If you are a Facebook user living in the Spanaway vicinity, you may have noticed there are a number of “blotters” that have been formed to tell up to date “news” about the area.
These blotters include:
Spanaway / Graham Blotter
spanaway / elk plain / graham community blotter
Spanaway / Elk Plain / Graham community blotter
Graham/Spanaway/Elk Plain Community Reporter
Spanaway / Graham Blotter FFA
Spanaway Crime Blotter
Among these pages are some up to date video crime reports, photos of the mess people are making dumping their garbage in neighborhoods, accidents and police activity. It is good to participate on these pages simply to monitor the level of activity and warnings to go around traffic lights that are not working and accidents blocking roads.
Participation in the comments can sometimes be more challenging. There are some articulate and knowledgeable people also monitoring these pages; if your facts or assumptions are sketchy, they will bluntly let you know. That is just a heads up about commenting.
Overall, these pages are extremely informational. They also reveal the difficulties the community is having with traffic, crime, illegal dumping, construction zone roads and detours, and other development connected issues.
Spanaway, Elk Plain, Graham, Frederickson, South Hill and Parkland are all unincorporated Pierce County communities. The is no city hall nearby to file a complaint. For that matter, there is no city hall for permits, hearings or any other government service nearby. Libraries and Post Offices are the only services for which you don’t have to drive into Tacoma, the county seat. There really is no one watching the henhouse.
With so many thousands of newcomers to the area each year, it is confusing to know where to turn. Many actually thing these communities are cities, until they start looking for city hall. The realization they must travel to Tacoma is a gobsmack moment.
Asking for change is the never-ending question, who DO I ask?
To add to the confusion, the boundaries of the post office do not match the county definition of where these “communities” are located. If you live in the country designated area of Frederickson, the post office may call you Tacoma, Puyallup or Spanaway. It really is an identity crisis. If you live in Spanaway, you may actually have a Spanaway address, unless you live north and east of the Post Office, then you are called Tacoma. There is no address called Elk Plain, even though they have a post office. The Elk Plain Post office was named after the shopping center, Bethel Station. This is no place name, Bethel Station.
Next, try voting. The boundaries of the legislative and congressional districts subdivide us even further. If you stand on the corner of 42nd Avenue and 208th Street, you are at the intersection of three legislative districts, 28, 29 and 2. Who represents you depends on if you live east, west or south at that point.
It is not easy for the school district either. The Bethel School District has to interact with the 25th, 28th, 29th and 2nd district legislators and both the 8th and 10th Congressional district representatives. The 2020 census will bring a new redistricting effort in the county and the state. Hopefully some of those lines will be better drawn. Staying aware of when that takes place an putting in your comments helps a great deal.
In the meantime, here are a few contacts that can help.
Pierce County Council Pierce County District Maps
Local community Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC)