Equity involves addressing imbalances to affect positive outcomes – it’s like watering a dry plant before a lush plant. It’s about identifying disadvantages and prioritizing their reversal. It’s about finding where resources can do the most good for the people that most need help.

Principles of equity influence all operations of the City of Lakewood. Let’s break down a few priority areas:


Any government should act in the interest of its citizens. This requires full representation – the needs and demands of the entire community should influence decisions.

Representation is practiced by the City in several ways. The City values diversity in hiring and has established processes to fairly consider job applicants. People like you work for the City. This, in a way, helps the City think like you. The City recently hired a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Manager to advance this goal.

Representation is also practiced through communication. Is the City easy to reach? The City accepts messages by mail, email, phone calls, social media, MyLakewood311, or even personal visits to City Hall. We take care to make sure that comments are directed to the leaders that need to see them.

Representation is practiced through outreach. Some folks don’t talk directly to the City, but their input is no less important. Sometimes, we have to go and collect input. The City performs surveys, engages with neighborhood groups, and finds other ways to collect opinions to inform decisions.

Regular City Council meetings are open to public comment – residents have an open line to speak to local leaders.

The City uses qualified census tracts to identify neighborhoods that need a lift. These are areas with many low-income residents. These communities are often prioritized for economic development, housing improvement, infrastructure, abatement actions, and other methods to influence positive change.


Government policies can have enduring effects on communities and demographics. The City Council signed an equity statement in 2021 to instill equity as a priority of new policies.

The Public Works department used heat maps and pollution readings to identify low-income communities with reduced air quality – these neighborhoods would especially benefit from roundabouts and other strategies to reduce traffic stagnation.

The Lakewood Station Subarea Plan invites new development in the Lakewood Station District but includes strategies to prevent displacement of current residents.

These are examples of equity in practice: prioritizing the reversal of inequities and mitigating potentially harmful outcomes.


Equity is about serving the underserved or applying resources to the greatest effect. Transportation and infrastructure are great equalizers. Do residents in all areas of Lakewood have access to water, power, parks, transit, sewer, jobs, and other important community assets?

Many properties in the generally lower-income Tillicum neighborhood did not have sewer service. The City recently completed a major project to install sewer service in the neighborhood.

The Tillicum, Woodbrook, and Springbrook neighborhoods are all physically separated from the rest of Lakewood by highways or other barriers. The City and the State made recent road improvement projects to improve access to these communities. The City works with legislators to pursue funding for our neediest neighborhoods, and we prioritize projects to best serve disconnected residents. By 2024, for example, WSDOT will work on a connector path between Gravelly Lake and Thorne Lane to open a non-motorized path between Tillicum and Lake City.

The City also recently invested in Harry Todd Park. The park reopened in 2021 after several months of construction with a new playground, bathrooms, lakefront, piers, landscaping, picnic areas, and other amenities. There are 14 parks spread throughout Lakewood, and every neighborhood has a community park to enjoy. City staff even brought games and activities to the Tillicum and Woodbrook neighborhoods as part of the “Mobile Recreation Program” this summer.


Zoning and land use can have significant effects on outcomes. When neighborhoods become segregated or isolated, progress and economic activity can slow.

City of Lakewood land use and zoning policies attempt to spur healthy growth. The Lakewood Station district, for example, trends lower-income. A new subarea plan will bring more commerce and development to the district. There will be more jobs, more housing, more affordable housing, and more services as a result. The area will also enjoy improved access to transit.

Some areas of the Woodbrook neighborhood have been re-zoned to spur economic growth. Some local properties had gone into abatement and blight had appeared. Local roads were improved, new businesses are operating, and the area is making progress.


The City offers a host of services for residents and communities in need.

Youth in lower-income communities may not have access to paid sports leagues or after-school activities – the City began a Mobile Recreation Program with free activities in low-income neighborhoods.

Housing costs are increasing and many residents may be falling behind – the City has workforce development programs to introduce folks to strong career paths and housing assistance to help folks catch up on rent.

The City seeks input from residents, identifies problems, and delivers services to respond to those problems.

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