A waterfront park located along Thea Foss Waterway could soon be named after a Tacoma civic booster and late member of the Weyerhaeuser family.
George H. Weyerhaeuser, Jr. 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-114-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.”
According to the nomination, Weyerhaeuser co-founded the Museum of Glass and served on the museum’s board between 1999 until his death. He also served on the FWDA board of directors between 1999 — including board president between 2001 and 2004 — until his death.
“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 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 five years ago.
Museum of Glass, Tacoma Dome District, Foss Waterway Seaport, Tacoma Waterfront Association, and Tacoma Art Museum representatives have written letters supporting the plan.
“This is a fitting tribute given George’s long tenure on your board and his advocacy for all things related to the waterfront and maritime industry in Tacoma,” co-wrote Tacoma Art Museum Executive Director Stephanie A. Stebich and Tacoma Art Museum Board President Steve Barger in a Oct. 21 letter to Dowie. “He was known for his love of boating and all things that enhanced the growth of the waterfront in his hometown of Tacoma.”
Tacoma’s Landmarks Preservation Commission is scheduled to review the nomination during a public meeting on Weds., Nov. 12, 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. During the meeting, the commission could opt to schedule a public hearing at a later date to receive additional comments on the nomination. The commission and Tacoma City Council still need to approve the nomination before the park is officially named.
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. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.