City Manager’s Weekly Bulletin: Aug. 27, 2021

Last week, we announced that we would accept donations for Afghan refugees on behalf of Q13 FOX and World Relief Seattle. The response was a little more than we bargained for. Our lobby is filled with beautiful donations, many complemented by handwritten letters of welcome. Lakewood is amazing. (NOTE: the drive concluded Friday, 8/27)

Western State Hospital Community Engagement Events Scheduled

DSHS events will review the proposal to build a new 350-bed forensic hospital on the Western State Hospital campus.

DSHS will host two events to discuss proposed changes to Western State Hospital. An in-person event will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at Custer Elementary School and a virtual event will be held on Thursday, Sept. 9 via Zoom.

DSHS plans to build a new 350-bed forensic hospital on the Western State Hospital (WSH) campus in Lakewood to replace outdated facilities. This is a state project directed by the legislature under a new behavioral health plan.

How will the patient mix change? The bed count is planned to reduce from 922 beds (2019) to 864 beds (2029) over the next decade.

Western State Hospital will prioritize forensic patients, while civil patients will transition to community-based care settings. Over time, the population will skew towards forensic commitments.

Forensic Patients387530
Civil Patients470251
Child Study & Treatment6583

What is a “forensic patient”? A person accused of a crime and found incompetent to stand trial might be committed as a “forensic patient”.

What is a “civil patient”? Civil patients are typically committed at the direction of a qualified mental health professional.

After stabilization through medication and treatment, civil patients may earn independence.

To review more Q&A before the DSHS Open House events, visit our Western State Hospital Q&A page.

This image from Google Earth shows the current Western State Hospital campus arrangement. A new Master Facility Plan by DSHS proposes significant changes to the campus and the operations of the hospital.

Chief Zaro Discusses Recent Police Reform Legislation

Several bills were recently signed into law that affect police tactics and responses to calls.

House Bill 1054 (Police Tactics Bill) and House Bill 1310 (Use of Force Bill) were recently signed into law. These and other police reform laws will have significant influence on responses to common situations.

“In my estimation, the biggest change is found in the Use of Force bill. This bill changes the legal threshold that must be met for officers to use any amount of physical force. There now has to be probable cause for arrest, or the person must pose an immediate threat to the officer, someone else, or themselves.”

“There are two legal thresholds for physical detention by a police officer; reasonable suspicion and probable cause. Reasonable suspicion is when facts and circumstances would lead a reasonable officer to believe that a specific individual may have been involved in a particular crime. Probable cause is when an officer has evidence that a specific crime occurred and a specific individual was likely responsible.”
– LPD Chief Mike Zaro

Read the Chief’s full editorial here.

COVID-19 Infections on the Rise

TPCHD calls this fall a “crossroads”; implores masking & vaccination

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading. New cases are breaking previous records. The virus is serious: hospitalizations are increasing, too.

Pierce County Health Director Anthony Chen observes that more than 90% of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths statewide are among people unvaccinated. Pierce County’s numbers are consistent with state numbers.

We need to take a layered approach – think of slices of Swiss cheese. Each slice has a few holes in it, some bigger than others. When you stack slices, you reduce the number of gaps. Soon, you have a complete barrier.

  • Pierce County Health Director Anthony Chen

Clover Park School District will host free vaccine clinics on Monday & Tuesday:

  • Monday, Aug. 30: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Lakes High School Auxiliary Gym, 10320 Farwest Dr. SW, Lakewood, 98498
  • Tuesday, Aug. 31: 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Student Services Center, 10903 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
akewood physician Dr. Stephanie Peñalver recently appeared in a Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department video to discuss the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.

Steilacoom Boulevard Sewer Repair Ongoing

Steilacoom Boulevard is temporarily closed between Lakewood Drive & Gravelly Lake Drive; beach closures lifted

A sewer main beneath Steilacoom Boulevard near Lakewood Drive collapsed in late July. Steilacoom Boulevard will close between Lakewood Drive and Gravelly Lake Drive between Aug. 23 and Sept. 4 for repairs. Refer to the image below for a detour route.

Bookmark our map of all current Lakewood road work for future reference.

Upcoming Events:

  • Friday, August 27: Lakewood Farmers Market at Fort Steilacoom Park
  • Tuesday, August 31: DSHS Western State Hospital Open House Event (in-person)
  • Thursday, September 9: DSHS Western State Hospital Open House Event (virtual)
  • Saturday, September 18: City of Lakewood 25th Anniversary Celebration at Colonial Plaza
  • Saturday, October 9: Truck & Tractor Day at Fort Steilacoom Park
The Lakewood Farmers Market is held every Friday afternoon at Fort Steilacoom Park until Sept. 24.


August 23, 2021 – Lakewood City Council Study Session

Highlights of Discussion:

  1. Economic Development Update
  2. Presentation of American Rescue Plan Act community feedback


  • Virus Activity: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are surging in Pierce County and throughout the nation. COVID-19 is again a serious public health threat.
  • Vaccine Locations: Vaccination is the best defense against COVID-19, and the fastest way for us to return to normal. The Towne Center Vaccine Clinic is open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at 10330 59th Avenue Southwest, STE B, Lakewood, WA 98499.
  • Mask Mandate: Masks are now required in all indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccine status.
  • Relief Programs: Rent, mortgage, and utility bill relief is available under the City of Lakewood program and another by Pierce County.


  • Interlaaken & Lake Steilacoom: Interlaaken Drive will close between Lake Steilacoom Drive SW and Mt Tacoma Drive SW on Tuesday, Aug. 31 from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m
  • Steilacoom & Custer: TPU continues to perform utility work. Occasional lane closures will be required; typically in the evening.
  • Steilacoom & Lakewood: Steilacoom Boulevard will close between Lakewood Drive and Gravelly Lake Drive between Aug. 23 and Sept. 4 for repairs. Refer to the City of Lakewood road work map for detour information. Sewer repair along Steilacoom Blvd may cause various delays and lane adjustments.
  • Gravelly Lake & Nyanza: Gravelly Lake Drive SW will be closed between Nyanza and Veterans until next February.