars to ignore what makes an area walkable.

To me, there are two major flavors of walkability. The first is Business Disctrict Walkability, which I will abbreviate to BDW because I'm sick of typing walkability. BDW is part of what Erik is talking about in his Spew comment: the proximity of different destinations within an area. While some of these could be residential condos, that's not the core issue of BDW. The intent here is not necessarily to mean that people can walk to the businesses, but rather that once they are in the area they can navigate it entirely on foot.

Let's look at the example of downtown Tacoma vs. the Tacoma Mall. The mall is winning, primarily because of a greater BDW. It's not that people can walk to the mall... the majority of Tacoma would have to drive to either, and this will still be the case no matter how many condo projects go up in either place. The issue is that once at the mall, people can park once, walk down, walk back, and be done shopping for the day. Everything's packed in and can easily absorb business from neighbors. Yes, this makes for the "anonymous shopping experience" that I've heard people complaining about, but there is a balance to be struck between a personal experience and a convenient one, and most people will tend toward the convenient.

Then we have downtown. There's minimal issue with the physical ability to walk the area: sidewalks abound, with a few notable exceptions (such as outside the Luzon and Park Plaza South). The issue here is business density. I've already ranted about this an awful lot, so I won't get into it too much, but the short version is: somebody comes down to the Rock to get a pizza, they see a cool little CD store next door. Maybe they buy something at Buzzard's, and then... they see nothing else of interest and go home. Someone else goes to urbanXchange because they heard about it from a friend. They see a couple restaurants, maybe they go to the Harmon, maybe they continue down the street until... big huge retail gap. Even if they do make it past that to Grassis, and even to the corner where they see Tacoma Art Supply, where do they go from there?

The Link was, I think, designed to combat this. As has been pointed out time and again, it doesn't really get people anywhere. Its main practical purposes are 1) getting people from T-Dome parking to Tacoma's attempt at an IFSA and 2) covering the major retail gaps of downtown. And is it working? Doesn't seem so, and there are two major reasons why: first off, even in the little retail pockets that we do have, there isn't all that much. But even if the parking garage renovations lead to an actual retail cluster there, believing that free public transit will get people from Freighthouse Square to the Museum District to the Theatre District on a whim assumes that the main reason people don't do that is laziness, which is a very faulty assumption. I walk an awful lot, and have no problem covering the span of the Link on foot. But I certainly wouldn't do it on a whim if I didn't know what waited for me on the other end. The success of any mall or shopping center, or the University district in Seattle (what I'd really like our downtown to be like) is visibility and connectivity. People don't just walk to the store down the street because it's close. They walk there because they see it from where they are and it catches their eye. And to get there they are forced to walk past every other business on the strip. Even if someone does hop on the link to get from, say, Freighthouse to Sanford & Son, any interesting place they spot along the way requires a backtrack. People are more likely to walk into a new business if they are standing right at the door when they see it.

Obviously the perfect solution is for all the clusters of business to expand until they collide, and maybe in 10 years that will happen. But first we need small businesses to actually survive long enough to be expanded upon. I have high hopes for the possibilities of having the North have of UWT on Pacific filled in (theoretically the next project after they finish the new common area) and the retail renovation of the south Park Plaza. Hopefully once Tacoma gets done worrying about Russel and DaVita, whichever way they both swing, we can start actually encouraging the small businesses that can really make an area like that flourish.