State Workers

Sound agency leaving town

The Puget Sound Partnership, the state agency formed three years ago to restore the health of Puget Sound, will officially be located in Tacoma on Wednesday.

Last Thursday and Friday, 36 staff members and administrators cleaned out their desks in the Natural Resources Building in Olympia and in space rented from the City of Seattle and began moving into Tacoma’s new Center for Urban Waters building on the Foss Waterway.

“We’re going to keep a couple of satellite offices – cubicles – in Olympia for when we’ve got work down there, and we’ll probably do the same in Seattle,” said Frank Mendizabal, the partnership’s communications director. “Otherwise, everything will be in Tacoma.”

Workers will be off Monday for the Labor Day holiday and on Tuesday for a state furlough day.

Putting the partnership in the Urban Waters building was part of the original concept for the center. The idea was that the building would be a nexus for environmental research and expertise on the array of problems created by locating large population centers on sensitive water bodies.

In April, 97 City of Tacoma scientists, engineers and environmental inspectors moved into the building shortly after construction was completed.

The building also is the headquarters for the Puget Sound Institute, intended to gather top scientists with cleanup expertise, and for Joel Baker, the University of Washington Tacoma professor who is the center’s science director.

“The Puget Sound Institute and, of course, the University of Washington Tacoma, all their labs and water research stuff is in there, so that will be great for us,” Mendizabal said. “It will put all the science information at our fingertips.”

Rob Carson: 253-597-8693