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FREE s Friday, February 1, 2013 HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL A6 SUPER BOWL SUNDAY SONICS, SOUNDGARDEN COME BACK B5 B1 TACOMAWEEKLY 24 YE A R S O F SE R V I C E BE C A U S E CO M M U N I T Y MAT T E R S STATE ROUTE 167 BACKERS CONFIDENT FUNDING CAN BE SECURED By John Larson RENDERING COURTESY OF WSDOT CONNECTION. This image depicts how a completed State Route 167 would connect with State Route 509 in Tacoma. Supporters of the effort to complete State Route 167 are making a full-court press to secure funding for the project. There are various concepts for the design and length, but the full-scale concept favored by local leaders would have a price tag in the range of $1.5 billion. After years of discussion, they are confident that 2013 will be the year that the money will be lined up. “We need to have a good game plan.” – Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive Local business, political and labor leaders gathered at Fabulich Center on Jan. 28 to discuss strategy. U.S. Representative Denny Heck, who was elected last fall in Washington’s new 10th Congressional District, began the meeting with a message of optimism. He has met with about 20 members of the state House of Representatives and Senate. “There is very significant support in this area,” he said of members of the Pierce County X See SR-167 / page A10 WHAT’S RIGHT WITH TACOMA Working smarter for the data to fight homelessness PHOTO BY KATHLEEN MERRYMAN HOMELESS. PATH team members John Eckstrom and Jerry Burtts confer with Metropolitan Development Council counselor Lisa Thomas about care for a man who stumbled into the clinic. By Kathleen Merryman FILLING RUSSELL BUILDING WOULD HELP, NOT CURE, DOWNTOWN TROUBLES By Steve Dunkelberger T he high hopes of landing a corporate tenant for the former Russell Investment Group headquarters as a way to boost Tacoma’s downtown retail marketplace might be more wishful thinking than actual impact. But it is a start. “There’s not a lot of tenants looking around,” said Kidder Mathews Associate Vice President of Business Services Dominic Accetturo. “The deals that are being done are for lower rates.” The recent economic downturn hurt retailers everywhere, including those in downtown Tacoma. The loss of the Russell Investment workers two years ago further cut into the customer pool for downtown shops and restaurants. Filling the downtown office space would certainly help, but might not be the savior that many hope. “It would be a pretty big impact,” Accetturo said. “But what would really help retailers is more people living downtown. I think that is the key. It’s really hard to make enough between 11 and two, Monday through Friday.” But retailers and city boosters will take what they can get because occupied X See EMPTY SPACE / page A9 A new home A4 CITY ART: New additions to Municipal Art Collection. PAGE B2 PHOTOS BY STEVE DUNKELBERGER VACANCY. The former Russell Investment Group headquarters building in downtown Tacoma is under the microscope with talk of State Farm officials visiting the building in their search for office space. Black helicopters A5 City Briefs ...............A2 Pothole Pig ...............A3 Titans fall A6 Sports ......................A6 A&E ....................... ..B1 Jerry Burtts has an eye for encampments. He knows where most of them are in Tacoma and parts of Pierce County. He knows who lives in them, and why. He knows who is sick, who is addicted, wants safe shelter and who is not ready to try to get better. He, John Eckstrom and Jack Stillmaker make up Comprehensive Life Resources’ PATH Team, which gets – or tries to get – people who are homeless and have a mental illness to accept and stick to services. “We are the extreme outreach team,” said Eckstrom, the team’s supervisor. “Most people who are out there do have mental health issues.” But on Jan. 24 and 25, the extreme outreach team took its work indoors for Pierce County’s annual Homeless Survey, which the federal government requires if it is to send money to fight homelessness here. On those two days Eckstrom, Burtts and some 50 other canvassers gathered data that will determine which programs get funding, and how much. They wanted to work, and Thursday was a happy coincidence at Metropolitan Development Council’s health clinic at 2342 Tacoma Ave. S. “This is mental health day,” Eckstrom said Thursday. This was the day, and the MDC clinic was the place, where they were most likely to find their people and collect the data to help them. That small, savvy shift was an example of how the people conducting the survey work a little smarter every year. Since the survey began in 1996, the people who manage shelters, meal sites, clinics, libraries and schools have collaborated to find people who fit the federal definition of homelessness. Last week, they brought out the questionnaires. “Where did you or your household stay the night of Thursday, January 24, 2013?” they asked. Were they on the street, camping, in a car, a vacant building, jail, a shelter, transitional X See HOMELESS / page A10 Wilson does “Grease” B3 Make A Scene ........ B5 Calendar ................. B6 Look for daily updates online! VISIT US ON FACEBOOK Two Sections | 20 Pages


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