I-5 bridge project over Nisqually River highlights rapidly changing flood risks, ecological impacts and regional growth

I-5 bridge project over Nisqually River highlights rapidly changing flood risks, ecological impacts and regional growth

Chairman Willie Frank III and the Nisqually Indian Tribe hosted Senator Maria Cantwell, Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland and Gov. Jay Inslee recently for a boat tour on the Nisqually River to see the aging Nisqually Bridge across Interstate 5. They then joined a roundtable conversation with local elected leaders from Pierce and Thurston counties and representatives of the Washington State Department of Transportation and South Sound Military & Community Partnership.

In 2018, the state's transportation budget included $2.25 million for a corridor planning study of I-5 between Tumwater and Mounts Road. The 2022 Move Ahead Washington package recently passed by the Legislature and signed by Inslee includes $75 million to advance project work in the corridor.

The Nisqually Indian Tribe has been an active partner throughout the planning process, including partnering with Washington State Department of Transportation to have the U.S. Geologic Survey complete a hydrologic study of the Nisqually River related to I-5.

"The aging Nisqually Bridge across I-5 no longer meets the needs of this quickly-growing region, and is also altering the ecological health of the area. As we look to the future, the Nisqually Tribe, local, state and federal leaders are partnering together so we can seize this opportunity to restore the vibrancy of this ecosystem and ensure a more resilient transportation corridor," Inslee posted on Instagram.

Congratulations to the 115th
Washington Trooper Graduation Class

Last Wednesday, the 115th Trooper Basic Training Class joined with families and friends to celebrate their graduation. The 115th class is the most diverse class in the agency's history. This class, and the others to follow, are helping more people from communities around the state discover careers within the Washington State Patrol and continue its legacy of being one of the best trained agencies in the nation.

Forty-four percent of the 115th Trooper class are from historically underrepresented communities in law enforcement. This is the highest representation in Washington State Patrol history and is the result of strategic outreach to differing communities and targeted recruitment.

"This is a top performing law enforcement agency because it performs and it lives its creed, which is service with humility. And that word humility, I believe is the secret to the success of the Washington State Patrol," said Inslee, who was among the speakers at the graduation ceremony. "Congratulations to this outstanding new class."

"This organization has served people very humbly and with distinct pride. We treat people with dignity and justice at all times and you have been given the example of that by your field training officers and now it is your turn. Please go forth and do what you've been trained to do. Your arrival today has never been more critical in the 100 year history of this organization," said WSP Chief John Batiste.

48 'Forgotten Heroes' Honored
at State Veterans Cemetery

Last Tuesday (April 12), the State Veterans Cemetery outside of Medical Lake held a Forgotten heroes interment for the remains of 48 deceased veterans whose remains went unclaimed by potential family.

Unclaimed veterans remains from throughout the state were escorted to the Washington State Veterans Cemetery where the cremains were ceremoniously turned over to the Department of Veterans Affairs for interment. Individuals will be interred in their final resting place with full military honors.

Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs works closely with veterans service groups, funeral industry partners, public administrators and other concerned citizens to ensure the dignified burial of unclaimed veterans. These organizations work throughout the year researching military service records and vital records to locate unclaimed veterans eligible for burial at the Washington State Veterans Cemetery.