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Should Hilltop have its name restored

by Urban E
on 10/10/2010 @ 8:16am
Recently I've been involved in some serious discussions about dropping the name Upper Tacoma (off the face of the earth imo) and changing the business district name from Upper Tacoma Business District to something that has Hilltop in it. While in the past I may have said some crazy things via this blog in disagreement over others opinion about a particular topic. I very much value every member of my community's voice on something that seems to be very personal. Hard for me to beleive but I have come across those that refuse to associate where they live/work as being Hilltop.

by NineInchNachos on 10/10/2010 @ 8:33am
I like Hilltop. It has a history. Neighborhoods are not corporations, you can't change the name and expect people to forget..

by fredo on 10/10/2010 @ 8:34am
Urban, good topic. I lived on the Hilltop for a few years and have a fondness for it.

To me, the term Upper Tacoma sounds a bit clumsy and perhaps too highbrow . The one word descriptor-Hilltop is better.

But another change is also in order to get this neighbor moving again. We are going to have to get rid of the street name Martin Luther King. King had no association with Tacoma and communities have slapped his name on thoroughfares in disadvantaged neighborhoods so frequently that it is now just a euphemism for poor neighborhood where businesses would not wish to open. No dishonor to Dr. King but this name is an albatross around the neck of the Upper Tacoma visionaries such as yourself. Isn't 20 years of stagnation sufficient proof?

by intacoma on 10/10/2010 @ 9:27am
Hilltop has a lot of pride with the people that live there upper tacoma is fake

by The Jinxmedic on 10/10/2010 @ 12:04pm
Nothing wrong with having South K Street back. Name something (anything) MLK, and you have instant negative stigma. I don't think Dr. King would have liked the way that has worked out throughout the country.

(This goes for "renamed" King County, too.)

by Urban E on 10/10/2010 @ 12:26pm
Fredo, I understand your thoughts about the MLK name and I do agree it does appear that the MLK name only seems to be in distressed neighborhoods that appear to never move forward. Could it be those aleady distressed neighborhoods wanted something that had cultural signifigance for themselves? Or in Tacoma's case, It's my understanding that when 23rd and Kst was mentioned everyone associated that with the most infamous corner in Tacoma. So when it became 23rd and MLK it didn't receive the same reaction. Not really sure why a street name would have any effect on the status or potential of a neighborhood so maybe one of the brillant planners out there could give us some insight. What's that guys name people are always praising around here? Shoop?
@Jinx, I almost feel like you just have a hard time saying MLK and being proud of it no matter what the context.

by ixia on 10/10/2010 @ 12:59pm
"Name something (anything) MLK, and you have instant negative stigma"
The negative stigma depends on your personal mindset. To me, there is no stigma attached to the name Martin Luther King - quite the opposite. In my opinion, Custer Road needs to be scrapped; and Columbus Day.

by Nick on 10/10/2010 @ 2:45pm
Honestly, changing the "official" name of a neighborhood is almost entirely meaningless. Everyone I know, including myself, still refers to Hilltop as Hilltop. It's the vernacular of the community that defines a neighborhood's name, not documents, maps, or signage.

I think sometimes we have it backwards when we try to change the name of something in this way. To me it happens in one direction - a community names a place, and the signs/maps/etc. reflect the chosen name. Go the other direction and it's almost guaranteed to fail.

.... so yes, let's change it back to what we've all never stopped calling it: Hilltop.

by Maria on 10/10/2010 @ 2:47pm
I haven't heard the term "Upper Tacoma" even once in conversation. Is this an official Tacoma thing that the name changed? Most people I know still call it Hilltop.

I don't really see the relevance of changing terms to the goal of community transformation. Is this like changing a kid's name from Walter to Reginald to help with academic achievement?

A good example is the formerly crime-ridden Brooklyn. Years of cleaning up crime, economic development and a more diverse population, it's still "Brooklyn" not "Lower Manhattan," but the conditions that allowed crime and poverty to flourish have changed.

by Erik on 10/10/2010 @ 5:33pm
I haven't heard the term "Upper Tacoma" even once in conversation.

Me either. It's a joke for local Tacomans. Everyone still uses Hilltop.

Upper Tacoma is also useless for a name because it is nonsubstantive. There is nothing in the name. It's basically politically correct pablum which no one ever liked and which never caught on.

Yes, the word Hilltop has admittedly had some damage to their brand.

However, Hilltop implies views and view property is usually seen as a premium.

Since Upper Tacoma never really got used, might as well change it back to Hilltop officially.

by fredo on 10/10/2010 @ 6:29pm
"In my opinion, Custer Road needs to be scrapped" ixia

If it's defined by squalor and disinvestment like MLK Way then I would agree.

by dolly varden on 10/10/2010 @ 7:53pm
I thought the renaming of Hilltop was already a failed experiment. Who doesn't call it Hilltop?

I'd like to see MLK extended to the North End. It's creepy to have the name end once you hit the traditionally less diverse neighborhood.

by fredo on 10/10/2010 @ 8:05pm
Wouldn't it make more sense to stop naming streets after people? These names tend to carry a lot of baggage and perhaps some negative associations. King was a wonderful person and a great leader but that doesn't mean that his name will not cause disinvestment in a neighborhood. Open your eyes and take a look.

Those commenters that think MLK is a good name for a street, why don't you buy some property over there (there's plenty available) and develop it on behalf of the community? What are you waiting for? This is your golden opportunity.

by morgan on 10/10/2010 @ 8:09pm
"Upper Tacoma" is the name of the business district which covers everything from Tacoma Ave up to Sprague. Like our neighborhood council districts, its boundaries and names are fairly arbitrary, but you have to start somewhere, I guess.

by dolly varden on 10/10/2010 @ 8:44pm
Fredo, how do you know people here aren't already invested in Hilltop and/or aren't regular patrons of the good establishments already there? There are lots of businesses on MLK that show positive investment in the neighborhood. The Tempest, 1022 South, Quickie Too, and Pho King are all great.

by fredo on 10/10/2010 @ 8:54pm
"Fredo, how do you know people here aren't already invested in Hilltop?"

Simple observation. I drive down the street and compare what I see to the way it was before the street was renamed. Lots of leveled lots, lots of for lease signs, boarded up buildings. Yes, there is some activity there but there's also considerable disinvestment.

by Erik on 10/10/2010 @ 9:15pm
Perhaps the question is when is Tacoma going to care enough about Hilltop to make it a priority to start rebuilding it?

Giving Hilltop an LID would certainly be a good start:

Hilltops main corridor, Martin Luther King Jr. Way, has been identified by city officials as ideal for economic development. A thriving retail district decades ago, this area has struggled in recent times. Tacoma City Council members discussed its potential during their Oct. 5 study session.

Peter Huffman from the citys Community and Economic Development Department discussed master planning for mixed-use centers around the city. The MLK corridor is one of eight picked for this process.

Considerable resources have been allocated to the MLK mixed-use center. This includes $400,000 the city provided for a local improvement district (LID) and a $100,000 planning grant from the state.

Huffman said Randy Cook from architectural firm BCRA has been hired to take various Hilltop plans and tie them together, and plan out costs for the LID.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/10/2010 @ 9:57pm
Thai Garden, Pho King, Pho Bac, Your Fish House, Johnson Candy, Tempest. Quickie Too, Le Le, 1022 South, Save A Lot, Safeway, a couple of bodegas, probably a few places I've missed. Have some of you people actually been on hilltop? There is more going on in the hilltop area than there is going on downtown. Why do people feel that they have to slam hilltop? Make yourself less insecure about the pitiful downtown we have?

by fredo on 10/10/2010 @ 10:33pm
I never said the neighborhood didn't have anything going for it.

Thirty years ago there were many more businesses on both sides of K Street. The name of the street was changed. Now it's less prosperous. I can't prove the name change caused the disinvestment in the neighborhood, but nobody has been able to refute it either. Just on the chance that the name is a problem, why don't we change it back to K street? What does the city have to lose? I doubt if King will mind, he's no longer alive. Maybe we could a name a street that runs through a park, like 5 mile drive, after Mr. King. No risk of disinvestment there. In retrospect it was a good idea that didn't pan out. Admit it and move on.

by debivans on 10/10/2010 @ 10:50pm
I have been a Hilltop resident for almost 6 months now and I really like living here. Seems almost peaceful at times. I love the central feel to it. I can get downtown with easy freeway access, the North End, 6th Ave district all within a minute or two by car and five to ten minutes on foot. Or I can just hunker down in my hood and soak up the Hillness.

I previously lived in Federal Way for eight years and that seemed far more sketchy than Hilltop. It's nice here plus really easy on the wallet! Parking isn't a hassle. I dig my building, The Pennington, it has charm without being a complete dump.

As far as Hilltop being called Upper Tacoma, I wasn't aware of this until I came across this discussion. Never heard anyone use the term "Upper Tacoma" and I never plan on describing where I live using somebody's idea of a remarketing moniker for Hilltop.

I also think poor old distant Pluto should be given back its "planet" status. I mean c'mon, Pluto needs all the help it can get out there.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/10/2010 @ 10:58pm
I miss Browne's Star Grill. 30 years ago I could have lunch at Browne's Star Grill. Frankly I have more lunch choices on hilltop today. Seriously, it is much better up on MLK than it was 30 years ago, at least lunch wise. I know a few businesses have closed their door over the years, but we also have a lot of survivors and new comers. It wouldn't take much to have MLK rival 6th Avenue.

by Urban E on 10/11/2010 @ 7:15am
@ Crenshaw, I miss Brownes too. I haven't been able to have breakfast in Hilltop since it closed. I know people like to sometimes include the Wright Park area as being in Hilltop but it only seems to be when there are problems in and around the park.
@ Fredo, No I can't refute the name change from Kst to MLK as being a cause of disinvestment but it really holds no water. Kst was in a state of decline before the name change and that I am sure off and like dt I blame the loss of its thriving business district on the mall.
@Erik, thanks posting the info relating to the subarea planning etc, Some comments came out of that study session that don't sit well with me and that would be the fact that our elected officials don't seem to have faith in the MLK LID. They have never even provided a petition to gain any insight if it will be supported or not so for Mr Fey to say he doubts it will be supported is only his personal opinion and not factual.

by wildcelticrose on 10/11/2010 @ 9:22am
I do not live in "New Tacoma"

I live in an historic home on the historic Hilltop. (hey, the sign on a pole at the park across the street says so ;)

I gag just a bit when driving down the hill when I see those "New Tacoma" signs.

by fredo on 10/11/2010 @ 9:24am
good rose. I enjoyed the story about your sewing machine, nice find!

by Erik on 10/11/2010 @ 10:17am
@Urban E and Fredo: It's amazing how complacent and resigned everyone seems to be that that Hilltop sits years after year in such a vacant and blighted condition.

The area has been in this condition so long it is easy to acclimate to its current condition as being normal and even endearing.

If one brought in 10 visitors to Hilltop business district who had never been to Tacoma before, they would not rate the area very good. Yet I think the fear of being politically incorrect has held back Tacoma from really addressing the problems of Hilltop.

When is it Hilltop's time to get renovated?

An LID would certainly be a good place to start for Hilltop. The Broadway LID has been credited with bringing in McMenamins to Tacoma.

Maybe someone should start a Fix up Hilltop Facebook page.

by fredo on 10/11/2010 @ 10:51am
"It's amazing how complacent and resigned everyone seems to be that that Hilltop sits years after year in such a vacant and blighted condition." Erik

Good comment, but I hope you didn't interpret anything I've said as favoring complacency. I've been commenting about the issue of redevelopment problems on the Hilltop for quite a while.

Would a MLK LID revive the district in the way the downtown LID revived the McMennamin's project? Perhaps. Do a majority of property owners want the LID and how much would they be willing to tax themselves?

Here are two obstacles to Hilltop Redevelopment:

1. Developers are going to be shy about jumping into anything named Martin Luther King. MLK is a euphemism for impoverishment. As long as the name exists development money is going to have to come from the public sector.

2. The cost of new brick & mortar businesses is just too high in todays' economy. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to run a spreadsheet to show that business plans will not pencil out. A minimum wage employee (FTE) costs $25,000 per year without benefits. Plug these numbers into many business plans and you're left with a lot of red ink. Why else would storefronts remain vacant?

My solution: The city should return the name of the street to K Street, and voters should elect representatives who might favor a repeal or modification of the minimum wage law.

by dolly varden on 10/11/2010 @ 1:19pm
"MLK is euphemism for impoverishment."

Is Fredo just trying to be provocative here, or is (s)he; nuts/racist? Just curious.

by fredo on 10/11/2010 @ 1:30pm

"MLK is euphemism for impoverishment"

If you can refute this, please do so. If you can't refute it, then admit that the name could be hobbling development.

by morgan on 10/11/2010 @ 2:16pm
I think Hilltop has come a long ways over the past couple decades- at least as far as residential real estate goes. I was floored when I first saw an asking price of over $400K a few years back!

However, having worked commercial real estate on the hill, I am quite aware of of the perception - and stigma - the area has resulting from the gang wars of the 80s.

by tacoma1 on 10/11/2010 @ 3:04pm
dolly varden
The answers to your questions in order are:
Probably, and probably not/definitely yes

Using Fredo's theory, (Martin Luther) King County should be the weak sister in Washington State, not our beloved Pierce County.

Pierce Co. is of course named after Franklin Pierce, our 14th
president and a white guy.

The virtually unchecked gang activity in the 80's, and the felon dumping (just blocks away) allowed and encouraged by our Washington State Corrections dept. has, and continues to scare away any developer whether the street was named K, MLK, the Yellow Brick Road, or Ronnie Reagan Dimensia Blvd.

by fredo on 10/11/2010 @ 3:22pm
My theory is that a unfortunate name for the main street in a depressed area may be contributing to disinvestment in the area. It's not racist to make a simple observation, and no one has refuted my theory. Even if you find a neighborhood somewhere in the US where the designation of MLK has not caused disinvestment, that doesn't mean that it is not happening here.

Don't let your Kum-ba-ya-ness blind you. If changing the name back to K street would bring prosperity to the neighborhood, would you still want the street named MLK just to spite Fredo?

by tacoma1 on 10/11/2010 @ 4:06pm
Fredo, if your theory was correct, J st and L st would be substantially better off than MLK. They aren't, despite not being saddled with such an "unfortunate name" as you put it.

Why do houses on North Adams street sell for more than houses on South Adams street? Could it be the name, or could it be the perception of crime?

And yes it is racist to blame the poverty of a neighborhood on the race of the person a street is named after. It's the crime and felon dumping, not the name.

by fredo on 10/11/2010 @ 4:39pm
Part of the blogging experience is to join a discussion with many disparate comments and opinions. This is a grassroots sounding board. Referring to commenters as racists just because one doesn't understand the commentary or the issues involved seems a bit off-putting.

For the record I am in favor of a prosperous Tacoma with residents of all races enjoying a good quality of life and gainfully employed. If naming streets after controversial historical figures brings us prosperity I'm all for it. So far this doesn't seem to be working.

by ixia on 10/11/2010 @ 5:43pm
"controversial historical figures"
Yeah - your true colors are screaming loud.

by panachronic on 10/11/2010 @ 8:19pm
"Using Fredo's theory, (Martin Luther) King County should be the weak sister in Washington State, not our beloved Pierce County.

Pierce Co. is of course named after Franklin Pierce, our 14th
president and a white guy."

Yes, and Pierce's Vice President was William R. King, whom King County was named after while it was still part of Oregon. It was renamed for the civil rights leader in the 80s... tacky as hell but just too big of a pandering opportunity to pass up, I guess.

by NineInchNachos on 10/11/2010 @ 8:38pm
the new MLK king county logo is much nicer than the old king county crown logo. Obviously 'fredo theory' is completely false else we'd be getting all the cool transit projects.. where's my lightrail expansion damn it!

by dolly varden on 10/11/2010 @ 10:10pm
Tacky is in the eye of the beholder, panachronic.

Fredo, the name MLK only inhibits investment and patronage by racists. Hilltop doesn't need racists, and neither does anywhere else.

But there's a deeper and more insidious element to Fredo's line of argument that for some stupid reason I feel compelled to bother unpacking.

Before the civil rights movement, back when there were no streets named after MLK, the African American community tended to live in relatively self-contained neighborhoods (like Hilltop or Seattle's Central Area) within larger cities due to being unwelcome elsewhere. Those neighborhoods, like a lot of ethnic "ghettos," tended to be functional because people were pretty much forced to live there and make the best of it.

The backlash to the civil rights movement, which I'm sure was endorsed by Fredo's ideological forefathers, helped facilitate "white flight" from central neighborhoods in bigger cities all over the country, and many of the people who remained in those deteriorating neighborhoods were the ones who didn't have the means to get out. That left Hilltop and lots of other neighborhoods like it around the country in pretty bad shape in the 1970s and '80s. The decline started well before Empire Way or K Street were renamed in Dr. King's honor.

In the 1990s and 2000s, more middle and upper middle class whites (and blacks) started returning to central cities. This is very evident in Seattle's Central Area and South End (through which MLK Way runs). It's also evident on Hilltop, although that neighborhood, like the rest of Tacoma, didn't reap the benefits of the pre-great recession boom to the extent that King County did.

That brings us to today. Even in Pierce County, people are starting to understand the amenities of living in central urban neighborhoods. The scars associated with segregation and the backlash to the civil rights movement are still visible but they're receding. MLK is embraced by the mainstream. Urban disinvestment hit Hilltop hard in the 1980s and early '90s, but it continues to improve (albeit frustratingly slowly for anyone who cares about the neighborhood and Tacoma in general) in spite of the recession.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/11/2010 @ 10:26pm
I spent most of my formative childhood years growing up in the hill. 23rd & M, baby!
I remember the drive bys. I remember color flying. I remember the Drug Copter.
You know what? The hill has come a LONG way since the 80s. It's not fully healed yet, but we're a good portion of the way there.
If the city has any brains (which I have come to be cynical about), an MLK LID with streetcars would do wonders for the hill.

As for Fredo and his nomenclature argument, he has missed option #3, which is likely the correct one: bad timing.
In the 60s-90s, nearly all urban locations suffered decline due to the rise of the suburbs, the malls and incredibly poor planning dictates from HUD, etc.
This coincides with the racial tensions surrounding civil rights and the lifetime & untimely death of Dr King.
Unfortunately, many cities (Tacoma and Seattle included) suffered from "white flight", in which the wealthier white folks fled to the burbs, taking their $$$ with them, leaving the less wealthy minorities behind.
Less income will depress prices, thus reducing a city's tax money, thus reducing services, reducing upkeep, etc, thus reducing property values, etc. Classic vicious cycle.
Most municipalities who decide to rename a street tend to go the "politically correct" route and will put streets named for MLK in more black-dominated areas, which have tended to be lower income due to the inequalities in the system, and (of course), old fashioned racism.
You'll notice that Seattle's MLK has certainly improved with the addition of the Link and developer $$$.

So then, to answer Fredo's question: does the name MLK bring poverty?
The answer is no. All cities ever tend to do is name things for MLK in already impoverished neighborhoods.

Says something interesting about our society, doesn't it?

So, it took me so long to type this (because I am a sucky typist), that Dolly Varden beat me to this explanation. Great minds think alike.

by Erik on 10/12/2010 @ 1:22am
Great posts Dolly and Thorax. I think the name and poverty are correlative, not causative.

by fredo on 10/12/2010 @ 7:35am
"to answer Fredo's question: does the name MLK bring poverty?"

I was providing a theory more than a question. Disliking a theory is not the same as refuting a theory. There are certainly many reasons, some suggested by Dolly and Thorax, for the problems of the Hilltop. But those reasons don't disprove my theory that the name MLK may cause neighborhood disinvestment.

Sometimes the truth is a hard thing to swallow. There are probably people every day who are told by their doctor they have stomach cancer, who go home and tell everyone they have a tummy ache.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/12/2010 @ 10:21am
Outside of Helen Ritts insurance leaving hilltop because of the name change I can't think of another business that left because the name of the street was changed. Helen Ritts moved to the
Stadium district but finally ended up in Lakewood. It seems that her arguments about the costs of changing her stationery held little water.

by fredo on 10/12/2010 @ 11:32am
In order to honor Dr. Martin Luther King many communities decided to name streets after him. That was the case in Tacoma. Although Dr. King stood for bringing economic progress and reparations to minorities the streets named after him were frequently in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Instead of renaming one of our finest streets like Union Ave or Proctor Street after King, Tacoma city officials decided to rename a arterial street located in one of our poorest neighborhoods. Wouldn't it have been a greater honor to Dr. King to rename a fine street rather than a poor street in a state of decline? One might argue that the naming of street in the middle of a slum after Dr. King was a racist act.

Certainly more racist than having a blogger call attention to the problem.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/12/2010 @ 11:39am
Maybe the rest of K street in Tacoma needs to be named after Dr. King. Not just the bit that runs through Hilltop. I'd be in favor of that, K street does run through the north end and the south end. Why end the naming of the street in the Hilltop area? We should bring this to the attention of our mayor and see that justice is done in the honor of Dr. King.

by dolly varden on 10/12/2010 @ 1:01pm
CS - I suggested that earlier in this thread -- I like the idea -- all you have to do to the existing street signs is add an "ML." The mayor and council ought to support this -- it sounds like Fredo might be on board too.

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 10/12/2010 @ 1:21pm
I don't think naming the street after Dr. King has hurt at all. For crying out loud there is even a Vietnamese noodle place on MLK called Pho King.

by Maria on 10/12/2010 @ 1:46pm
Fredo: "My theory is that a unfortunate name for the main street in a depressed area may be contributing to disinvestment in the area."

This is a classic example of a logical fallacy called "Correlation proves causation." When considering two events or things, one should not assert a cause-effect relationship where none exists or cannot be proven.

e.g., Maria lives on London Avenue in Tacoma. Because London is a city where English is spoken, and Maria grew up on a street named London...Maria speaks English.

More likely much of the economic and social struggles of Hilltop are the result of larger historical factors and have zero to do with the renaming of the street.

Renaming my own home street "Warren Buffet Avenue" without making efforts to increase my income and investing knowledge would likely have little effect on the bank accounts of myself and/or my neighbors.

The fact that your statement is illogical and unlikely, Fredo, doesn't mean it isn't true. (It's possible my foreign-born parents taught me English exactly because they loved the street name.) Because it's not an intrinsically true statement, it would be important to provide some evidence (economic studies, city auditor reports, council records, etc.) that link the two. Otherwise it sounds, well, silly.

Anyway, I personally love and am very fond of the Hilltop area. I think it's one of Tacoma's gems. Yeah, there's a need for more economic development and community initiatives, but look at how much progress has been made since the 80's.

Perhaps a Hilltop LID would be a good idea. I'm surprised there isn't one in place already.

by fredo on 10/12/2010 @ 2:38pm
"one should not assert a cause-effect relationship where none exists or cannot be proven." maria

I asserted no cause-effect relationship. I don't know what's causing the disinvestment in the hilltop. I suggested a theory that the MLK name might be a factor in the disinvestment. I observed that MLK Way had more prosperity before the name change then afterward. I'll stand by that observation. I've been here 33 years so I know. Earlier some commenters claimed that the disinvestment was caused by the perception of crime or felon releases. You know what? That's not a provable cause-effect relationship either, but nobody cited the "logical fallacy."

I don't have the funds or time to test my theory, but the city of Tacoma has plenty of people sitting around at Economic Development who could study the street name and development conflicts. Don't kill the messenger because you don't like the message.

by fredo on 10/12/2010 @ 2:50pm
"More likely much of the economic and social struggles of Hilltop are the result of larger historical factors" maria

Wait a minute, I thought you just said a cause-effect relationship should not be asserted where it can not be proven. Your claim that the problems are the result of historical factors can't be proven. Why invalidate your own advice?

by Maria on 10/12/2010 @ 4:29pm
Just because your statement of cause and effect is untrue doesn't make all statements citing cause and effect untrue. That's another fallacy...proof by example.

I've lived in this area for 32 years, so I've seen / read about / researched the ups and downs of the Hilltop area (and Tacoma in general) too. Honestly, I don't see the renaming of K Street as a downward juncture...rather, economic and community vitality has improved.

Here are some articles that point to larger historical forces that hurt Hilltop (and Tacoma, and actually, Pierce County) over the past 30 years. Some of the factors include the national crack epidemic that hit inner cities in the 1980's, the rise of gangs, the flight of the white middle class from the inner city, increases in the number of absentee landlords, lax housing codes allowing properties to decline, etc. I'd also suggest the coming of the Tacoma Mall and decline of retail in urban areas as a contributing factor, though I can't find any studies to prove that.

I'm thinking someone must have done a larger, more in-depth economic or historical research project about Tacoma and particularly the Hilltop that addresses some of the contributing factors leading to the rise in crime and poverty....but I couldn't find it in a quick search.

Bottom line for me is not just what messed things up, but how do we as good neighbors help support this community and see continued progress. Again, perhaps the LID idea is a good place to start?

by KevinFreitas on 10/12/2010 @ 4:38pm
Aside from pointless cause/effect arguments I think Hilltop should be Hilltop. That's absolutely what I call it and there are totally some gems of businesses up there not to mention a lot of passionate residents that love their place in Tacoma.

This "Upper Tacoma" and "New Tacoma" stuff is lamesauce. It's Hilltop and Downtown respectively. Don't try to rename something (like an area of town or a street) to try and pawn that off as revitalization. Sometimes the common vernacular (cough! Pacific Plaza cough!) is exactly what something should be named.

by fredo on 10/12/2010 @ 4:46pm
The problem we're talking about is not a chemistry or physics experiment where proof is going to be empirically determined. There is no way to prove that changing the name of K street contributed to the decline of the neighborhood. Neither is it possible to prove that building codes, landlords etc. have contributed. Just because you don't like one of possibilities doesn't mean it's not a possibility.

Why don't we change the name back and see what happens? Wouldn't it be glorious if we could jump start the Hilltop with the only expense being a couple hundred street signs?

Regarding the LID. This really is up to the property owners. If you can't find a majority of owners who want a LID then you can't have a LID. The city is pretty much broke so I wouldn't venture a guess when a city contribution might be forthcoming. Five years? Ten years? Twenty years? who knows?

by debivans on 10/12/2010 @ 6:33pm
Special K St. or MiLK St. Both could be used because what's one without the other?

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/12/2010 @ 8:33pm
Interesting to note: 12th runs from Tacoma Ave all the way down to Linden. That's quite literally clear across town for a length of about 6 miles. Yet only the 1.5 miles from Tacoma Ave to Sprague are renamed for Earnest S Brazill.

It's worth noting that the Rev. Brazill had a LOT of influence in Tacoma, particularly in Hilltop during the 50s and 60s. To a lot of people he was a hero.

by fredo on 10/13/2010 @ 7:18am
Well, Urban E. you asked what people thought about your proposal to change the name of the Upper Tacoma Business District to the Hilltop Business District.

Judging from the postings I would say you have very widespread support for this effort. Good luck Mr. Urban E!

by Urban E on 10/13/2010 @ 7:34am
Thank you Sir.. It is Sir right? Yes I believe I have the consenus I was asked to get before making any drastic decisions, it was a no brainer imo. I did find it interesting that people were not aware that the name Upper Tacoma was even used especially since the city uses it quite frequently. It will be nice to not have to hear the where is Upper Tac jokes when representing the district at various out of town functions. Your spin on the MLK name brought some interesting discussion in my own mixed race home and while is was agreed that your comments had some merit to them but it was also agreed that they did not necessarily apply to Tacoma because our MLK is so close to downtown and future development will have no where else to go but up.

by fredo on 10/13/2010 @ 12:16pm
It is.

by L.S.Erhardt on 10/13/2010 @ 7:00pm
" was also agreed that they did not necessarily apply to Tacoma because our MLK is so close to downtown and future development will have no where else to go but up."

Hence "upper Tacoma"?