Tacoma's mayor raves about our fair city

And you can ask her questions throughout the year

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

Like a doting mother bragging on her favorite – or only child – Mayor Victoria Woodards raved about her city’s accomplishments at the 2019 State of the City address.

She was more than willing to share credit for work done and challenges faced. Her profiles of each of the City Council members – and their background and projects – was assuring.

And like the host of a family dinner, she minimized areas of difficulty – and like a good parent, boss or political leader gave the impression that these issues would be dealt with – quietly and in the proper setting.

Mayor Victoria Woodards Image courtesy City of Tacoma
Mayor Victoria Woodards
Image courtesy City of Tacoma

Tacoma, as the Mayor reminded us, has much to be proud of. Her slide show emphasized the nearly eternal sunny weather in and around Tacoma – and the equally eternally sunny economic climate. With glowing Mt. Rainier in the background over a bustling (and clean) Port, who could not be proud of such a productive, cooperative and yes, safe and clean community?

Tacoma, in 2018 and even more in 2019, in more ways than I could count, is a very different place than just a few years ago.

I was a bit surprised that she didn’t focus on the preponderance of building cranes across the city’s landscape – Tacoma is literally changing shape in front of our eyes day by day. Tacoma, for a variety of reasons, and in many ways, will be a very different place after Mayor Woodards than it was before.

With seven years on the City Council and about two more as mayor, Woodards knows all the players and processes. And with our tenth consecutive year of economic recovery from the Great Recession, and explosive real estate sales and evaluations across the Puget Sound, this is the time for Tacoma to establish itself as a city on its own terms – not a reflection of – or appendage to – Seattle.

The Tacoma our mayor promoted was a Tacoma emerging, a city defining and redefining itself. The unspoken message was that Tacoma is finally claiming its destiny, becoming a city of welcoming and progress, a city on a firm foundation and a city with many hands at work building a common, shared space, economy and yes, destiny.

Tacoma's identity - and destiny - is anchored in its history as much as it reaches for the future.           Photo: Morf Morford
Tacoma’s identity – and destiny – is anchored in its history as much as it reaches for the future. Photo: Morf Morford

The bulk of the mayor’s talk was about the city (you can see it here – https://www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=6538), but Mayor Woodards herself deserves recognition; Woodards currently serves as co-chair of the National League of Cities Council on Youth, Education, and Families, and was one of six mayors selected to participate in the National League of Cities Mayors’ Institute on Opioids.

She also holds positions on the Puget Sound Regional Council Executive Board, South Sound 911 Policy Board, Tacoma-Pierce County Economic Development Board, Pierce Transit Board, Sound Transit Board, Foundation for Tacoma Students Board, and the Workforce Central Board.

Woodards was one of just 40 mayors chosen to participate in the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Institute, whose mission is to inspire and strengthen city leaders and equip them with tools to lead high-performing, innovative cities. She is leveraging those tools and strategies to gather the community’s input on how police services could improve in Tacoma.

Before stepping into Tacoma politics, Woodards served as president of the Tacoma Urban League and director of community development for the Tacoma Rainiers. She also held leadership positions with the Tacoma Metropolitan Parks Board, the Washington State History Museum, and the Washington State Commission of African American Affairs.

In short, Tacoma is on the move. If you could bet on any city, I’d suggest betting on Tacoma.

One might get the feeling lately that Tacoma's Goddess of Commerce is on the move.  Photo: Morf Morford
One might get the feeling lately that Tacoma’s Goddess of Commerce is on the move. Photo: Morf Morford

If you have questions for our mayor or would like to hear from her directly, Tacoma’s City Club is hosting a dinner conversation time with Mayor Woodards April 10th – https://www.cityclubtacoma.org/copy-of-5-2-hands-off-chging-social.

Meet the Mayor in your neighborhood 

If you are interested in a far more casual opportunity to interact with the mayor, consider some of these upcoming opportunities – a healthy community is one where every voice is heard.

“Tacoma, along with the region that surrounds us, is changing rapidly,” said Mayor Woodards. “Connecting directly with our residents and businesses has always provided me with the level of perspective I need to make better policy decisions, and I look forward to implementing this new tool.”

The events will take place every month, and have been scheduled through the end of 2019. Events have been scheduled in each Council district, and offered at a variety of different days and times to allow for broader participation:

Saturday, April 13, 10-11 a.m., Red Elm Cafe (1114 Martin Luther King Jr. Way)

Friday, May 17. 8-9 a.m., Location TBD (Downtown Tacoma)

Wednesday, June 5, 10-11 a.m., Bella Latte (6450 Tacoma Mall Blvd.)

Thursday, July 18, 5–6 p.m., Bertolino’s (2421 S. Union Ave.)

Friday, Aug. 16, 9-10 a.m., Old Town Tacoma Anthem Coffee (2312 N. 30th St.)

Saturday, Sept. 14, 9–10 a.m., Location TBD (Northeast Tacoma)

Monday, Oct. 21, 6-7 p.m., Starbucks (3737 S. G St.)

Monday, Nov. 18, 6–7 p.m., Location TBD

Thursday, Dec. 5, 5-6 p.m., Antique Sandwich Co. (5102 N. Pearl St.)

More information about the City of Tacoma is available at cityoftacoma.org.

Tacoma's identity - and destiny - is anchored in its history as much as it reaches for the future.           Photo: Morf Morford

Tacoma’s identity – and destiny – is anchored in its history as much as it reaches for the future. Photo: Morf Morford