By Clare Jensen
For Tacoma Weekly
Published on: January 22, 2009
Tribe and neighbors united to restore First Creek
Puyallup Tribal Council approved a resolution Jan. 12 stating that they are officially on board with work the East Side community began last year.
Local residents began to retake the area now commonly referred to as First Creek that has been plagued with trash, blight and unwanted activity for years.
The historic creek, which was the first creek geographically to link to the Puyallup River as well as a prosperous fishing site and location of former tribal village, started getting the attention of locals as neighbors became frustrated with the excessive trash and seedy behavior that coincided with it.
Last summer, the groups worked with the city of Tacoma’s “Clean and Safe Initiative” to remove approximately 80 tons of trash from the creek.
In November, Tacoma City Council approved a stewardship plan backing the community’s existing efforts to reclaim and transform the area. And now with the Puyallup Tribe formally on board as well, players feel confident that their mission is attainable.
The tribe agreed that it would work collaboratively with the city on a community stewardship plan that will clean up and assess the development of the historic area.
“It’s not that it takes an act of tribal or city council to make this stuff happen,” said Alisa O’Hanlon, government relations coordinator for the city. “This stuff is happening already (in the community) and both the governing bodies have said, ‘We’re right behind you.’”
O’Hanlon noted that the city and the tribe plan to bring forth any and all resources available to fulfill the vision for the area, which includes improving safety, reducing blight, addressing environmental concerns and creating a green space out of the creek that the East Side can be proud of.
“To know that things are happening and that both councils are fully supportive, it gives (neighbors in the area) confidence that they aren’t having to go on this journey all by themselves,” O’Hanlon said. “It’s very exciting to know that both councils… are committed to seeing this all the way through.”
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