The Daily Mash-Up

Wednesday, September 02, 2015 This Week's Paper
Stadium Bowl closed due to sinkholes

A recent assessment of three sinkholes that have appeared in Stadium Bowl has discovered failures in the underground drainage system, according to geotechnical engineers who investigated the sites this week.

As a result, Tacoma Public Schools has closed Stadium Bowl temporarily to all access and use for the safety of the public and student athletes. Additional engineering tests next week will determine whether a contractor can repair and fill the sinkhole areas in time for the first football game there Sept. 11 or whether the damage will require more extensive repairs and a longer closure.

Meanwhile, the district’s athletic director already has rescheduled football, girls soccer and other practices and community uses to other locations.

The district called in technical experts from GeoEngineers after a small depression appeared Aug. 21 on the football field on the 15-yard-line nearest Commencement Bay. The district closed the Stadium Bowl field that day as a precautionary measure, pending the more detailed technical investigation. Gates will remain locked. Signs announcing the field closure hang from the gates.

Earlier this week GeoEngineers reviewed Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) images, drainage maps and the long history of past damage and failures at Stadium Bowl since it opened in 1910 with seating for 32,000. In addition, the district hired a contractor this week to clean out debris from the sink holes – including one on the track and one near a catch basin – so GeoEngineers could examine exposed drain pipes.

The assessment indicated that the drainage system – a combination of the original 1910-era drain pipes and more modern drain pipes tied together – failed in multiple areas. Gravel and sand washed away through the drain pipes.

Next week, a team including the district, field turf company, engineers and a contractor will cut back the turf and probe additional areas where the GPR indicated potential anomalies.

To prepare in case the bowl will require an extended closure, the district’s athletic department has begun work on a district-wide master event schedule as if Stadium Bowl didn’t exist. That would require rescheduling and reprioritizing many events across the district.

Last November, an intense rainstorm combined with clogged storm drains uphill from Stadium Bowl caused massive flooding that covered the bowl, washed away dirt from the bowl hillside and spread dirt and debris all across the field. The bowl was closed for an extensive cleanup.

In 2008, ESPN ranked Stadium Bowl the 11th best stadium for football in the country.

The cover of this week's City Life section is dedicated to reunited Tacoma rockers, the Ronson Family Switchblade, the group that spawned the ever-popular F---ing Eagles more than a decade ago. During a related interview with singer-guitarist Owen Atkins, we had to get some skinny on the long-awaited follow-up to the Eagles' excellent “Midnight Sour” album, a disc that's show up in everything from Anthony Bourdain's “The Layover” to Sony's “Gran Turismo 5” video game - not too shabby for a local outfit with no major label behind it. 

But that came out six years ago. So where's our new tunes, man?

“The Eagles are slowly but surely putting together our next thing,” Atkins assured. “We've been incubating some songs, and we're piecing it together, and it'll be a good record; but it's not ready for prime time yet.”

He was a little more revealing, though, about the origins of his band's name which has long assumed to be a reference to “The Big Lebowski” - you know, that scene when the Dude (Jeff Bridges) makes the mistake of dissing his cabbie's taste in classic rock tunes.

Atkins said the name actually predates the Coen Brothers cult classic. He credits Seaweed band mate Wade Neal with coming up with the moniker, based on a scenario he imagined going down at guitar hero Joe Walsh's family reunion. Click the sound bite below for details. It's not particularly raunchy, but it is NSFW because of the name and all. 

Dog Gone Run Precedes Annual Stewart Heights Pooch Pool Party

Metro Parks’ First Race Especially for Canines and Owners Kicks Off at 8 a.m. Sept. 12

The dogs won’t be wearing numbers, but they could win the timed, 2-mile race Sept. 12 at Metro Parks Tacoma’s Stewart Heights Park, 402 E. 56th St.

The 8 a.m. Dog Gone Run is the first Metro Parks event specifically designed for dog owners who love to run or walk with their pets. It’s paired with a special racer-only pool party for participating canines.

“We’ve had dogs at our runs, but not runs for dogs,” said Ralph Thomas, Metro Parks fitness and sports coordinator. “Pooch pool parties have been very popular. We’re just trying to add to that.”

This is the seventh year that Metro Parks has hosted an end-of-season Pooch Pool Party at its Stewart Heights pool. Before the pool is drained and cleaned for the winter, Metro Parks invites dog owners to release their dogs into the water for as much as 1 ½ hours of swimming and splashing. Depending on the weather, between 275 and 325 dogs have jumped in annually, said Jim Biles, senior recreation aquatics supervisor.

All dogs must be leashed for the run or walk. There’s no limit on the number of canines allowed for the Dog Gone Run. But no more than 120 dogs may be in the pool at one time, with a maximum of two dogs per owner. The hourlong, racer-only pool party starts at 8:30 a.m., immediately after the Dog Gone Run.

If your dog doesn’t like water, you can limit your registration to the run or walk. Everyone is invited to take part in the Dog Gone Run, regardless of whether you are accompanied by a pet.

To comply with health regulations, only dogs will be allowed in the pool.

Tacoma Police Department Invites the Community to Dialogue

The Tacoma Police Department and City Manager’s Office are launching an effort to strengthen community engagement and build trust, relationships and understanding between Tacoma residents and police officers.

Project PEACE (Partnering for Equity and Community Engagement) will kick off with the first of five community meetings on Sept. 3 at the Peace Community Center (2106 Cushman Ave.). The community meetings will be co-hosted by the City and community leaders from September through October and will conclude with a culminating event on Nov. 9 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.

“We are excited to partner with community leaders to invite residents to conversations about how we can improve and strengthen our relationships with our community,” Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell said. “We are committed to building strong and resilient community relationships.”

Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and the facilitated conversations will be from 5 to 8:45 p.m. for community members and police officers to dialogue about police relations and brainstorm ways to improve relationships. The locations where the community conversations will take place are:

• Sept. 3 Peace Community Center (2106 Cushman Ave.)
• Sept. 14 Asia Pacific Cultural Center (4851 S. Tacoma Way)
• Oct. 05 Lincoln High School Cafeteria (701 S. 37th St.)
• Oct. 21 University of Puget Sound Wheelock Student Center (1500 N. Warner St.)
• Oct. 29 Centre at Norpoint Cascade Hall (4818 Nassau Ave. NE)
• Nov. 09 Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (1500 Broadway) – Culminating Event

All events are open to the public and free to attend. Light refreshments and activities for children will be provided.

For more information, or to register to attend one or more of the events, visit

Young disappointed after Council’s behavioral health study vote

Pierce County Councilmembers Derek Young and Connie Ladenburg had proposed a resolution directing the Performance Audit Committee to conduct a thorough, countywide evaluation of behavioral health services. However, Council Resolution R2015-91 was not adopted at the Tuesday, Aug. 25, council meeting, prompting Young to voice his disappointment.

“The behavioral health inventory would have identified where service gaps exist, what their impact on county services are, where investments should be made and what success should look like – all at no additional cost to taxpayers. I’m disappointed that we continue to fail the citizens we represent, who want us to do something to prevent people from further suffering.

“We’ve heard testimony from the public, the Sheriff’s Department, the Pierce County Jail, judges and from the health care providers who are doing their best to handle the crisis. This is an unfortunate turn of events, but I refuse to accept ‘no’ as the final answer. We’ll just have to try to find other ways to address this issue.

“Though the Council continues refusing to accept responsibility for dealing with behavioral health in our county, I don’t believe that this is the end of our effort to provide relief to our most vulnerable citizens.”

Tacoma Arts Month University Dental