City Manager’s Weekly Bulletin: Dec. 17, 2021

December 17, 2021: Weekly Summary

The City celebrated the holidays with a drive-thru light parade on Saturday, Dec. 11. Nearly 900 cars full of Lakewood families attended the event.

Councilmember Patti Belle was sworn in on Monday. Belle was elected in November after beginning her term by appointment in February.

A deadly fire broke out in a nuisance commercial structure on Wednesday morning. WPFR and LPD are investigating the fire and death. The City will continue abatement of the property.

Morning commuters experienced slippery, icy conditions on Tuesday morning. Drive cautiously and patiently this winter; road ice can be hard to see.

Residents may sign up for a new South Sound 911 program that gives emergency dispatchers advance medical information to respond decisively to medical emergencies.

Happy Holidays from the City of Lakewood

Lakewood’s Holiday Drive-Thru Light Parade was celebrated last weekend. Volunteers from local businesses and organizations built festive light displays and nearly 900 cars full of families enjoyed the event. The extraordinary turnout created a long line, but we hope that you left the event filled with holiday cheer.

The City expects to return to a traditional Christmas parade next year.

Soldiers from 2-2 SBCT Lancer Brigade greeted visitors and handed out goodie bags.
The Lakes High School Cheer Squad danced the night away to greet visitors.
Our youth volunteers have helped make all of our 2021 events special. Thank you!

Councilmember Patti Belle Sworn In

Councilmember Patti Belle was sworn in on Monday, Dec. 13 to begin a new four-year term following her recent election. Belle first joined the council in February 2021 by appointment after the departure of John Simpson.

“I think it is a great privilege and honor to serve the City of Lakewood. I look forward to serving my term, and to learning from (the council) and City staff.”
Patti Belle, Lakewood City Councilmember

Click here to view her swearing-in ceremony, or here to read her bio.

Councilmember Patti Belle was elected in November after beginning her term by appointment in February.

Fire Ignites Nuisance Commercial Complex Along Gravelly Lake

A fire broke out on Wednesday morning at 9616 Gravelly Lake Dr SW, damaging a commercial complex in abatement. West Pierce Fire & Rescue limited the fire to the complex; no surrounding buildings were damaged.

Upon entering the structure after extinguishing the fire, firefighters discovered a body. The cause of the fire and the death are both under investigation.

Nuisance properties are a danger to the community. City staff work daily to bring problem properties all over the city into compliance. We have a long list of properties in active abatement. Generally, the property owners are accountable and perform repairs themselves. The desired outcome is repair, safety, and function of property.

Just days before the fire, the property owner requested that power be restored for electrical work to proceed. The City’s building official denied this request due to the unsafe condition of the building and combustible load within. Had this structure been powered, the fire may have posed a bigger threat to surrounding businesses.

West Pierce Fire & Rescue battles a commercial structure fire on Dec. 15, 2021
Water pools in the parking lot of a fire scene
9616 Gravelly Lake Dr SW after a fire on Dec. 15, 2021

Winter Weather Arrives; Icy Road Conditions Expected

Winter has arrived, and freezing nighttime temperatures can create hazardous road conditions for morning commuters. Black ice formed on Lakewood streets on Tuesday morning, and City crews responded by salting the streets.

Drive cautiously and patiently this winter; road ice can be difficult to see. Streets are plowed or salted on a priority system – the most-driven roads are treated first.

The City deployed several salt trucks on Tuesday morning – expect to see these guys working in the early morning hours this winter.

New Program Connects First Responders to Vital Medical Information During Emergencies

South Sound 911’s new Emergency Health Profile system provides emergency dispatchers with potentially life-saving information the moment an emergency call arrives. When citizens with an Emergency Health Profile call 911, dispatchers may quickly communicate medical conditions, allergies, and other relevant information to first responders.

To sign up, citizens may create a profile on the South Sound 911 website or may authorize Medical ID on Apple iOS devices with the Health app installed.


Reel Life ’96 Film Competition: February 2022

Aspiring actors and directors are invited to join Lakewood’s upcoming film contest: Reel Life ’96. Participating groups in this fast-paced contest must create a 4-minute film in 4 days based on a theme. Participants of any experience level are invited.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (virtual): Jan. 15, 2022

The City will pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on Jan. 15, 2022 (the holiday is on Jan. 17). The City will premiere a video based on a theme of “The World Lives in Lakewood”, a nod to an inclusive mural made by Clover Park High School students.


  • Steilacoom & Lakewood: Sewer repair beneath Steilacoom Boulevard remains on schedule. The roadway is closed between Lakewood Drive and Gravelly Lake Drive. The roadway should reopen in February. All local businesses are open.
  • Steilacoom & Custer: Sidewalk installation between Weller and Phillips will begin in January once utility work concludes in the area.
  • Gravelly Lake & Nyanza: Gravelly Lake Drive is closed between Nyanza & Washington through February. Streetlights are now active above the new roundabout at Gravelly Lake and Nyanza.
Utility companies are moving lines to new poles along Steilacoom Boulevard between Weller & Phillips. Once complete. the City will install sidewalks in this area.

City Council

Monday, Dec. 13 (Study Session)

The meeting began with a swearing-in ceremony for Councilmember Patti Belle. Belle was appointed in February after the departure of John Simpson, then was elected in November to serve a full four-year term.

Deputy City Manager Tho Kraus reviewed the City’s third-quarter financial report. The City’s ending fund balance is the highest since 2007 due to a combination of conservative spending through the pandemic and better-than-expected revenues after a difficult 2020.

Recreation Coordinator Sally Martinez reviewed the year’s special events and public art. Highlights included the 25th Anniversary Celebration, the painting of a new mural at American Lake Park, and the application of decorative utility box wraps around town.

SummerFest will return next year, and the City expects to return to a traditional holiday parade around Christmastime. New events like Saturday street festivals at Colonial Plaza, “Dancing in the Streets”, “Carnival of Cultures”, and “Fiesta de la Familia” are on the calendar. Drive-in movie nights will not return.

Long-Range Planning Manager Tiffany Speir reviewed the Pierce County Comprehensive Plan to End Homelessness and work to date. The primary goal of the plan is to create a Tacoma-Pierce Unified Regional Office of Homelessness to consolidate efforts and harmonize planning. Accountability and measurement are also priorities, beginning with the Point-In-Time Count to quantify local homelessness in January.

Next Meetings:

  • Monday, Dec. 20 (Regular Meeting)


  • Health Guidance: TPCHD implores residents to get vaccinated, mask up, and practice social distancing.
  • Booster Shots: Adults 18+ are eligible to receive a booster shot if 6+ months have passed since prior vaccination.
  • Vaccine Locations: The Towne Center Vaccine Clinic is open daily from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at 10330 59th Avenue Southwest, STE B, Lakewood, WA 98499.
  • Vaccine Eligibility: Children ages 5-11 are now vaccine eligible, and the CDC encourages vaccination for this age group.