[Editor Note:This is a letter sent by Master Watershed Steward and Pierce Communities Coalition member, Cindy Beckett to Rep. Mark McKaskill. It shows how far behind Pierce County’s unincorporated UGA is in police coverage]
At this time, we in the UGA of Pierce County are officially asking for the State’s help.
There are a growing number of serious issues that require State attention immediately. If this is Growth Management, we would sure hate to see an area without “Growth Management” if this is what it is doing to us. Funny, though, that all the States that have no GMA are doing far better than WA is!
Pierce County has issued a new statement that the PSRC has done a population projection until the year 2050 and is instructing all 4 counties to “take their fair share”. In Pierce County, the current action is to begin immediately building out the communities in the unincorporated county where there are NO services – police, public transportation, proper roads, enough schools etc., and all of the focus is on housing, not economic development. In short, there are no jobs for all the thousands of people moving here, so all of them must commute either north or south to other counties for work. Even if there was a form of public transportation, it might not be so bad, but there isn’t any – period! No bus service at all in the entire UGA. We just attended a presentation 2 days ago regarding this issue – completely burying (literally) both sides of the entire length of the only main 2-lane road in one of the communities under high-density apartments, townhouses and box retail. There is no justification for this at all. The people have no voice at all and are merely informed that this is going to happen – tough! They are hiding behind the artificial numbers issued by the PSRC as their excuse, but there is a universe of difference between 90 houses per year per community and thousands of housing units going up right now in every community everywhere UGA wide with no services or facilities at all and no pause in the approvals of continuing devastating development that is actually even higher than city-level!
I spoke with the OFM (Office of Financial Management) yesterday and was told the State did not issue a forecast to 2050, only to 2040. So, where did the PSRC get the power to usurp the State’s forecast and make their own, while insisting that our counties MUST abide by those numbers? Is there a written agreement that we can have a copy of where WA granted this full authority to the PSRC? People want to know this.
Below is the statement taken directly from the PSRC site.
When did the PSRC become the lead for population projection in King, Snohomish, Kitsap & Pierce Counties? This is not a speculative question – it is genuine. We need to know where this is coming from, and why the frantic rush to build everything out right now, not spread it out over those 32 years!
Regional Planning News
The Puget Sound Regional Council is beginning an effort to plan for the anticipated population growth of 1.8 million more people in our region by 2050. This plan for the Puget Sound region, which includes Pierce, King, Snohomish and Kitsap counties, influences local policies about where and how growth should take place. It sets growth policy region-wide related to economic development, transportation, land use and more.
These plans include policies that Pierce County is required to follow, such as discouraging growth in unincorporated Pierce County and pushing growth into surrounding cities, with the highest growth targets in the City of Tacoma. It also includes policies that unincorporated suburban communities should be annexed into an existing city or incorporated into a new city.
***however, Pierce County is doing the exact opposite – defiantly putting all this development in the underserved UGA right now, not over 32 years. If you saw the current development plans for the UGA, you would say huh??? What are they thinking?
We crunched these numbers. 2018 – 2050 is 32 years. 1.8 million divided by 4 counties is 450,000 over those 32 years, not in the next 2 years. Pierce County has 21 cities and a huge UGA, which we called another city for the sake of being equal, so we divided the numbers equally by 22. It comes out to 90 houses per year in each community in the UGA for 32 years. That is all that is required to meet the full number by 2050. Yet, the planning dept is racing to approve development of thousands (literally) of more houses in the UGA and is rezoning all of our communities into city-level density apartments, townhouses and 8 per acre houses. Most of the UGA has no sewer service, and we are on top of our Sole Source Aquifer, which is our only source of water. Our Executive has instructed his planning dept to just put in “dry lines” until some day in the very distant future when a sewer line may be available. We cannot have thousands of houses on septic on top of our recharge area, but he will not listen and has instructed his planning dept to keep going regardless!
Our sheriff has made 3 TV appearances addressing the dramatic shortage of police in Pierce County’s UGA. We are supposed to have city level services according to the GMA to service all the new population. City level is 1 officer per 500 people. Our Sheriff has issued confirmed numbers verifying that the UGA of Pierce County has only 1 officer per 2000 people!!! Communities and neighborhoods have all armed themselves because we have to. The Sheriff has told our communities that we are on our own a lot of the time because there simply are not enough police as the county has not collected the impact fees that would have provided the police we are supposed to have by law. We have brought this to the attention of both Executive and County Council numerous times, still no change, yet housing developments where the houses are literally 41/2 feet apart at roof edge are blanketing our UGA. We have very inadequate roads, and NO public transportation of any kind in the entire UGA. Everyone in every house and apartment must drive. All of the roads in our communities are smothered in traffic of people who don’t even live in those communities, they just travel the community roads by the thousands to get away from the incredibly jammed highways. We have no sidewalks on these roads, so our children are not safe at all. Pierce Transit says they have no plans at all to provide bus service to the UGA. Below are the factual numbers for Pierce County showing what we have versus what we are supposed to have.
How is it that our State government thinks this is acceptable and has failed to step in on this issue? Would you like to live under these conditions? Neither do we!
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Pierce County communities in the UGA are supposed to have city level police for the city level development they have been doing in the unserviced unincorporated communities. Yet, even our police are not safe as they have no backup available. This is why we just lost another deputy. He was ambushed and had no help. The Sheriff went on TV and publicly stated that if he had the proper police numbers, his deputy would have had back-up and would not be dead now!!!!!
*** I calculated these numbers being generous at 1 officer per 1000 population. It was later corrected by the sheriff that it is supposed to be 1 officer per 700, TV news stated it is 1 officer per 500.
Please note that all of these numbers are taken directly from the US Census. I suspect there may be other areas that I may have missed. This is just a rough “guestimate” of the total population of the UGA community plan area because it is from the latest Census information available. With all the new development at break-neck speed (before they get stopped), it is likely higher population numbers now than what was reported on the FBI/Census bureaus. Please also note that these numbers are solely for the required number of police officers per each 1,000 citizens and do not include the necessary support staff numbers.
Tacoma Population 211,277 (2016)
Puyallup Population 40,640 (2016)
Lakewood Population 60,665 (2016)
SOURCE: Governing calculations of employment and population data from 2015 FBI Uniform Crime Reporting program
Officers per 10K Population
Total Employees per 10K Population
Tacoma, Washington 16.2 336 18.0 372
Puyallup, Washington 13.9 56 19.2 77
Lakewood WA 16.0 96 18.6 112
The rate of full-time law enforcement employees (civilian and sworn) per 1,000 inhabitants was 3.4. (Based on Table 74.) Cities with fewer than 10,000 residents reported an average of 3.5 officers per 1,000 inhabitants, the largest officer-to-individual rate among city population groups. However, the above numbers for Tacoma in 2015 was 1.6 per 1,000. As of 2016 it was 1.8 per 1,000, but I have done all calculations on what we should have in each community based on the 1.6 ratio.
It is of interest that the US Census Bureau calls each of our communities “cities”!
Population Demographics for Graham, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 23,491 divided by 1,000 = 2349 x 1.62 =38 Graham should have 38 full time police officers or 12.6 per each 8 hour shift
Population Demographics for Spanaway Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 27,227 divided by 1,000 = 272 x 1.6 = 17 Spanaway should have 43.5 full time police officers or 14.5 per shift.
Population Demographics for Frederickson, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 18,702 divided by 1000 = 187 x 1.6 = 29 Frederickson should have 29 full time police officers or 9.97 (10) per shift.
Population Demographics for Parkland, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 35,803 divided by 1000 = 358 x 1.6 = 57 Parkland should have 57 full time police or 19 per shift/.
Population Demographics for Midland, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 8,962 divided by 1,000 = 896 x 1.6 = 14.3 Midland should have 14.3 full time police or 4.7 per shift.
Population Demographics for Clover Creek, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 6,522 divided by 1,000 = 652 x 1.6 = 10 Clover Creek should have 10 full time police or 3.4 per shift.
Population Demographics for Summit View, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 7,236 divided by 1,000 = 723 x 1.6 = 11.5 Summit View should have 11.5 full time police or 3.8 (4) per shift
Population Demographics for Summit, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 7,985 divided by 1,000 = 798 x 1.6 = 12.7 Summit should have 12.7 full time police or 4.25 per shift
Population Demographics for South Hill, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 52,431 divided by 1,000 = 5243 x 1.6 = 83.8 South Hill should have 83.8 full time police or 28 per shift
Population Demographics for Waller, Washington in 2016 and 2017 Total Population 9,200 divided by 1,000 = 920 x 1.6 = 14.7 Waller should have 15 full time police or 5 per shift
The above 10 communities combined should have 315 full time police officers at this time or 115 per shift for all communities combined. This is not for shared deputy coverage, but for each stand-alone community in the UGA.
*** Note: there were individual listings for Summit and Waller, the US census shows 9,200 people living in Waller. I’m not sure if the Waller population is already included with Summit or not so I have done separate numbers for each community (Summit & Waller) but welcome correction if this is incorrect.