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Help name Point Defiance Park’s breakwater peninsula

July 25, 2017


Metro Parks welcomes suggestions for new area that opens in 2018; deadline is Aug. 4


Picture this: 11 acres of land on the edge of Commencement Bay with panoramic views of the skyline stretching from Mount Rainier to Vashon Island – all for public enjoyment.

That’s the stretch of Point Defiance Park under construction on the 23-acre breakwater peninsula that stretches into Puget Sound on the easternmost edge of Point Defiance Park.

When complete next year, the park will feature an expanse of lawn big enough to host 2,500 people for special events, plus an 18-foot-wide trail, a habitat basin where seals can be found regularly, a pavilion building and three, grass-covered earthen mounds that will lure visitors to their summit lookout points.

The peninsula needs a name, and Metro Parks Tacoma would like people to make suggestions.

It’s not a contest; the decision is up to the elected five-member Metro Parks Board of Commissioners. But suggestions will help staff and the Park Board find a fitting name. The deadline to ensure suggestions will be considered is 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4.

The board’s policy requires Metro Parks to consider names that call attention to:

  • Site history, geography, geology or archaeology, or
  • A historic event, person or place, or
  • An outstanding individual who has made a substantial or lasting contribution to Metro Parks, Tacoma or Washington.

Given the site’s prominence, Metro Parks also hopes to find a name that’s memorable and timeless; a list of criteria is online along with a description of the process. A committee made of Metro Parks staff members will review all of the ideas and might combine some ideas or see additional opportunities before making recommendations to help the Park Board decide on the final name. The final name may or may not include “the peninsula,” but it will be expected to include “… at Point Defiance Park.”


Although this month’s process is focused on determining a name for the entire peninsula at Point Defiance Park, individual elements of the peninsula also may be named later. These include the pavilion, habitat basin, viewpoints and possibly more. The peninsula name is expected to be chosen with these future possibilities in mind.

 undefinedIt’s easy to suggest a name. Go online to and fill out the submission form, or look for a paper form at locations throughout the district including:  

  • Metro Parks Tacoma headquarters, 4702 S. 19th St.,
  • Center at Norpoint, 4818 Nassau Ave. N.E.
  • People’s Center, 1602 S. MLK Jr Way
  • STAR Center, 3873 S. 66th St.,
  • Portland Avenue Community Center, 3513 Portland Ave.
  • Point Defiance Visitors Center, 5400 N. Pearl St.

Park Board policy requires all submissions to include the name of person or group making the suggestion and why the name is appropriate for the site. If you have a question about the process, send it to

The new, 11-acre area is being built on top of a Superfund site created by slag from the Asarco copper smelter that operated for decades on Ruston Way. The slag formed a breakwater used by Metro Parks. Now the toxic material is kept secure by a protective layer topped by clean dirt, lawn and sustainable prairie grass. A signature artwork by artist Adam Kuby will recognize the site’s industrial origins and the smokestack that dominated the Ruston Skyline until it was demolished in 1993.

In 2013, three potential park names were suggested, but Metro Parks decided completion of the peninsula was too far into the future to make a decision at the time. All three suggestions will be considered again.


Michael Thompson, Public Information Manager, (253) 305-1092;