Bates Celebrates 80 Years of Changing Lives

Eighty years ago, technical education in Tacoma began in the basement of Hawthorne Elementary School. Today, Bates Technical College serves some 3,000 students on three campuses and it’s still growing.

“Our premier staff and faculty, coupled with our diverse and motivated student body, will allow us to enter into this anniversary year and beyond with renewed purpose and optimism,” said Dr. Lin Zhou, president. The college shows no sign of slowing down.

A new building at the downtown campus will open in 2021. The Center for Allied Health Education will provide in-demand health programs in high-tech facilities to train skilled employees for expanding health care needs.

Also planned is a fire service training center. It will allow the college to continue to offer comprehensive, quality, fire service training in a larger, updated facility.

Bates offers Associate in Applied Science degrees (AAS), certificates of competency and certificates of training in hundreds of career areas, Dr. Zhou explained as she reflected on the college’s role.

On September 4, 1940, the vocational education program opened in the Hawthorne basement on Tacoma’s east side in an area now known as the Dome District. The historic school was demolished in 1981, but the vocational institute established itself in central Tacoma.

In 1947, Tacoma School District hired L. H. Bates as the school’s director. Bates retired in 1969, and the institute was renamed to honor him: L. H. Bates Vocational Technical Institute. Vocational institutes were removed from local school district supervision in 1991.

Today Bates serves some 3,000 career training students and 10,000 more community members in programs such as continuing education, child studies, high school, and allied health. “Bates has provided members of the Tacoma community with a place to further their careers for 80 years,” Dr. Zhou said, “and we will continue to do so for many more.”

For Additional Information

Bates Technical College


Providing Care for Possible COVID-19 Patients

TRA Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging Northwest are serving as a triage center for imaging during this major national crisis.

TRA Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging Northwest are shifting gears to care for patients under evaluation for possible COVID-19. Starting immediately sites will only be seeing symptomatic patients (experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough and shortness of breath) for urgent X-ray and CT exams at the TRA Lakewood location.

At TRA Medical Imaging and Diagnostic Imaging Northwest, providing safe, high quality care is our #1 priority as we navigate the challenges of flattening the curve of COVID-19. By creating a dedicated imaging center for symptomatic patients needing urgent X-ray and CT exams, we intend to serve as a relief valve for hospital emergency departments that are likely to be overwhelmed. We also recognize that reducing exposure for non-COVID patients (including our vulnerable populations) at our remaining TRA and DINW imaging centers is critical to reducing the spread of infection.

TRA has allocated their freestanding imaging center in Lakewood to serve as the first dedicated imaging location for symptomatic patients. Additionally, TRA will be extending billing due dates to help ease patient stress financially during this uncertain time.

“We recognize that this will be a defining moment for our health care system and our region. Getting through this will require commitment, collaboration and all the resources we can bring to bear as a medical community,” states Douglas Seiler, M.D. TRA’s Physician President. “TRA stands with our partners MultiCare Health System and CHI-Franciscan Health as we face this unprecedented challenge together.”

Community helping Restaurants

The COVID pandemic is brutalizing every industry. Every industry has their experts, and I trust them to tell their stories. For the last 13 years, we have told the stories of the people in the food and libations industry and we have come to love and adore the local owners. 

As you can imagine we have seen a lot. Due to the recent outbreak restaurants are closing and having a tough go of things. Many report business is down between 20-80 percent. Small, independent restaurants need our help the most. I’m not against chain restaurants. But right now—if you have the means—pick a couple independently owned places to support. Most chain restaurants have the financial means to weather the economic fallout of COVID (some independently-owned franchises are an exception). Most bistros or local spots you love do not. 

What’s crushing them further is that restaurant profit margins have always been notoriously low. The way they make money is through the high markup on alcohol sales. With the mandate to close restaurants this has become a difficult time for restaurants as alchohol sales are limited.

What can you do?  We’re trying to balance two things here—preventing the spread of a global pandemic, while also preventing economic ruin for our neighborhood restaurants and the untold number of locals employed by them. What we can do is order food to-go from the restuarants that are offerign this service. Many local favorites are offering curbside pickup. Several people we know have said, “we are committed to dining take out with our local restaurants twice a week to support them through this,” We like that idea to keep it simple and easy and strategic support the local business owner. If you are choosing to opt in for home dining only, buy a gift certificate from them for later use.

Bottom line is that this is all changing minute to minute. But for now, it looks like we can support local restaurants without putting our at-risk people at more risk, with take out and gift certificate purchases. 

Celebrate, Learn and Connect at Alma Mater

The green velvet furniture is heavenly. (With brass handles!) Every angle is photo worthy. Marble meets wood meets mid-century meets when-can-I-move-in. Delectable cocktails are crafted with experienced hands. (Try the House Old Fashioned or warm up with Gold Dust Woman’s brown butter washed bourbon, Belgian Candi syrup and cherry bark vanilla bitters.) Luscious banana-leaf wrapped salmon. Octopus tentacles cooked to perfection with chickpea ragout that has never tasted so good. Grandma would be so proud of Matriarch Lounge.  

People stream through the doors heading for Tacoma Night Market, a popular evening gathering of makers, artists and creators. (Think Farmers Market, but replace fresh produce and flowers with beautiful hand-painted glass vases, mandala art and succulents in llama planters.) 

Earlier in the day, across the expansive foyer housing unique displays by local artists, Honey Coffee + Kitchen bustled with meetings, conversations, pork verde huevos rancheros (or jackfruit verde for the veggies!), powdered sugar floating off Monte Cristos, the espresso and tea elevating guests. 

And this is just the beginning. Really. Fawcett Hall, a performance venue and event space hosts must-see musicians and experiences. Mothership recording studio beckons from the second floor. Or maybe it’s the buzz from The Hive Coworking space. An expansive outdoor patio comes alive in good weather. 

Alma Mater is “a space to celebrate, nurture and evolve with the Tacoma community through food, performance, work, education and social exchange.” Founders, artists and co-directors Jason Hemlinger, Aaron Spiro and Rachel Ervin have been called “ridiculously ambitious” And, their dream is flourishing. 

“Our ‘why’ is connection,” shared Jason. “Our society needs connection if we are going to survive… Alma Mater is a place to connect. Connect with our senses. Connect with our neighbors. Connect with our civic leaders. Connect with self. Connect with the whole.” 

“We believe art is a tool for connection, and when executed with intent and generosity, can bridge many of the chasms we face as a society. Alma Mater re-imagines what an arts center and cultural institution could be, redefining itself as a hub for social, economic and cultural exchange.” 

This is where ‘community’ becomes a verb. 

For Additional Information

Alma Mater |

Honey Coffee + Kitchen, Matriarch Lounge, Mothership Studios, Hive Coworking Space


Giving Back in the 253

In any community, a sense of “community” is built on the connections made through unique groups of people that support one another. When I moved to Tacoma five years ago, I was wanting to know my neighbors, to feel that my community supported one another, and to find ways to give back. Quickly, I learned that the 253 has an abundance of opportunities for giving of time or financial resources. I encourage you to join me in this building of community.

If you are looking to give time, the South Sound region is filled with organizations that would love to have you as a volunteer. You can choose to focus on a wide range of interests: recreation, arts, social justice, health and education, to name a few. If you are passionate about education and the development of younger generations, a good place to start is in our schools. Outside of the schools, nonprofits often look for volunteers to do administrative tasks or provide program support.

Two good ways to find out about service opportunities are to join the Volunteers group on Facebook or visit the nonprofit websites listed on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation page.

When you feel your roots settling into the 253 and your heart is called to give back, but your time is limited, a monetary gift can provide hope and resources throughout the South Sound. “Philanthropy” is often misperceived as giving big financial gifts, but a gift of $20 a month goes a long way in creating a sustainable community. For Emergency Food Network, for example, every dollar you donate provides $12 worth of nutritious food for our neighbors in need. Philanthropy in any amount promotes the welfare of others. Your generous gift could change lives.

To find local organizations that qualify for tax-exempt giving, visit the nonprofit listing on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation page.

Whole Trade Roses for Valentine’s Day


Give Back with Whole Trade Roses for Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day quickly approaches, roses make their big appearance. Did you know you could give roses to a loved one and give back to farmworkers? At Whole Foods Market, this is what happens when shoppers choose Whole Trade® flowers as Whole Trade® growers work with Rainforest AllianceFair Trade USA and other third-party organizations to verify that farms meet occupational health and safety requirements, provide legal minimum wage and respect human rights. They also monitor farms to make sure they meet clear criteria for environmental responsibility — including restricting pesticide use.

Whole Foods Market takes it one step further to strengthen and empower farmworker communities, by paying a “community development premium” for each case of Whole Trade® flowers. These funds flow to farmworker committees who identify local needs and allocate funds to community projects such as health clinics, scholarships, schools and housing.

Lucia, a rose farmworker from Ecuador, shares her experience with Whole Trade: “I used to spend my free time doing laundry for my family in the rivers with very cold water. I had very little free time. Now thanks to the washers and dryers project from the sales of Whole Trade Roses, I can bring my laundry to work during working hours and take care of washing and drying my clothes for me and my family.”

Regardless if you purchase a single rose, or our best value, the double dozen, you bring beauty to your own community, as well as your global community. In the Victorian era flowers were used to express feelings that otherwise could not be spoken. Today flower colors continue to be coupled with specific emotions and wishes. This Valentine’s Day, let the color of the roses you choose mimic your feelings, including:

  • RED—true love, passion and respect
  • DARK RED—beauty, perfection and adoration
  • PINK—romance and admiration
  • DEEP PINK—appreciation, gratitude and sincerity
  • LIGHT PINK—sweetness and gentleness
  • ORANGE—desire, passion and excitement
  • WHITE—spiritual love, purity and new beginnings
  • YELLOW—warmth, joy and friendship
  • LAVENDER—love at first sight

Whole Foods Market Chambers Bay is located at 3515 Bridgeport Way W in University Place, WA. The store is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sales, coupons, events and more are available at By Olivia Yates O’Donnell, Marketing and Community Relations Liaison