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Cushman and Adams Substations

A Note about COVID-19 

Due to COVID-19 related impacts, a number of employees are in furlough or temporary layoff status. For help reaching a specific City employee, dial 311 from within Tacoma city limits or (253) 591-5000 from anywhere else. However, if you have specific questions about during this period, please reach out to the Planning Division Manager, Brian Boudet, at bboudet@cityoftacoma.org.


How to Stay Involved 

As of April 2020, the Cushman and Adams Study has been paused until further notice due to the COVID-19 emergency. While the project has been postponed, the City continues to invite community members to review background information and sign up for project updates. 


More information is coming soon. Let us know if you would like to receive project updates.  


Recent actions

At the Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Tacoma City Council meeting, the project team provided an update on recommended modifications to the engagement strategy and timeline to reflect restrictions on public gatherings. This City Council memo provides more information.


The City has selected a consultant team and will soon launch the Cushman/Adams Future Use Study.


At their October 22, 2019 joint Study Session, the City Council and Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) Board received an update and provided guidance to staff on the project approach. The TPU Board also discussed the project at their October 23, 2019 TPU Board meeting. City staff will provide updates at the November 4, 2019 North End Neighborhood Council meeting.



The Cushman and Adams Substations were built in the mid-1920s to bring electricity from Cushman Dam to Tacoma. For many years, the substations served as active parts of the electric system. The substations are distinctive features in the neighborhood and notable assets to the City as a whole.


In June 2017, the Tacoma City Council placed both substations on the Tacoma Register of Historic Places. The designation includes the exteriors of both buildings and the sites surrounding them (not including the non-historic electrical switchyard equipment).


What Does the Future Hold for Cushman & Adams Substations?

This is the community’s opportunity to participate in the City Council and TPU Board’s decisions regarding future use of the Cushman and Adams Substations. A City Council directed the City of Tacoma’s General Government and Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) to work collaboratively and engage the community on future redevelopment of the properties. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the City of Tacoma’s General Government and TPU in July 2018 designates the General Government will lead, with TPU support, an outreach effort to ensure broad community involvement and input regarding future redevelopment of the properties.


During the next few years, TPU will continue its work to identify alternatives for the equipment repair and storage currently taking place at Cushman Substation. TPU has also been working to identify environmental clean-up needs. The facility replacement and clean-up initiatives are ongoing and will be executed according to the terms of the MOU and informed by any future redevelopment plan(s) for the properties approved by the TPU Board and Tacoma City Council.   


The project is currently on pause. The timeline will be revised once the project is moving again.  


2019-2020   Existing Conditions

Gather and summarize pertinent background information


TBD            Community and Stakeholder Engagement

Broad, inclusive engagement efforts to solicit input on the future use of the substations


TBD            Initial Master Planning and Analysis of Reuse Scenarios

Planning, analyzing and confirming the results of the engagement and technical analysis to generate a range of reuse scenarios for City Council and TPU Board consideration


Email project staff if you would like to receive to updates and engagement opportunities.  



  • City Council and TPU Board update (October 22, 2019)
  • Project Update to the City Council (January 30, 2019) 
  • City Council and TPU Board Memorandum of Understanding (July 24, 2018) 
  • City Council Resolution 39741 (June 6, 2017)



    General Government

    Elliott Barnett

    Senior Planner

    Planning & Development Services

    (253) 591-5389




    Tacoma Public Utilities

    Clark Mather

    Government Relations Officer

    Public Affairs

    (253) 441-4159