Bear in North Tacoma

So there are bears in North Tacoma? Somebody got a photo of a bear hanging out near 6th & Pearl yesterday. Around 8am this morning it was captured in a ravine next to Highway 16. Wildlife agents plan to relocate the adolescent male.

Agents used tranquilizer darts to sedate the bear. Initially after being shot, the bear ran off, and it took another 1/2 hour of searching to locate the sleepy little guy.

I have to wonder where the heck it came from. If I had to venture a guess, I’d say someone brought it here, either to be a pet or a cruel joke on the surrounding neighborhoods. We have plenty of deer in the north end, but I’ve never even heard of a bear sighting. If it wasn’t brought here by someone, are we to assume there are more bears around here?

North end walking

I took my first walk through the north end with my daughter in a stroller and my faithful puppy dog earlier today. While it has always been apparent that the neighborhood is walkable, it occurred to me that I couldn’t ask for a better place to raise a child in this region.

During a 45-minute walk, I encountered very few cars, enjoyed smiles from several other walkers and enjoyed the nice, smooth sidewalks some of us may take for granted. Never have I lived anywhere with better sidewalks. The city recently forced many residents to pay for sidewalk repairs, mostly due to tree-root damage. At first this seemed unreasonable to me, but today I realized the benefits.

Little kids, skateboards, strollers, inline skates, wheelchairs… whatever it is you use to travel our sidewalks, you should have no trouble getting from point A to point B. Just another reason North Tacoma is the best neighborhood in the world.

Block party!

My neighborhood, as I’ve mentioned plenty of times before, is perhaps the greatest ever. Really. I live in North Tacoma, and I enjoy what seems to be the greatest community in existence. As you would expect from any top-shelf neighborhood, we are having our block party this evening. After all, it is the official “Night Out” day where you are supposed to get out and rub elbows with the people near you. Familiarizing yourself with the people living nearby just may come in handy if a big earthquake, power outage, flood, or something like Red Dawn should occur.

Everyone from blocks around heads out into the middle of the street (we close it down with big signs and everything) and we fire up a couple bbq’s, set up dessert and condiment tables, tables and chairs for eating, a guestbook… you know, everything. If you aren’t doing this in your neighborhood, start organizing it now for next year. You’ll be surprised how little effort it takes when several people work together. There is a donation box at our gathering where people drop a couple bucks in to pay for the Costco supplies. It only cost about $120 for all the burgers, dogs, buns, chips and plates we need to feed about 100 people. Based on the first letter of their last names, participating neighbors bring either sides/salads or desserts, and suddenly you have a full-on spread capable of feeding an army.

We have a preliminary planning meeting months before the big day to make sure everybody’s still on the same page, and to gather new ideas for fun and entertainment after all the food has been consumed. We have tried things like bingo, group kazoo performances, sidewalk chalk, homemade putt-putt golf holes.. We’ve even been graced by local firemen and their trucks, neighborhood unicycles, music groups.. the list goes on and on.

The big picture or overall goal is to reduce crime by strengthening the community fabric in every corner of the city. While this is great, I prefer to focus on meeting new neighbors and re-acquainting myself with neighbors I already know but don’t see much during the “dark” months. This reminds me: name tags! Crucial! It’s outstanding not to have to play the “I forgot your name” game. Splat your name tag proudly on your chest and make sure you write in big letters. You’ll be seeing the theme song to Cheers! in no time flat.