Winthrop resident Glenn Grigsby accepted the Safe Streets Superstar Award for Outstanding Block Leader or Strategic Partner during a breakfast ceremony this morning in South Tacoma.
Grigsby, two other individuals, and one community group were honored at Bethlehem Baptist Church on Portland Avenue during an event that also marked the organization’s 20th anniversary.
Safe Streets is a private, non-profit organization that unites neighbors against crime. The Superstars designation recognizes people who have shown exceptional selflessness and commitment in working to improve Tacoma and Pierce County.
The complete list of this year’s Superstars includes:
- Glenn Grigsby / Outstanding Block Leader or Strategic Partner;
- Park Avenue Neighborhood / Outstanding Block Group or Coalition;
- Julia Lay / Outstanding Youth;
- Officer Don Williams / Director’s Award.
Grigsby is the leader of the Olympus-Winthrop Guardians, a group comprised of residents from the Olympus and Winthrop hotels in downtown Tacoma. The group holds regular meetings involving residents, nearby businesses and law enforcement. It also conducts recurring neighborhood clean-ups.
The Tacoma Daily Index first profiled Grigsby as part of its ongoing series of interviews with Winthrop residents.
During that interview, Grigsby, 51, recalled his experience living in the 84-year-old, 12-story former historic hotel in downtown Tacoma for the past 15 years. He also spoke of his own personal transformation away from criminal activity and drug abuse to a sober life that is now rooted in neighborhood activism. To that end, Grigsby has tried to provide non-residents with a more nuanced understanding of a building that has a poor reputation (last week, a resident was charged with six counts of arson at the Winthrop). “The perception [of the Winthrop] is mostly negative,” said Grigsby. “I understand that. We do have some fools in here. There was a time I was a fool. I was probably the biggest fool in the building. But many of the people here are good people. We have some success stories that have come through here.”
During the ceremony, Safe Streets Executive Director Priscilla Lisicich recalled how a small group of nearly two-dozen people came up with the idea for Safe Streets. “We were not in a good place,” she said. “Our children were being recruited by gangs. It was a horrible time in our community. But people came in the thousands to respond to the call to action.”
According to Lisicich, more than 220,000 people have been involved with Safe Streets over the past two decades.
For more information about the 2009 Safe Streets Superstars, visit safest.org.
To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the Winthrop Hotel, click on the following links:
- A Building on the Brink: Add nuisance report, falling debris to Winthrop’s woes (Tacoma Daily Index, August 19, 2011)
- A Building on the Brink: A line-item look at Winthrop’s hefty deferred maintenance bill (Tacoma Daily Index, August 10, 2011)
- A Building on the Brink: Property report puts $15.7M price tag on Winthrop Hotel’s deferred maintenance (Tacoma Daily Index, August 9, 2011)
- Leaving The Winthrop (Tacoma Daily Index, August 17, 2010)
- 7-year prison sentence for Winthrop arsonist (Tacoma Daily Index, April 23, 2010)
- Accused Winthrop arsonist pleads guilty (Tacoma Daily Index, February 2, 2010)
- Year In Review: Winthrop Hotel (Tacoma Daily Index, December 29, 2009)
- Living On Edge: Inside the Winthrop arson investigation (Tacoma Daily Index, October 23, 2009)
- Winthrop resident accepts Safe Streets award (Tacoma Daily Index, September 16, 2009)
- Winthrop resident named Safe Streets Superstar (Tacoma Daily Index, September 10, 2009)
- Cleaning up a neighborhood, battling a building’s reputation (Tacoma Daily Index, August 25, 2009)
- Crime Stoppers offers $1,000 reward for Winthrop serial arsonist (Tacoma Daily Index, August 21, 2009)
- Historic hotel or housing? Tough economy shines realistic light on Winthrop development plan(Tacoma Daily Index, August 4, 2009)
- Winthrop history, development ideas equally storied (Tacoma Daily Index, June 4, 2009)
- Inside the Winthrop (Tacoma Daily Index, June 2, 2009)
- THA weighs Winthrop building purchase (Tacoma Daily Index, May 29, 2009)
- One dead in Winthrop Hotel fire (Tacoma Daily Index, March 25, 2008)
- Resolution would sell City-owned property for mixed-income housing (Tacoma Daily Index, October 29, 2007)
- Developer eyes City surplus property for Winthrop Hotel project (Tacoma Daily Index, September 26, 2007)
- Winthrop vote illuminates citys affordable housing concerns (Tacoma Daily Index, March 22, 2006)
- Council resolution on Winthrop rehab expected tonight (Tacoma Daily Index, March 21, 2006)
- Council may vote on whether it supports Winthrop rehabilitation plan (Tacoma Daily Index, March 20, 2006)
- Winthrop repairs mean no evacuations (Tacoma Daily Index, December 19, 2005)
In 2009, the Tacoma Daily Index published a series of interviews with many residents of the Winthrop Hotel. To read the complete series, click on the following links:
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Glenn Grigsby (Tacoma Daily Index, June 16, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Otha Adams (Tacoma Daily Index, June 26, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Nanette Colby (Tacoma Daily Index, July 15, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: John Heffler (Tacoma Daily Index, July 30, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: David Allen (Tacoma Daily Index, August 13, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: David Miller (Tacoma Daily Index, August 20, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Kerry Hudson (Tacoma Daily Index, August 27, 2009)
- A Voice From the Winthrop: Jessica Creso (Tacoma Daily Index, September 1, 2009)
Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index and recipient of an award for Outstanding Achievement in Media from the Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for his work covering historic preservation in Tacoma and Pierce County. He has earned four awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, including third-place honors for his feature article about the University of Washington’s Innocence Project; first-place honors for his feature article about Seattle’s bike messengers; third-place honors for his feature interview with Prison Legal News founder Paul Wright; and second-place honors for his feature article about whistle-blowers in Washington State. His work has also appeared in All About Jazz, City Arts Tacoma, Earshot Jazz, Homeland Security Today, Jazz Steps, Journal of the San Juans, Lynnwood-Mountlake Terrace Enterprise, Prison Legal News, Rain Taxi, Real Change, Seattle Business Monthly, Seattle magazine, Tablet, Washington CEO, Washington Law & Politics, and Washington Free Press. He is a graduate of the University of Washington and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.