City Council committee OKs proposed Weyerhaeuser Park along Thea Foss Waterway

A Tacoma City Council committee has approved a nomination to name a waterfront park along Thea Foss Waterway after the late George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. — a Tacoma civic booster and member of the Weyerhaeuser family.

Weyerhaeuser was born on Nov. 19, 1953, and raised in Lakewood. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and a master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before he joined the family’s eponymous, now-115-year-old timber company in 1978. Weyerhaeuser held a number of executive positions at the company until he retired in 2008. He died following a heart attack on April 14, 2013, while aboard his boat on Thea Foss Waterway in Tacoma. He was 59 years old.

Weyerhaeuser was also a long-time Tacoma supporter to who advocated for a number of waterfront projects.

A waterfront park located along Thea Foss Waterway could soon be named after Tacoma civic booster George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. (IMAGE COURTESY BCRA / CITY OF TACOMA)

A waterfront park located along Thea Foss Waterway could soon be named after Tacoma civic booster George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. (IMAGE COURTESY BCRA / CITY OF TACOMA)

“George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. genuinely loved the downtown waterfront and was devoted to its improvement for the betterment of the city and its citizen,” wrote FWDA Executive Director Su Dowie in an Oct. 27, 2014, letter to Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission nominating to name the park in honor of Weyerhaeuser. “His spirit will always be with us, and so should his name.

“George’s quiet leadership built marinas, the public esplanade, a park, and two museums, and established an active environmental stewardship program for the waterfront,” added Dowie. “The waterway we have today is a direct result of George’s dedication and many, many hours of volunteer work and philanthropy.”

According to documents prepared by City staff, the park is currently unnamed and consists of three parcels on either side of the State Route 509 bridge — 1955 Dock St., 2101 Dock St., and 2119 Dock St.. Two parcels — 2101 Dock St. and 2119 Dock St. — are owned by FWDA, and one parcel — 1955 Dock St. — is owned by the City of Tacoma. The park opened to the public in 2009. It is the former site of a butter tub factory, according to City staff, which became Harmon cabinets and later burned to the ground in the early-1990s.

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission reviewed the nomination in December (see “Foss Waterway park could be named to honor Tacoma booster George Weyerhaeuser Jr.,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 7, 2014) and held a public hearing in January (see “Public hearing scheduled for proposed Weyerhaeuser park along Thea Foss Waterway,” Tacoma Daily Index, Jan. 26, 2015). A public comment period remained open for 30 days following the hearing.

Between September 2014 and February 2015, the FWDA and the Landmarks Preservation Commission received more than a dozen letters supporting the nomination from individuals and organizations such as the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport, Port of Tacoma, Dome District Development Group, and the Tacoma Waterfront Association (see “Letters to Tacoma City Hall support Weyerhaeuser Park along Thea Foss Waterway,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 6, 2015).

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission approved the nomination during a public meeting in March (see “Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission OKs proposed Weyerhaeuser Park along Thea Foss Waterway,” Tacoma Daily Index, March 20, 2015). Tacoma City Council’s Neighborhoods and Housing Committee formally recommended approving the park name during a public meeting on Monday at Tacoma City Hall. A final decision to name the park is expected to be made by the full council later this year.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the proposed George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. Park along Thea Foss Waterway, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and author of A Reporter At Large and Wah Mee. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.