Public hearing scheduled for proposed Weyerhaeuser park along Thea Foss Waterway

A public hearing will be held this week regarding a proposal to name a waterfront park located along Thea Foss Waterway after the late George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. — a Tacoma civic booster and member of the Weyerhaeuser family (see “Foss Waterway park could be named to honor Tacoma booster George Weyerhaeuser Jr.,” Tacoma Daily Index, Nov. 7, 2014).

Weyerhaeuser was born on Nov. 19, 1953, and raised in Lakewood. 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 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. He held a number of executive positions at the company until he retired in 2008.

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

“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 Foss Waterway Development Authority (FWDA) Executive Director Su Dowie in a nomination 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.”

Museum of Glass, Tacoma Dome District, Foss Waterway Seaport, Tacoma Waterfront Association, and Tacoma Art Museum representatives have written letters supporting the plan.

According to documents prepared by City of Tacoma staff, the park is currently nameless and consists of three parcels on either side of the State Route 509 bridge — 1955 Dock Street, 2101 Dock Street, and 2119 Dock Street. Two parcels — 2101 Dock Street and 2119 Dock Street — are owned by FWDA, and one parcel — 1955 Dock Street — is owned by the City of Tacoma. The park opened to the public in 2009.

Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing regarding the nomination during a public meeting on Weds., Jan. 28, at 5:30 p.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building, located at 747 Market St., Room 248, in downtown Tacoma. Copies of the agenda and meeting materials are available online here.

The public comment period is expected to remain open for 30 days following the hearing on Wednesday. If you cannot attend the meeting but would like to comment on the proposal, you may do so by e-mail at landmarks@cityoftacoma.org; by regular mail at City of Tacoma Landmarks Preservation Commission, 747 Market St., Third, Floor, Tacoma, WA 98402; or by telephone at (253) 591-5200. The Landmarks Preservation Commission and Tacoma City Council still need to approve the nomination before the park is officially named.

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)

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