New Neighbors Guide for Pierce County – Summer/Fall 2022

Communities & Neighborhoods

Welcome to Pierce County

Dancing Goats Coffee Bar Opens in Tacoma’s Brewery District

Life in Pierce County

The Harbor History Museum

Free Summer Ballet Immersion Week


Enrolling in School in Pierce County

Giving Back in the 253

Giving Back in the 253

Your Home

Making Your House a Home

Getting Settled into a New Home

Olympic Landscape—Heart for Community


Shopping Guide

Dining & Entertainment

The Negro Motorist Green Book

Crumbl Cookie Brings Decadence to Pierce County with New Tacoma Location

Farmers Markets in the South Sound

Health Care

Pediatrics Northwest—6 Tips for Winning Over Picky Eaters

Service and Convenience at the Heart of Light Dental Studios

Physical Therapy with Fun and Family

Senior Living

Warm-Weather Wellness Tips for Seniors

MultiCare names new president 

MultiCare Health System has named Mark Robinson the new president of MultiCare Tacoma General and MultiCare Allenmore hospitals. 

Robinson has more than 20 years of health care experience and will be responsible for the overall strategy and performance of the two hospitals. In addition, he will lead the hospitals’ clinical and administrative leadership teams and work closely with the regional and foundation boards to strengthen community partnerships and support.

“Mark has a proven record of expanding access to health care services and working with communities to deliver the highest levels of quality health care to each and every patient,” said Florence Chang, MultiCare president.

Robinson began his career as an administrative resident at HCA Healthcare’s Trident Medical Center in South Carolina. He then served as CEO or COO of five HCA hospitals in Utah, Florida and South Carolina. His latest role was regional chief operating officer for the western region of Steward Health Care, which includes five hospitals in Utah and four in Arizona. 

An Atlanta native, Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in management from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, and an MBA and MHA from Georgia State University. He and his wife Emily have two children.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know the teams at Allenmore and Tacoma General as we work together to provide vital health and healing in our communities,” Robinson said. “As the pandemic continues, it underlines how important our work in health care is.”

In his new position, Robinson will oversee both Tacoma General and Allenmore hospitals. Tacoma General has 437 beds, 24-hour emergency services, a Level II adult trauma center, 16 operating rooms, a 25-bed coronary care unit and several intensive care units by specialty. Allenmore Hospital has 130 beds, eight surgery suites, an adult intensive care unit and 24-hour emergency services.


Bates Tech celebrates opening of Allied Health  

Just in time to help fuel the local health care industry with much-needed skilled workers, last week Bates Technical College  opened the new Center for Allied Health Education building in Tacoma.  

Bates Technical College President Lin Zhou said, “The Center for Allied Health Education is more than just a new building. It represents a commitment to the South Sound health care community. With this leading-edge facility, we continue to offer practical, hands-on, and industry-specific education for high demand health care careers, and we now have space to partner with industry and provide professional development opportunities.” 

 “Our newly equipped community health clinics offer an affordable option for dental care. This addition to the Downtown Campus has nearly doubled student capacity for our allied health programs,” said Zhou.  

Event attendees heard from a variety of speakers, including Congressman Derek Kilmer and Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier.  

 Students using this new 70,000 square foot facility include future administrative and certified medical assistants, dental assistants and denturists, dental laboratory technicians, occupational therapy assistants, phlebotomists, practical nurses and certified nursing assistants. The community health clinics serve as a hands-on learning experience for students, while providing the community with much-needed low-cost health services. 

“One of our points of pride is offering unparalleled allied health education, and we are thrilled to continue to transform the lives of our students and contribute to our health care industry,” said Zhou.  

ConeZone: Get updates on college construction projects – BatesTech – BatesTech

Pediatrics Northwest: 6 Tips for Winning Over Picky Eaters

Getting young children to eat a balanced, healthy diet can be a definite challenge. But it’s important to remember that as you help your child learn healthy eating habits for life, the foundation of healthy eating outweighs the challenges by far. Nonetheless, it can still be a difficult phase, so here are some ways to ease you through this trying season.

1. Minimize mealtime distractions.

Turn off the television, clear toys from the dining table, and implement a “no phone at the table” rule to help everyone focus on the family conversation and their food.

2. Set a good example.

Eat together as a family as often as possible and eat a variety of healthy foods yourself. You are your child’s best role model; let them see you enjoying healthy foods and they will follow.

3. Don’t force your child to clean their plate.

Instead, avoid the power struggle by encouraging them to try at least two bites of everything on their plate.

4. Think about how you brand it.

Food becomes more approachable with a fun name attached to it. Think “pinwheel sandwiches” rather than turkey and cheese rolled up in a tortilla, “pink fish” rather than salmon, or “miniature trees” rather than broccoli.

5. Get your child involved.

Encourage them to help you shop for healthy food at the grocery store, then let them help wash and prepare the fruits and vegetables. Being a part of the process makes kids more interested in the end result on their plate.

6. Let your child have a say by giving them choices with limited options.

Ask questions like: Milk or water with dinner? Purple cup or green cup? Superhero plate or Mickey Mouse plate? This keeps your child feeling like their input matters while also keeping the conversation focused.

Pediatrics Northwest


Life in Pierce County

Vibrant and diverse, Pierce County is made up of over 20 cities, including urban Tacoma, charming Gig Harbor and home of the Washington State Fair, Puyallup. The County is composed of historic structures and buildings, breathtaking waterfront views, lush rural land, quaint and welcoming suburbs, an ever-industrious energy, and is the neighbor to magnificent Mount Rainier. There is so much to explore and safely engage in, even during this time of social distancing.

Health & Wellness

Nonprofits MultiCare and Virginia Mason Franciscan Health offer pristine services, top-rated physicians, and have several locations in order to be easily accessible to patients. Try local yoga studios, gym facilities, therapy offices and more. Everything you need to keep happy and healthy is nearby. Be sure to check business hours and number of participants that are allowed in the facility.

Get Some Fresh Air

There are many opportunities to get outside and play in Pierce County’s varied terrain. There are over 5,271 acres of available recreation – trails, golf courses, beaches, skateboard pavilions, parks and more. Remember, Mount Rainier National Park is close by. Be sure to check restrictions and regulations before venturing out and stay home if you are feeling under the weather.

Arts & Culture

Our County is alive with creativity and innovation. Immerse yourself at art museums such as the Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass, and Asia Pacific Cultural Center during their new business hours. Support local artisans and makers by visiting small-town art galleries, downtown boutiques, and local breweries. Dine happily at renowned restaurants and cafes, being sure to follow Pierce County safety regulations.


The County celebrates so much of its past by maintaining historic buildings and sites and by offering numerous museums relative to each area. Many historic museums have now re-opened to the public. The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, operated by Metro Parks Tacoma, provides visitors with a look at one of the original settlements on Puget Sound.


Making Your House a Home

Tips to transform a house into a home with decor and furniture from the heart

Your entry is the initial introduction to your home and sets the stage for you and your guests. Place a cozy rug or floor mat inside the door to define the entry and give an immediate sense of personality. A reclaimed wood bench, umbrella stand or coat rack, and luscious candles complete the welcoming picture.

Be creative with your space. Move items at an angle, layer different rugs, and add a wall of photos and memories. Use your imagination to make the space warm, inviting and as unique as you are.

Try to bring nature inside. Although the Northwest is overflowing with the beauty of nature, we all know that during our wet, gloomy weather we may stay inside for much of the time. Visit your local nursery to get tips on what kind of plants will work for your space, the amount of light available, and your lifestyle.

Incorporate different elements such as wood, metal, glass and greenery throughout each room to bring warmth and life to your spaces. Mirrors not only provide style and function but also lighten up a room and help create movement.

Olympic Landscape – Heart for Community

Olympic Landscape has been designing, building and servicing outdoor residential and commercial spaces in the South Sound for more than 40 years. As an expert landscape contractor, the company creates beautiful outdoor living spaces, unique gathering spaces, and specially-themed gardens for homes and businesses. The owner and CEO, Joe Areyano, plans to continue that legacy. He also added new services and products that will carry Olympic forward for at least another 40 years.

“My family started a landscape company in 1980, so I’ve been around the industry for the majority of my life,” says Areyano. “At age 16, I started learning every division of the company, from landscape retaining walls to irrigation.” After about five years, he was promoted to field manager and continued to work his way into greater responsibilities. He’s now a certified landscape professional. This hands-on experience, he says, helps him ensure that customers receive the highest-quality service.

Since Areyano purchased Olympic Landscape from founder Neil Hedman, he has expanded the business. The company is growing into a regional leader, expanding its service area and the core services it offers. As a great landscape construction install company, Olympic offers both landscape design/build and landscape straight to construction. They now offer commercial maintenance and can accommodate snow and ice removal projects too. This is good news for local businesses and homeowners who need these services.

The growth of Olympic Landscape is good news for the larger community as the company increased the number of employees to about 57 in 2019. Additionally, Olympic supports local charities and non-profit events such as St. Francis House, which eases the hardships of those in need in east Pierce County. They also support the Emergency Food Network that supplies 3.9 million pounds of healthy, nutritious food annually to 76 food pantries, meal sites and shelters for distribution to families and individuals in need. Olympic partners with Adorned in Grace, a bridal boutique that uses its profit to teach and train individuals rescued from human trafficking. The company is particularly proud to support our neighbors and give back to complete the community circle.

Olympic Landscape


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.


Enrolling in School in Pierce County

Choosing the best academic environment for your child can seem daunting when you move to a new area. There are numerous traditional options to consider—your neighborhood public school, a charter school, or private school—in addition to alternative options, like online school or homeschool.

Pierce County is home to 16 public school districts and several charter, private and faith-based school systems. Most of these offer online enrollment for new students on their district or school websites. In general, you’ll need the following information to complete an enrollment form:

  • Name of the school you want to enroll your child
  • Emergency contact information
  • Healthcare provider(s) contact information
  • Previous school address and phone number, if applicable

To complete your child’s enrollment, most schools will also ask parents to provide:

  • Proof of immunization signed by a healthcare professional
  • Proof of residence
  • Parents’ photo identification
  • Proof of age and legal name for the student
  • Previous report cards or transcripts, if applicable

Pierce County School Finder Resource

To find your Pierce County school district, go online to
Enter your address on the interactive map and then click the Additional Info tab.


Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Collaborates with Contessa to Care into Patients’ Homes

St. Joseph Medical Center – Tacoma, Washington

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Tacoma has announced a new collaboration with Contessa, an Amedisys company (NASDAQ: AMED), to operate Home Recovery Care. Home Recovery Care brings all the essential elements of hospital care into the comfort and convenience of patients’ homes, offering a safe and effective alternative to the traditional inpatient stay. The service will expand access to high-acuity care, increase crucial inpatient capacity and reduce the overall cost of care.

“Virginia Mason Franciscan Health is committed to finding innovative ways to expand access to care in the communities we serve while lowering the cost of care,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. “Our collaboration with Contessa allows us to deliver quality care, traditionally provided in a hospital setting, to our patients in their homes — increasing patient satisfaction and improving outcomes, while creating more inpatient capacity for those with the most critical needs.”

Patients who choose Home Recovery Care are transported home and begin receiving hospital-level care that same day. They are sent home with remote patient monitoring devices and have in-home nursing visits and telehealth consults from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health physicians. The program is ideal for patients with a variety of acute conditions including pneumonia, cellulitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, COVID-19 and urinary tract infections.

“Home Recovery Care empowers providers to deliver truly personalized, high-acuity care at home. We are thrilled to bring this care model to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health,” said Travis Messina, CEO of Contessa.

Contessa’s Home Recovery Care model has grown exponentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is proven to drive better patient outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. On average, the model historically reduces readmission rates by 44%, decreases the mean length of a hospital stay by 35% and has a patient satisfaction score of more than 90%. This collaboration is a key addition to Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s efforts to manage capacity during the pandemic.

Home Recovery Care is slated to launch at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health’s St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma later this year and will be available to Medicare fee-for-service patients initially. There are plans to expand to other Virginia Mason Franciscan Health locations and include patients with other health plans in the future.