Over the course of time the Pierce County has been under the control of Executive Bruce Dammeier, the building and devastation of ecological resources has been incredible. In his early years, with a Republican majority on the County Council, he proposed the City of Pierce, an area bounded by 112th Street on the north, 176th Street on the south, Pacific Avenue on the west and Meridian on the east. The proposal included high rise apartments with stores on their main floors on each of these major roads. The intent was to pack in living areas in the unincorporated part of the county. once again, the proposal did not include a budget to build the necessary infrastructure from schools and fire department support to sidewalks and wider roadways.
Then, there was a development on 208th Street in the Frederickson area that was originally supposed to be a lumber mill. The mill failed to materialize, but permits were redirected to construct a neighborhood of warehouses in a former cow pasture where migratory birds used to land by the thousands. The small stream that drained forested wetlands south of the parcel to Clover Creek and its underground water supply was subjected to a bulldozer. Scraped flat, it was replaced by an underground pipe to a retention pond in an opposite corner of the development. A gigantic warehouse now sits on top of 10 feet of fill dirt where the stream used to flow.
The middle of Pierce County sits on a sole source aquifer. There are Federal regulations regarding construction, infiltration and damage to these areas. Somewhere along the way, players such as Dammeier and former State Senator Steve O’Ban who is currently acting as Executive Counsel and the former Executive Council who was also the former Mayor of the City of Lakewood have not only denuded or sidestepped regulations regarding sole source aquifers, they also seems to have had a neutralizing effect on the Washington State Department of Ecology, who should be watching over and putting a halt to much of this devastation.
Apparently, there are many unfilled positions in the Washington DOE, causing them to have little to no time to deal with watching over the rot in Pierce County’s ecological conservation. A glimpse at Clover Creek either side of the Brookdale development of the former golf course shows a major creek with branches that used to feed it from both north and south, and it was totally dry from July into December. Dry, parched, nothing wet in the creek bed at all from the Brookdale development to where Spanaway Creek flows in from the Tule Lake area. Of course, back in Lakewood, there was water, so what’s the problem, right?
Letters between members of the Clover Chambers Watershed Council show a group of experienced creek watchers are livid. But, the Council itself is denuded by its structure. The Council is run by employees of the Pierce County Surface Water Management Department, and the employees will not let the Council member speak out on “political” or controversial issues. Issues like, there is no creek anymore. Or why, planning is allowing variances that wave laws about setbacks for water bodies so certain types of developments can be allowed where they really should not be built. Ask any neighbor if the entire Brookdale development should have been approved. A good flood in the next few years will be a clue.
According to online sources, Bruce Dammeier attended Curtis High School in University Place, graduated from the US Naval Academy with a bachelors in Ocean Engineering, and has a Master of Science in Engineering from the University of Washington. He was a Civil Engineer Corps office with the Navy. He lives in Puyallup where he was on the school board for several years and ran a printing business the family owned. He was also a developer, but that does not show in his resume. At the time he was elected to Executive, he had four different development businesses listed with the state, there is now only one.
The purpose for this story? I am issuing a warning and I am critically serious. In 2024, this County Executive, handsome and sweet as he may appear, and he does seem like a really nice guy when you meet him, please, look deeper. During his time in office, much damage had occurred to the ecology of Pierce County’s outer reaches. Please, please, don’t let him ever be governor. There is a solid chance he could and would ruin the entire state. Bye by orca, goodbye.