Bridge Industrial is trying to get a 2.5 million square foot warehouse in South Tacoma permitted (LU21-0125). The City of Tacoma Planning and Development Services department is overseeing the project but so far that office has not indicated a full Environmental Impact Statement will be completed. The proposal estimates that traffic will be increased by 5,000 vehicle trips a day, but the size requires more like 10,000-12,000 new vehicle trips per day.
Comments about this project can be directed to Principal Planner Shirley Schultz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253 345 0879.
Why this Mega Warehouse is Not Good For Our Neighborhoods:
Health Impacts: The proposed warehouse will add 10,000-12,000 new vehicle trips a day in our city. The vehicle exhaust will pollute the air and make local residents sicker. South Tacoma already has the worst air quality, the shortest lifespans, and among the highest incidence of low birth rates and heart disease death rates in all of Pierce County. All these health problems are made much worse due to vehicle emissions. Diesel exhaust is the main contributor to cancer risk from air toxins. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency Community Air Tool and the Department of Health Environmental Health Disparities Map all show South Tacoma as an especially vulnerable and overburdened community, with high levels of environmental injustice and health inequity. The zip codes surrounding the construction include the poorest and most diverse sections of Tacoma, with some of the worst “Health Equity” ratings. National, state and local agencies underscore these concerns in their comment letters on the project.
US EPA Region 10 recommends “a more robust analysis of the project’s impacts to communities with environmental justice [EJ] concerns… EPA is concerned that the project development will further exacerbate a historically over-burdened community.” The State of Washington Department of Health wants the company to “include a justice-focused” approach and “reduce health disparities by promoting environmental justice.” The State of Washington Department of Ecology notes that “HEAL [is] now a statutory obligation. There are clear EJ concerns with the project” and “EJ is a high priority… we strive to eliminate environmental and health disparities by prioritizing communities with EJ concerns.” The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency also identifies “this area as an overburdened community,” while the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department identifies the terrible environmental health disparities of the area a rank of 10/10, short lifespan (6 years shorter than county average), low birth weights, high cardiovascular deaths. Air quality is already worse in South Tacoma due to historic redlining. Industrial warehouses nationwide are more often placed in poor, minority, and overly polluted areas – a classic case of environmental injustice.
Traffic Congestion & Safety: This warehouse complex would interrupt a residential community. Children & adults ride bicycles, walk and play near these streets that also include school crossings. Traffic is already congested in this area during peak travel times and can not support such a massive increase, especially the 56th st I5 freeway exit. Adding this much industrial traffic is counter to the City’s Vision Zero Plan.
Paving Over Our Aquifer: The construction will come within 25 feet of the upper section of salmonid Flett Creek, which joins Chambers Creek and ends up in Chambers Bay of Puget Sound (Salish Sea). Four adjoining wetlands recharge the aquifer below. Instead of nurturing this ecosystem, all but 25 acres of the 150 acre plot of land will be paved over. As climate change continues, we can expect less glacier melt, more summers without rain, and more droughts, causing us to rely more heavily on our aquifers for drinking water. Check out this blog page to learn more.
Loss of Trees & Wetlands: This area has lush tree stands dotted around the property and the creek and wetlands, some of which are scheduled to be razed. South Tacoma is already extremely limited in its tree canopy, green space, and parks. Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s letter in response to this construction asks for an INCREASE in tree canopy by 30% in order to reduce heat island effects in this hottest of neighborhoods. The property currently supports coyotes, red-tailed hawks, a variety of wetland birds, and many types of small mammals, as well as serves as a stopping point for migrating birds. The carbon that is captured, and the cooling effect of the undeveloped land, are important elements in sustaining South Tacoma’s livability in a globally changing climate. Paving over this much green space is in opposition to Tacoma’s Urban Forest Management Plan. Check out this blog for a more in depth look at how trees and wetlands would be impacted.
Climate: This project is in opposition to Tacoma’s Climate Emergency Declaration & Climate Action Plan. The greenhouse gas emissions from the buildings & associated vehicles will be significant. The climate action plan also claims it “centers equity, anti-racism, and transformation” and it “will take action for healthy, affordable housing; clean, reliable transportation; and green, good-paying jobs”. The placement of this facility in an already overburdened & formerly redlined neighborhood is clearly not centering equity and anti-racism.
Quality of Jobs Created: While touted as an opportunity for family wage job creation, that is unlikely to happen. Truck drivers and last mile delivery drivers are often not high-wage or union jobs. Some warehouse employers, such as Amazon, hold a reputation for terrible working conditions. Potentially using automated equipment in the warehouses could reduce the number of jobs created. The Teamsters No 28 are opposed to this proposed warehouse complex as well as United Food & Commercial Workers Local 367.
Risk of More Salmon Die-offs: The complex will have an extremely concentrated presence of vehicles as a functioning warehouse. We’ve known since 2020 that the culprit in Pacific Northwest salmon die-offs is from the tiny amounts of chemicals shed by tires and washed into waterways. “Samples taken from urban streams around Puget Sound, near Seattle, and subsequent laboratory work identified a substance called 6PPD, which is used as a preservative for car tires, as the toxic chemical responsible for killing the salmon.” The newly paved 125 acres of land will have stormwater catchments trying to control run-off – right within 25 feet of the upper reaches of Flett Creek, which “conveys to Chambers Creek” according to Bridge Industrial’s own submitted materials. Chambers Creek is a salmonid creek and empties into Puget Sound. Can you just imagine what will happen during one of our atmospheric rivers?
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