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Tacoma: Economy

Tacoma: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Named one of "America's Most Livable Communities" in 2004 by national nonprofit organization Partners for Livable Communities, Tacoma has attracted companies of all sizes. In recent years, more than a hundred high-technology businesses have relocated, opened, or expanded in the area. It is home to the seventh busiest container handling port in the United States; these containers handle imports ranging from sporting goods to VCRs, and exports ranging from lumber to apples. Other major cargoes handled by the port include forest products, grain, and automobiles. A major gateway port for international trade, the Port of Tacoma covers more than 2,400 acres of land. Port activities generate more than 28,000 jobs and $477 million in wages in Pierce County.

The rapidly growing high-technology sector adds to a diverse economy strong in agricultural and forest products, manufacturing, health care, financial and professional services, and the military, with McChord U.S. Air Force Base and Fort Lewis Army Post located in Pierce County. Significant work in satellite imaging, automated fingerprint and radio frequency identification systems, and Internet and computer services continues because of multiple broadband telecommunications systems, including the city's fiber-optic Click! Network, launched in November 1998. Over the past several years, the City of Tacoma, along with investors from the private sector, have spent $300 million on the city's telecommunications infrastructure through Click! Network, which continues expansion with new construction and additional services for customers.

Tacoma is an important center for agricultural and forest products. The first business established in Tacoma was a saw mill; Tacoma's economy is still heavily involved with timber. Regional enterprises produce more flower bulbs than the Netherlands, as well as crops, such as berries and rhubarb, which require heavy seasonal employment. Tourism is also important to Tacoma's economy. Visitors are attracted to the waters of Commencement Bay and the state and national parks surrounding Tacoma.

Items and goods produced: lumber products, pulp, paper, clothing, chemicals, furniture, flour, furnaces, railroad car wheels, candy, food products, meat and fish

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The City of Tacoma offers a variety of business loan programs, tax credits for new job creation, industrial revenue bonds, sales and use tax exemption on machinery and equipment, a variety of housing-related programs, financial incentives for historic properties, and others.

State programs

Part of Tacoma is a designated state Empowerment Zone; employers locating within this area and who meet certain hiring requirements are eligible for tax credits, special financing, and contracting programs. Other state programs available to businesses in Tacoma include tax deferral programs and business and occupation tax credits to businesses operating in distressed areas, high technology businesses, international services businesses, and manufacturers meeting program requirements.

Job training programs

In addition to job training programs at the area educational institutions, several other training programs exist, including the City of Tacoma Local Apprenticeship and Training Programs (LEAP), which offers apprenticeship programs, training, and opportunities to work on city public works projects. Pierce County WorkSource offers training programs and workshops for residents seeking jobs.

Development Projects

As the 21st century gets underway, new and renewal projects abound in Tacoma. A new pedestrian bridge connects the new $63 million Museum of Glass to the esteemed Washington State Historical Museum. Next door is the new Tacoma Art Museum, which opened in 2003 in a space twice the size as it previously inhabited. Its old location was bought and renovated by the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. Across the Thea Foss Waterway, a $15 million Pioneer Museum of Motorcycles recently opened. The $89.7 million convention center, anchored in the heart of downtown Tacoma opened in 2004. Also in 2004 ground was broken on a much-needed new police headquarters. Newly operational light rail lines now stretch all the way to Seattle. Plans are currently underway for the new Harold E. LeMay Classic Car Museum, to be located on 9 acres next to the Tacoma Dome and slated for opening in 2008.

In 2002 the state legislature approved funding for the construction of a second bridge span across the Tacoma Narrows. The new bridge, which will be built parallel to the existing bridge, is expected to be completed in March 2007. Team Tacoma, a local development group, is planning a $25 million project along the waterway that includes condominiums, parking areas, and a mix of commercial and retail spaces. The Tacoma campus of the University of Washington recently dedicated two new buildings, while students at the University of Puget Sound are getting a new, 184-resident dormitory.

Economic Development Information: Tacoma Pierce County, 1001 Pacific Avenue, Suite 400, Tacoma, WA 98402; telephone (253)627-2836; fax (253)627-8783. Tacoma Economic Development Department, 747 Market Street, 9th Floor, Tacoma, WA 98402; telephone (253)591-5364; fax (253)591-5232; email director ryan.petty@ci.tacoma.wa.us

Commercial Shipping

The Port of Tacoma is the sixth largest container port in North America, and one of the country's primary gateways for trade with Japan, China, Taiwan, and Thailand. Tacoma is also strongly tied to Alaska's economy, with the port handling more than 75 percent of all waterborne commerce going from the Lower 48 to Alaska. A new 171-acre mega-container terminal opened in January 2005, part of a $34.1 million plan to meet the needs of the Port's existing customers and to attract additional customers.

The city is also an important rail shipping hub and is served by two major transcontinental railroads: Burlington North-ernSanta Fe and Union Pacific. These two railroads link Tacoma to major markets in the Midwest and East Coast. Rail is also used to move a variety of export commodities through Tacomaeverything from Midwest corn to John Deere tractors. More than 200 trucking companies work to move goods through the city, and major air freight carriers serve Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, located about 30 minutes from Tacoma.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

Tacoma draws from a stable work force of skilled and unskilled workers that has steadily attracted new business and industry. Local firms can rely on more than one million workers who live within an hour's commute of the city. Tacoma-Pierce County has experienced an extensive history of mature labor relations. Employment opportunities are said by local analysts to be on the increase. Civic and business leaders continue to predict a prosperous future for the city, based on its economic diversity and availability of abundant natural resources.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Tacoma labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 254,500

Number of workers employed in . . .

mining: 400

construction: 8,500

manufacturing: 19,500

trade, transportation, and utilities: 49,100

information: 3,100

financial activities: 13,800

professional and business services: 22,100

education and health services: 37,700

leisure and hospitality: 24,900

other services: 1,700

government: 53,400

Average hourly earnings of production workers employed in manufacturing: $18.27 (2004 annual statewide average)

Unemployment rate: 6.6% (January 2005)

Largest employers Number of employees
Fort Lewis Army Post 31,450
McChord Air Force Base 8,368
Washington State 7,857
Multicare Health System 3,748
Tacoma Public Schools 3,590
Franciscan Health System 3,521
Pierce County Government 3,173

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors in the Tacoma area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average House Price: $255,772

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 106.2 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: None

State sales tax rate: 6.5% (food and prescription drugs are exempt)

Local income tax rate: None

Local sales tax rate: 8.4 to 8.8%

Property tax rate: $3.23 per $1,000 assessed value (2004; assessed yearly)

Economic Information: Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, 950 Pacific Avenue, Suite 300, PO Box 1933, Tacoma, WA 98401; telephone (253)627-2175; fax (206)597-7305

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Tacoma: Recreation

Tacoma: Recreation

Sightseeing

Tacoma offers the sightseer a variety of diversions. The city is bordered by miles of waterfront parks and beaches. One of several parks located in the city is the 702-acre Point Defiance Park, which includes miles of walking trails through the wilderness and along the waterfront. In 2005 the park celebrates its 100-year anniversary, highlighted by special events throughout the year. Its zoo includes animals native to the Puget Sound area; it is also known for its excellent aquarium. Other attractions within Point Defiance Park include Fort Nisqually, a restored trading post; Camp Six, a re-creation of a logging camp; and Never Never Land, a forested area that once was populated with fairy tale scenes but since 2004 has been refurbished for parties and other gatherings. The city's first off-leash dog park is located at Rogers Park. The Narrows Bridge, spanning the Sound between Tacoma and the Gig Harbor Peninsula, is the fifth longest suspension bridge in the United States.

Wright Park downtown offers lawn bowling and horseshoe pitching; it is also the site of the Seymour Botanical Conservatory. In 2004 park officials decided to enhance park facilities, including expansion of the Conservatory. Other points of interest are Union Station and the Old City Hall, built in the style of the Italian Renaissance; both are National Historic Landmarks.

A little more than an hour from Tacoma is Mt. Rainier National Park, which provides a closer view of the mountain that dominates the city's landscape. More than 300 miles of trails in the park provide plenty of opportunity for hiking and exploring. Climbing courses and skiing instruction are available. Plans are currently underway at the park to prepare an Intelligent Transportation System to enhance visitors' experience there, including web cameras showing traffic conditions, interactive websites, and toll-free numbers to obtain road, weather, and traffic conditions. Kopachuck State Park and Penrose Point State Park are also in the vicinity.

Arts and Culture

Tacoma has a vibrant arts community with excellent museums and professional theater and opera companies. Downtown Tacoma, which in recent years has been attempting to re-establish the theater district as the "heart of the city," has revitalized its Broadway Center for the Performing Arts. The Broadway Center, which includes the historic Pantages and Rialto theaters, as well as the Theatre on the Square, is home to many performances year-round. In addition, the University of Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran University offer ongoing performances from September through June.

In 2002 Tacoma became home to the new International Museum of Glass, featuring works of glass artists from throughout the world. Recognized glass artist Dale Chihuly is a Tacoma native. His work can be viewed in the historic Union Station on Pacific Avenue. The Tacoma Art Museum has a rich collection of American, European, and Asian art and offers stimulating rotating exhibits on an ongoing schedule. Its new facility opened in May 2003 and is twice the size of its previous location. The Antoine Predockdesigned building features a unique flexible exhibition area that wraps around an indoor, open-air stone garden.

The Washington State History Museum has the largest collection of Northwest artifacts in the state. Its interactive exhibits chronicle the natural, social, and industrial history of the Pacific Northwest. The Washington State Capitol Museum features exhibits that reflect regional Native American history.

Tacoma's anchor arts groups include the Northwest Sinfonietta, Tacoma Philharmonic, Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, Tacoma Actors Guild, Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma Little Theatre, Children's Museum of Tacoma, and Tacoma Youth Symphony. The Broadway Center offers touring productions September through June for families and general audiences. Often programs at the Broadway Center feature companion education activities for school children. Visitors to Tacoma can also enjoy a variety of public art. Highlights not to be missed include displayed public art projects on the Ruston Way waterfront and the literary, visual, and sound art forms at the walkway at Point Defiance. The University of Washington Tacoma campus is located in the middle of downtown Tacoma. A stroll through the campus takes the visitor past a variety of contemporary art created by some of Washington state's finest artists, including Buster Simpson, Dan Senn, and Dale Chihuly.

Festivals and Holidays

Tacoma's special events calendar is filled throughout the year. The Home and Garden Show, the Palmer/Wirfs Antique Show, and the Northwest Bridal Expo are held in January. The Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival takes place in February, followed by the Northwest Antique Show in March. The Annual Daffodil Festival and the Annual Spring Barrel Wine Tasting Tour are fun April events. The Sound to Narrows Race draws crowds annually in June. July in Tacoma is especially festive, with the Fourth of July Celebration in Old Town, the Tacoma Freedom Fair and Fireworks Display, and the Taste of Tacoma. Summer festivals continue with the Pierce County Fair, Downtown Farmers Market, and the Tall Ships Festival, which includes world-class sailing ships at the waterfront.

Fall brings the Western Washington Fair, Oktoberfest, the Puyallup Canine Fest, and the Holiday Food and Gift Festival. The year closes with the Victorian Country Christmas in December, followed by the Downtown Tacoma Tree Lighting Ceremony, and First Night Celebrations on New Year's Eve.

Sports for the Spectator

The Tacoma Rainiers, the Triple A farm team for professional baseball's American League Seattle Mariners, play baseball at Cheney Stadium. Both Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound field teams in major sports.

Sports for the Participant

In addition to the recreational opportunities provided by the Cascade Mountains and the 361 freshwater lakes in Pierce County, Tacoma operates four public golf courses and tennis courts are located in the public parks. The city also maintains a number of public beaches and piers for swimming and fishing.

Shopping and Dining

Boutiques and antique shops can be found at Tacoma's Old Town Historic District, the city's original business district. The downtown business district has shops, boutiques, and galleries. Freighthouse Square is a public market with restaurants, specialty shops, and special events. The Tacoma Mall, one of the largest in the Northwest, is considered "Pierce County's Premier Mall."

Tacoma is salmon country and the city is home to numerous seafood restaurants. Ruston Way, along the western side of the peninsula, is dotted with restaurants and is referred to as "Restaurant Row."

Visitor Information: Tacoma Economic Development Department, 747 Market Street, 9th Floor, Tacoma, WA 98402; telephone (253)591-5364; fax (253)591-5232. Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau, 1119 Pacific Avenue, 5th Floor, Tacoma, WA 98402; telephone (253)627-2836; toll-free (800)272-2662; fax (253)627-8783; email info@traveltacoma.com

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Tacoma: History

Tacoma: History

Slow Rise of Lumber Industry; Arrival of Settlers

The first people to live in the Puyallup Valley on the shore of Commencement Bay were the Nisqually and Puyallup Native American tribes. Captain George Vancouver was the first person of European descent to explore the area when, in 1792, he sailed his ship up Puget Sound and named Mt. Rainier for Peter Rainier, an officer in the British Navy. Commencement Bay was charted and named in 1841 by a member of the Charles Wilkes Expedition. Permanent European settlement was achieved in the region in 1852 when a Swedish immigrant, Nicholas De Lin, built a sawmill at the junction of two creeks and soon conducted a thriving lumber business.

Settlers fled the area in 1855 after hearing rumors of native hostilities; they returned when the Commencement Bay tribe was relocated to a nearby reservation, leaving the area free for other settlers. General Morton Matthew McCarver, who named the settlement Tacoma, was responsible for promoting extensive development by buying tracts of land and bringing in other settlers.

When the Hanson & Ackerman Mill was built in 1869 by a group of San Francisco investors, Tacoma became established in the lumber industry. The mill started a boom, as laborers, artisans, and shopkeepers arrived with their families to settle in Tacoma; with a population of two hundred people, the town soon boasted mail service, electric lights, and a telegraph. In 1873 Tacoma was selected as the terminus for the Northern Pacific Railroad; construction was stopped 20 miles short of Tacoma, however, when an economic crash forced the railroad's investors to pull out of the project. The government recalled the workers, who insisted upon being paid thousands of dollars in back wages before they completed the line.

Railroad Assists Industrial Development

The railroad increased Tacoma's industrial development. Coal mines were opened and Tacoma became the major coaling station on the Pacific Coast. The lumber industry expanded while new industries included a flour mill, a salmon cannery, and machine shops. The town continued to grow, and with a population of 4,400 residents, Tacoma was incorporated in 1884. During the following year a group of residents, who blamed Chinese workers for an employment recession that came with the completion of the railroad, formed the Law and Order League and forcibly deported the Chinese. The insurgents were tried in court but were later acquitted.

Transcontinental rail service to Tacoma was completed in 1887, bringing further development; the completion of the Stamford Pass Tunnel and the establishment of the Northern Pacific Railroad general offices in Tacoma gave an even greater boost to the lumber and coal industries. Record numbers of settlers arrived and the town flourished. Since Tacoma's economy was closely tied to the railroad industry, however, more than half of the city's banks closed when the Reading Railroad went bankrupt. The economy recovered to some degree with the creation of the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company in 1900. During World War I the shipping industry boomed, and the city profited from its proximity to Camp Lewis (later renamed Fort Lewis). Commencement Bay was declared an official U.S. Port of Entry in 1918.

Although the Great Depression of the 1930s brought hard times to Tacoma, World War II stimulated industrial growth and prosperity because of the city's location near Fort Lewis and McChord U.S. Air Force Base. Since then Tacoma has maintained its economic stability. During the 1950s Tacoma underwent extensive city planning. Voters adopted a progressive council-manager form of government, and massive renovation of the city's infrastructure was implemented. As the new century gets underway and the city's population increases, Tacoma continues to attract new industries while balancing environmental and quality-of-life concerns.

Historical Information: Washington State History Museum, 1911 Pacific Avenue, Tacoma, WA 98402; telephone (253)272-3500; email web@wshs.wa.gov

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Tacoma: Education and Research

Tacoma: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

Tacoma School District #10, the third largest system in the state, is administered by a five-member, nonpartisan school board that selects the superintendent.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Tacoma public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 32,258

Number of facilities

elementary schools: 36

middle schools: 11

senior high schools: 7

Student/teacher ratio: 22.7:1

Teacher salaries

minimum: $32,154

maximum: $64,258

Many private and parochial schools in Tacoma offer alternative and religious curricula.

Public Schools Information: Tacoma Public Schools, Central Administration, 601 S. 8th St., PO Box 1357, Tacoma, WA 98401-1357; telephone (253)571-1000

Colleges and Universities

Tacoma is home to numerous universities and colleges. Pacific Lutheran University and the University of Puget Sound, both private, grant baccalaureate and advanced degrees in such fields as business, music, and law. University of Puget Sound is considered integral to the area's economy. Tacoma Community College and Pierce College provide occupational training and college preparatory curricula. Also located in the area is the University of Washington-Tacoma, where enrollment is expected to reach 6,000 students by 2007. Private technical institutes include Clover Park, Bates, and Business Computer Training Institute.

Libraries and Research Centers

Tacoma is served by two public library systems. The Tacoma Public Library, with a downtown facility housed in a renovated 1903 Carnegie Library building plus nine branches, maintains holdings of more than 1.18 million items including books, 2,210 periodical subscriptions, plus records, slides, tapes, films, maps, and art reproductions. Special collections include city archives and World War I books and posters; the library is a depository for federal and state government documents. The Pierce County Library System operates 17 branches in addition to its downtown location; holdings consist of more than 1.1 million volumes. Several specialized libraries in the city are affiliated with government agencies, universities, corporations, churches, and a local newspaper.

Research activities in such fields as invertebrate zoology, herpetology, and ornithology are conducted at the University of Puget Sound's James R. Slater Museum of Natural History in Tacoma.

Public Library Information: Tacoma Public Library, 1102 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98402-2098; telephone (253)591-5666. Pierce County Library System, 3005 112th Street East, Tacoma, WA 98446; telephone (253)536-6500

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Tacoma: Population Profile

Tacoma: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Residents (PMSA)

1980: 486,000

1990: 586,203

2000: 700,820

Percent change, 19902000: 19.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 18th (CMSA; includes Seattle)

U.S. rank in 1990: 14th (CMSA; includes Seattle)

U.S. rank in 2000: 13th (CMSA; includes Seattle)

City Residents

1980: 158,501

1990: 176,664

2000: 193,556

2003 estimate: 196,790

Percent change, 19902000: 9.1%

U.S. rank in 1980: 97th

U.S. rank in 1990: 95th

U.S. rank in 2000: 114th

Density: 3,864.9 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 133,704

Black or African American: 21,757

American Indian or Alaskan Native: 3,794

Asian: 14,656

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 1,798

Hispanic origin (may be of any race): 13,262

Other: 5,695

Percent of residents born in state: 48.6% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 13,593

Population 5 to 9 years old: 14,026

Population 10 to 14 years old: 14,160

Population 15 to 19 years old: 14,075

Population 20 to 24 years old: 14,212

Population 25 to 34 years old: 29,891

Population 35 to 44 years old: 31,261

Population 45 to 54 years old: 24,971

Population 55 to 59 years old: 8,214

Population 60 to 64 years old: 6,159

Population 65 to 74 years old: 10,428

Population 75 to 84 years old: 8,800

Population 85 years and over: 3,766

Median age: 33.9 years

Births (2002, Pierce County)

Total number: 10,001

Deaths (2002, Pierce County)

Total number: 5,430 (of which, 63 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $19,130

Median household income: $37,879

Total households: 76,127

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 8,354

$10,000 to $14,999: 5,488

$15,000 to $24,999: 10,167

$25,000 to $34,999: 10,901

$35,000 to $49,999: 13,937

$50,000 to $74,999: 14,766

$75,000 to $99,999: 6,804

$100,000 to $149,999: 4,047

$150,000 to 199,999: 829

$200,000 or more: 834

Percent of families below poverty level: 11.4% (49.3% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 20,182

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Tacoma: Transportation

Tacoma: Transportation

Approaching the City

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (Sea-Tac) is a modern facility with an underground monorail. The airport is located 18 miles north of the city. The airport is currently being upgraded with a new runway that will enable aircraft to land in any weather condition.

The primary north-south motor route to Tacoma is Interstate 5, which runs between Canada and Mexico. East-west access is provided by S.R. 16.

Amtrak furnishes rail service into Tacoma with several trains each day. An extensive ferry system serves Puget Sound.

Traveling in the City

Tacoma occupies an irregular peninsula with its street pattern conforming roughly to a grid within those constraints. The principle north-south arteries are Pacific Avenue, North Pearl, and Ruston Way, which runs along the eastern coast of the peninsula. The major east-west thoroughfares are Sixth Avenue and S.R. 16, which enters Tacoma across the Narrows Bridge. Interstate 5 bisects the city on a southwest to northeast axis.

Sound Transit offers its 37,000 daily riders several ways of getting around. ST Express buses run from Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and Lakewood to downtown Seattle and back. ST Express buses also run from Lakewood and Tacoma to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Sounder commuter trains run some 80 miles on weekdays, connecting from Everett and Tacoma into Seattle and back. The Tacoma Link light rail trains began operating in August 2003 and have become a primary factor in the renaissance of downtown Tacoma. Construction is currently underway on a 14-mile Central Link light rail line, to begin carrying passengers in 2009. Future Sound Transit plans include adding more bus transit facilities and increasing the hours of operation for all services.

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Tacoma

Tacoma (təkō´mə), city (1990 pop. 176,664), seat of Pierce co., W Wash., on Commencement Bay and Puget Sound at the mouth of the Puyallup River; inc. 1884. It is a major seaport and railroad terminus and one of the chief industrial cities in the Northwest. Once known as the lumber capital of America, it is still an important center for forest-products industries, with a growing high-technology sector and diversified light and heavy manufacturing. There are also shipyards and many docks.

Points of interest include Point Defiance Park, containing a zoo, an aquarium, a Japanese garden, and a reconstruction of Fort Nisqually (1833); an arboretum; a number of art galleries; and the state historical society museum. Tacoma is the seat of the Univ. of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran Univ., and a campus of the Univ. of Washington. A project begun in the 1990s has gone far to rehabilitate the downtown waterfront and is highlighted by the dramatic Museum of Glass: International Center for Contemporary Art (2002). The Tacoma Art Museum (2003) and the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (2004) are also part of the project. A lilac festival is held annually in the city.

Tacoma is the gateway to Mt. Rainier National Park and many recreational areas. The Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge links the city with the Olympic Peninsula; it replaced "Galloping Gertie," which collapsed (1940) in a windstorm four months after it opened. McChord Air Force Base, Fort Lewis (a major army training center), and Camp Murray (the state national guard headquarters) are nearby.

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Tacoma: Convention Facilities

Tacoma: Convention Facilities

November 2004 marked the completion of a new downtown convention center. The 200,000-square-foot facility is adjacent to the 319-room Sheraton and the new 162-room Marriott Courtyard, which is scheduled for completion in 2005. The facility connects the Broadway Theater District with the rapidly developing cultural area anchored by the Washington State History Museum and the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

Meeting facilities are available at the 6.1-acre Tacoma Dome Entertainment Complex. The Dome, located near Commencement Bay in downtown Tacoma, contains a 30,000-square-foot Convention Hall with a seating capacity for 2,000 participants. The hall can be divided into six soundproof rooms, providing seminar space. The dome's arena can provide additional seating space for 3,000 persons. The Shanaman Sports Museum, which aims to preserve the area's sports heritage, is also located inside the Dome. Along with the arena, the Convention Hall offers 150,000 square feet of space. Banquet and meeting space are available at Saint Helens Convention Center, a historic landmark. Several other hotels and motels providing additional meeting space are located in the Tacoma area.

Convention Information: Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau, 1119 Pacific Avenue, 5th Floor, Tacoma, WA 98402; telephone (253)627-2836; toll-free (800)272-2662; fax (253) 627-8783; email info@travel tacoma.com

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Tacoma

Tacoma

Tacoma: Introduction
Tacoma: Geography and Climate
Tacoma: History
Tacoma: Population Profile
Tacoma: Municipal Government
Tacoma: Economy
Tacoma: Education and Research
Tacoma: Health Care
Tacoma: Recreation
Tacoma: Convention Facilities
Tacoma: Transportation
Tacoma: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1852 (incorporated, 1884)

Head Official: City Manager James L. Walton (since 2003)

City Population

1980: 158,501

1990: 176,664

2000: 193,556

2003 estimate: 196,790

Percent change, 19902000: 9.1%

U.S. rank in 1980: 97th

U.S. rank in 1990: 95th

U.S. rank in 2000: 114th

Metropolitan Area Population (PMSA)

1980: 486,000

1990: 586,203

2000: 700,820

Percent change, 19902000: 19.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 18th (CMSA; includes Seattle)

U.S. rank in 1990: 14th (CMSA; includes Seattle)

U.S. rank in 2000: 13th (CMSA; includes Seattle)

Area: 50 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 380 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 53.1° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 39.2 inches

Major Economic Sectors: Services, international trade, government, military, high technology

Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (January 2005)

Per Capita Income: $19,130 (2000)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 20,182

Major Colleges and Universities: Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, University of Washington in Tacoma

Daily Newspaper: The News Tribune

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Tacoma: Communications

Tacoma: Communications

Newspaper and Magazines

The major daily newspaper in Tacoma is The News Tribune. Other publications serving Tacoma include Tacoma Reporter and The Northwest Dispatch, serving the African American community, and The Ranger, for military personnel. Among other periodicals originating in Tacoma are Senior Scene, Northwest Guardian, and Pierce County Business Examiner.

Television and Radio

Four television stations are based in Tacoma; because of the city's proximity to Seattle, broadcasts from Seattle television stations are also received in the metropolitan area. More than 30 AM and FM radio stations serve Tacoma with music, news, and special interest programming.

Media Information: The News Tribune, 1950 South State Street, Tacoma, WA 98411; telephone (253)597-8742

Tacoma Online

City of Tacoma home page. Available www.cityoftacoma.org

The News Tribune. Available www.thenewstribune.com

Pierce County Library System. Available www.pcl.lib.wa.us

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce. Available www.tacomachamber.org

Tacoma-Pierce County Visitors and Convention Bureau. Available www.traveltacoma.org

Tacoma Public Library. Available www.tpl.lib.wa.us

Tacoma School District #10. Available www.tacoma.k12.wa.us

Selected Bibliography

Alexie, Sherman, Reservation Blues (New York: Warner Books, 1995)

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Tacoma: Introduction

Tacoma: Introduction

Tacoma's name is derived from the Native American word "Tahoma," meaning "Mother of the Waters," referring to the shadow of Mt. Rainier that looms over the city. Tacoma's beautiful natural setting affords views of the nearby Cascade Range and the more distant Olympic Mountains. Tacoma is home to a deep-water harbor, among the busiest in the United States, that has played an important role in the city's economic development. Nationally recognized for careful municipal planning, Tacoma has been nicknamed the "City of Destiny." In 2004 Partners for Livable Communities named the Tacoma and Pierce County area one of "America's Most Livable Communities."

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Tacoma: Geography and Climate

Tacoma: Geography and Climate

Situated on Commencement Bay, an inlet of Puget Sound, Tacoma lies at the foot of Mt. Rainier in the Puyallup River valley, bordered by mountains. It is about 36 miles south of Seattle. The climate is quite mild throughout the year. Although the area has the reputation of being rainy, Tacoma actually receives less rain than New York City. Most of the precipitation falls in the winter, when snow blankets the mountains.

Area: 50 square miles (2000)

Elevation: 380 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 40.8° F; July, 65.4° F; annual average: 53.1°

Average Annual Precipitation: 39.2 inches

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Tacoma: Health Care

Tacoma: Health Care

Tacoma's health care community has been nationally recognized in specialized areas, including cancer treatment, kidney dialysis, and burn care, as well as in cardiac care and pediatrics. The 320-bed St. Joseph Medical Center and 106-bed St. Clare Hospital are ranked among the nation's top hospitals. Among the ten hospitals located in Tacoma are two facilities for children, the Mary Bridge Children's Health Center and the Child Study and Treatment Center. Governmental agencies provide a number of programs that assist in substance abuse care, mental health, preventive medicine, and family planning.

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Tacoma: Municipal Government

Tacoma: Municipal Government

Tacoma's council-manager form of government provides for the election of nine city council membersa mayor, five members serving districts, and three at-large members. All serve four-year terms. The council hires a city manager.

Head Official: City Manager James L. Walton (since 2003)

Total Number of City Employees: 3505 (2005)

City Information: City Hall, 747 Market Street, Tacoma, WA 98402; telephone (253)591-5000

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