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Issue 45

City of Sumner Newsletter

December 2006

November Floods Test Sumner’s New Methods and Bring Out Spirit In early November, the City of Sumner experienced flooding of both the Puyallup and White Rivers. An estimated 1500 Sumner residents were evacuated. Despite property damage along the river, no one was hurt or injured. There was no need for dramatic rescues involving helicopters or boats. A blending of utility improvements and new emergency management tools with Sumner’s long-time willing spirit reduced the amount of damage and harm the flood waters could have caused. First, as soon as the City of Sumner realized that flooding was probable, it launched a new tool called the EOC. Standing for Emergency Operations Center, the EOC is part of the National Incident Management Structure, which establishes distinct roles and a central location from which all City responders work. This tool coordinates efforts for the greatest, most efficient impact.

SEE INSIDE Mayor’s Message Sumner Reads Together Paying Your Bill Online Being Prepared for Floods

page 2 page 4 page 5 page 6

When it was clear that evacuations were necessary, new and old methods blended for effective communications. A new Intellicast system used the 911 system in reverse to call affected households and

deliver the evacuation message. The City’s website and the local access cable channel ran evacuation notices. And, finally, employees and volunteers went door to door to alert affected residents. With all these tools, no one was trapped after the flooding began. After floodwaters receded, the City continued to use a mix of traditional and new methods to aid recovery. Public Works pumped areas of standing water, inspectors checked structures for livability, police guarded evacuated areas, and the website and other media broadcast updates. By far, though, volunteers sped up the recovery effort with their oldfashioned enthusiasm and dedication. Sumner benefited from hundreds of volunteers, many from outside of the City, who rolled up their sleeves and went to work cleaning up affected areas. Bonney Lake employees, especially police and public works staff, quickly responded before the flooding to help with evacuations and to cover normal emergency calls so that their Sumner colleagues could put their full effort toward the flood. The Sumner School District put out a call for volunteers to fill sandbags, and volunteers showed up through the entire night. “After the flood, I know we had volunContinued at Floods, page 6


Sumner Community Connection

December 2006

City of Sumner

Mayor’s Message I want to take a moment to honor the ordinary. Yes, our employees did a wonderful job working around the clock during the flood. Yet, we also need to

1104 Maple Street Sumner, WA 98390 253-863-8300 253-863-2850 FAX

honor those who do the “ordinary” jobs everyday.

MAYOR Dave Enslow

When you flush your toilet, do you think about the system that efficiently takes the water away--and processes it so that it’s safe to return to the environment? When a stoplight turns green, do you pause to wonder if the other side is indeed red before pulling into the intersection? When driving down the street, do you think about the stripe that keeps oncoming traffic from your lane?


CITY COUNCIL Steve Allsop Curt Brown Mike Connor Randy Hynek Ed Hannus Leroy Goff Matt Richardson

299-5793 299-5796 299-5795 299-5792 299-5791 299-5797 299-5794

CITY STAFF John Doan, City Administrator


Diane Supler, Deputy City Administrator


Carmen Palmer, Communications Director


our streets. They answer 911 calls. They trim, mow, tighten, test, monitor,

Patricia Bosmans, City Attorney


improve. And, they deserve a huge debt of thanks from all of us

Susan Clary, City Clerk


There are many individuals in our City workforce who make sure all these things--and more--work day in and day out. They keep streetlights functioning; they run the Wastewater Treatment Plant even in the nastiest of weather. They paint lines on the streets to keep us from running into each other. They clean

who so easily take their work for granted.

Paul Rogerson, Community Development Director 299-5521

Their work will never end up on the evening news. But, boy, if they didn’t do their work so well, we’d know just as soon as we tried to drive down a street or pour a glass of water. We’re going to try to highlight some of these individuals in upcoming issues of the

Colleen Wilson, Police Chief


Dan Packer, Fire Chief


Bill Shoemaker, Public Works Director


Bruce Johnson, Community/Senior Services Manager 299-5731

newsletter to give you a better idea of how City

Lee Anderson, Parks and Facilities Manager

work affects your life every day. And, as we thank



the heroes of the flooding, let’s be sure to include

Administration/Finance Cemetery Fire (non-emergency) Golf Course Inspection Line Parks and Recreation Permit Center Police (non-emergency) Senior Center

those who do the extraordinary every day in the ordinary.

Mayor Dave Enslow

A tale of two mayors: Mayor Enslow with Daffodil Valley Elementary’s Mayor Tony Mintz. Congratulations to Daffodil Valley Elementary for winning the prestigious Apple Achievement Award (and $25,000) for being one of ten schools in the state with largest increase in test scores. Photo courtesy of Sumner School District

863-8300 FAX 863-2850 863-6345 863-5451 863-8198 299-5530 891-6500 299-5523 863-6384 863-2910

MUNICIPAL COURT Judge Stephen R. Shelton Court Offices


December 2006

Guest Council Column Dear Neighbors; I hope this message finds you content and optimistic about the end of the year and what the city has accomplished over the last 12 months. We have so much to be thankful for—a beautiful city, great schools and shops, well-kept parks, a fully staffed police and fire department, a balanced budget, and an improved infrastructure. For my part, thank you for your patience and confidence in the City Council to address these issues. We are doing the best we can, and input from you is appreciated. One of the major issues for the community is sidewalks. We have been debating for a long time whether the city should just pay for the sidewalks or if residents might be interested in a 50/50 split. We opted to put it before the residents before reversing a longstanding policy of requiring the residents to pay for them entirely. As many of you know, the LID we requested from the home-owners did not obtain the required 60% approval. This leaves Council with an interesting dilemma because the sidewalk issue has been the Number 1 issue in our public surveys for the last six years in a row. I still believe our beloved city should not have its residents, young and old alike, walking in the streets to the park, to the store, or to school. Most people would say that persistence is the best of character traits. On this issue, I hope you still believe this is true. We are looking at another option that will make a difference without imposing on homeowners. While it will require the use of city funds (your tax-dollar), I am confident that together we will accomplish a goal that has eluded us for more than 50 years. My sincerest holiday wishes to you all, Matt Richardson Deputy Mayor

Sumner Community Connection


Keeping Your Celebrations Green As the season fills with presents and parties, keep in mind a few simple tips to reduce waste and give a gift to our environment. *Gift experiences & shop local. Whether it’s dinner out or perhaps a gardening or art class, consider giving experiences rather than items. And, if you are giving items, shop locally so that you don’t have added packaging for shipping. *Recycle wrapping. Rather than chucking everything in the waste bin, remember to pull out all cardboard, paper, and any other recyclable materials. *Recycle your tree. You can cut down your tree to go in your normal yard waste bin (just make sure nothing sticks more than two feet above the lid) or check Pierce County Solid Waste for recycling options. *Use real utensils. If you’re hosting a party, see if you have enough real plates and utensils to avoid using disposable paper and plastic. *Buy local fruit and vegetables. If grown locally, or within the state, produce doesn’t have to take a long trip across the country (or ocean), using up fuel. *Keep your regular green habits from taking a holiday. Everything that applies throughout the year still applies now. Consider a compost bin for food scraps; when buying paper, look for items that use a high percentage of post-recycled material; combine your errands to reduce trips between one destination and home; avoid using harsh chemicals around the house to garden and clean. Our neighbors to the north in King County have some great tips at http://www. Together, we’ll ring out 2006 on a clean note, ready for a healthy 2007.

Garbage pick-up will be on Saturday for the weeks of December 24 and 31. If you have business containers with normal pick up on Mondays and Fridays, they will be picked up on Tuesday and Saturday during these two weeks.

BUSINESS LICENSES It’s renewal time again! Notices mail the first week of December, and renewals are due January 31, 2007. If you have questions, contact City Clerk Susan Clary at 253-299-5500.


Sumner Community Connection

December 2006

Sumner Reads Takes an Artistic Adventure Why paint here, he might ask, and what would she answer? That she hoped that here she might discover what it was about wild places that called to her with such promise. The chief made a circle with his hand, as if holding a brush, and nodded at her tablet. “He want that you paint now.”

Each year, the Sumner Arts Commission brightens the dark, cold winter months by inviting everyone to take an adventure together. Through Sumner Reads Together, you’re encouraged to curl up with a good book and then gather for discussions and lectures.

woman travel the Canadian wilderness alone to paint in 1912? Can a white woman with a paint brush win over a Native community suspicious of outsiders? Can a woman living at the edge of nowhere bring modern art to the American continent?

Timeline for Adventure: All programs are held at the Sumner Pierce County Library on Fryar Avenue. They’re free and include refreshments.

Now: Get your copy of the book (A great present for you or your neighbors!)

Thursday, January 18 Book Discussion, 10 am

Wednesday, January 31 Book Discussion, 7 pm

Tuesday, February 6

This year, the book, Susan Vreeland’s The Forest Lover, will take you through a dramatized account of the life of Northwest artist Emily Carr. You’ll venture into the villages of British Columbia and travel to the glitter of Paris before World War I. Along the journey, you’ll encounter such questions as can a forty-year-old

Then, this winter, the events will be just as exciting as the book. Come together with friends and neighbors to discuss the book and then discover the true story of the pioneering artist from our region through a documentary on the Life and Times of Emily Carr.

Discovering Emily Carr, 7 pm

Tuesday, February 13 The Life and Times of Emily Carr documentary, 7 pm

Thursday, February 15 The Life and Times of Emily Carr documentary, 10 am

To get your copy of the book, check out the library or stop by A Good Book on Main Street. Through Sumner Reads Together, this winter will be anything but dull!

Take More Adventures with Your Own Book Club

Hopefully, Sumner Reads Together will be just the beginning. Winter is a great time to start or join a book club! And, Pierce County Library makes it easy with their Book Group Collection! With 50 titles to choose from, kits include copies of the book, discussion questions and more. To get

started reserving a kit, visit a branch, and library staff will show you the booking calendar for titles available for the next year. For more details, visit reading-books/book-group-collection Whether you use kits or strike off on your own book club adventures, keep in mind a few tips. Decide logistics with your group first: what kinds of books will you read, when you’ll meet and for how long, etc. Be ready

to read outside your area of interest. Pick books that are well written with good plots and characters: ask librarians, booksellers and friends for ideas. In your discussion, talk about what the author hasn’t said. Ask open-ended questions that can’t be answered with “yes” or “no.” Explore more tips and ideas at reading-books/book-group-collection/ book-club-to.htm. Originally from Washington Center for the Book.

December 2006

Customers Can Pay Their Utility Bills Online!

Sumner Community Connection


Being Thankful Before Looking to New Year Thanksgiving just gave us an opportunity to pause and give thanks. Now that it’s the holidays, Bing Crosby sings about Counting Your Blessings. So, what are Sumner’s blessings for which we can all be thankful? Here’s a start--we’ll let you fill in your own.

1 A beautiful city

With Mt. Rainier, daffodils, exciting new construction and historic downtown, Sumner still has its own sense of place. You could say it looks like George Bailey should be rounding the corner of Ryan to run down Main Street shouting “it’s a wonderful life”! Utility customers in the City of Sumner can now enjoy the convenience of paying their bills online!

2 Active citizens

Everyone won’t always agree on every topic, but Sumner’s citizens care about their city enough to sacrifice personal time and energy to be involved whether filling out surveys, being on boards or volunteering.

Just go to the City’s website at and click on the option to pay your bill online. The login process will guide you to set up your online account and then you can review your account anytime!


If you need assistance, please call 253-299-5546 or send an e-mail to

From parades to wine walks to festivals, Sumner knows how to have fun together. This isn’t a sleepy town!

Correction: the last issue of Community Connection incorrectly listed the new garbage rate. A standard one-can rate is $13.72. We apologize for the error.

mission: To provide needed and valued services that promote our sense of community. vision: Sumner will set the standard of excellence for a progressive small city. values: We are collaborative & professional. We are innovative & visionary. We are responsive & accountable. We serve with respect & integrity.

A vibrant region

The fact is, Sumner is not isolated. It’s a small-town island in a vibrant region. Our task is to take the best of that vibrancy while retaining our smalltown character.

4 Ability to celebrate 5 Caring for others

From Relay for Life to the recent outpouring of volunteers to assist flood victims, it’s clear that Sumner is willing to lend a hand and help each other out.

6 Planning for the future

Yes, it’s good to take time to reflect back, but a new year is nearly upon us. The City Council recently passed its upcoming strategic priorities. These are like New Year’s resolutions. They are the things that the Council wants to make sure happen in the City of Sumner. The four priorities, in no particular order, are • Protection of water, open spaces, and other natural resources. • Safe and efficient transportation system. • Long-range financial stability to provide a balance of City services. • Enhance community character. This fall, Sumner Police joined other police departments in partnering Now, Bing, that’s quite a few blessings with restaurants to raise money for the we can count on! Special Olympics. (So, would the robin now be considered a jail bird?)


Sumner Community Connection

Looking Ahead & Being Prepared Here are a few things you can do now to minimize damage next time: Check if you’re in a flood area The City’s flood map is on the Web at Update your procedures • Make sure everyone knows the emergency phone numbers, and when to call them. • Learn the safest route from your home or business to high ground. • Make arrangements for housing in the event you need to evacuate your home. • Establish meeting places and phone numbers in case family members are separated by rising flood waters. • Teach all family members how and when to turn off gas, electricity and water lines. Talk to neighbors and share information on preparedness and previous experiences. Minimize flood damage • Store valuables higher in your home. • Store household chemicals above flood levels. • Ensure underground storage tanks are fully sealed and secure. Keep a Disaster Supply Kit Have a kit ready to go and include a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, flashlights, batteries, nonperishable food and drinking water, essential medicines and first-aid kit. BONUS: Most of these tips will also keep you prepared for a lahar, earthquake, power outage or other emergency event! For more tips, visit


continued from page 1 teers that included Christians, Mormons, and Buddhists,” said Mayor Dave Enslow. “It’s wonderful to see groups that can be so divided elsewhere in the world coming together to work toward a common purpose here in Sumner.” Now, neighborhoods continue to clean up, and the City evaluates its first experience using the national EOC model to prepare for the next time.

December 2006

“Sumner is built on a flood plain,” said Enslow, “so the question isn’t ever ‘if’ but ‘when’ we get the next one. I hope it’s not for a very long time, but we need to prepare now.” Preparedness will be the key factor in limiting the damage that can happen in a flood, or any other kind of natural disaster. Read more articles in this issue and in coming months to find out what Sumner as a city is doing to be prepared and what you can do as an individual.

Investment in Preparedness Pays Off in Emergency In addition to everyone who helped fill sandbags, shelter evacuated neighbors and clean up affected areas, all citizens of Sumner helped keep the November floods from being even more damaging. If you’re wondering how, the answer’s easy: you invested in your City through your taxes and utility fees. Sumner’s last major flood was in 1996, and since that time, the City’s improvements in infrastructure were telling during this year’s flood. Salmon Creek, historically a problem area, stayed within its banks thanks to improvements to the creek flow. Rebuilt storm drains throughout the City did not back up into neighborhood streets as they did before.

The Intellicast system called those residents who needed to evacuate, using a new reversal of the 911 system. The new Wastewater Treatment Plant kept operating smoothly despite nearby flooding. The website gave the City a way to communicate updates immediately; and the use of the Emergency Operations Center provided a new, efficient management system. All of these improvements cost money, so City taxpayers all contributed to keeping this year’s flood, plus any future emergencies, from being as costly as they have been in the past. While taxes are never popular, your investment in emergency preparation paid off in November.

Above: despite flooding across State Street, the Wastewater Treatment Plant kept operating normally. (City employees checked the plant by crossing State in a rowboat!)

December 2006


Sumner Community Connection


City Hall Calendar December 4 ...... City Council meeting, 7 pm 11..... City Council study session, 6 pm 18..... City Council meeting, 7 pm 25..... City Hall closed--no meetings January 2007

Why were some areas of Sumner evacuated even though they’re not on the 100-year flood plain? A very good question with a very good answer! The City evacuates based on two things: what is likely to flood and what is likely to lose access during a flood. There are sections of Sumner that are not on the 100-year flood plain, but the only roads to them are. If the City thought that areas were going to become stranded during a flood with no access in or out, those areas received evacuation warnings. Another related question you may have is what does a 100-year flood plain mean? That is the designation given to areas that have the probability of flooding within 100 years. Or, to put it another way, every year, there’s a 1% chance that area will flood. Long time residents may remember that many of these areas flooded in 1996, so nature doesn’t always follow probability. For that reason, the City will continue to work on improving flood prevention and emergency preparedness even though we’re all hoping there won’t be more such floods for another 99 years! You can contact Dr. Sumner at

1 ...... City Hall closed 2 ...... City Council meeting, 7 pm 9 ...... City Council study session, 6 pm 15..... City Hall closed 16..... City Council meeting, 7 pm 22..... City Council study session, 6 pm

Community Events December 9....... Northwood Christmas Community House giving toys to families with financial difficulties--children can visit Santa, 8 am - 2 pm, Sumner High School 9....... Scrapbooking Festival, 9 am - 9 pm, Sumner High School $15 for up to 6 hrs 9....... Free Holiday Community Dinner, 12 - 4 pm, Sumner High School 16..... Christmas Stroll, 10 am - 9 pm, Downtown Sumner January 2007 18..... Sumner Reads Together Book Discussion, 10 am see page 4 for details 31..... Sumner Reads Together Book Discussion, 7 pm see page 4 for details

May the light of your holidays bring joy and peace to you and your family.


Sumner Community Connection

December 2006

Sumner City Council

Steve Allsop

Curt Brown

Mike Connor

Leroy Goff

Ed Hannus

ITEMS PASSED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2006 OCTOBER Adopted Resolution No. 1206 giving the City Administrator the authority to negotiate an agreement with Fire District No. 22.

Approved a contract with East Pierce Fire & Rescue.

Adopted Resolution No. 1207 opposing Initiative 933.

NOVEMBER Adopted Resolution No. 1208: LID 67 owner-requested segregation.

Accepted the Valley Avenue Improvement Project

Adopted Resolution No. 1209: LID 70 owner-requested segregation.

Accepted Puyallup Street/Tacoma Ave. Intersection Improvements.

Adopted Resolution No. 1210: Christmas Eve holiday for unrepresented employees.

Approved a contract with Makers Architects to update the Design Guidelines.

Adopted Ordinance No. 2187 setting the 2007 property tax levy.

Adopted Ordinance No. 2185 concerning Restricted Parking Zones.

Adopted Ordinance No. 2188 setting the 2007 EMS tax levy.

Adopted Ordinance No. 2186 extending Interim Development Regulations.

Adopted the 2007 legislative agenda.

City of Sumner 1104 Maple Street Sumner, WA 98390

Randy Hynek

Matt Richardson

You Better Watch Out... Santa Claus is Comin’ to Sumner! He’s making a list and checking it’s where he’ll be: December 12 west of Valley Ave. December 13 east of Valley Ave. December 14 south of Hwy 410 So, be sure to stick around from 5 to 9 pm on those nights to enjoy a visit from the jolly old man himself! Thanks to the Sumner Fire Department and East Pierce Fire & Rescue for bringing Santa to our town. PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID SUMNER, WA PERMIT NO. 1


Postal Customer