Rumors & Questions

Check this page for updates on rumors, chatter heard about town to get the facts and real scoop straight from the source.

Check this page for updates on rumors, chatter heard about town to get the facts and real scoop straight from the source.

What question do you have? Have you heard a rumor that you want to check? Let us know!

Full DIsclosure: Questions asked by "City of Sumner" are ones we're receiving a lot of in other forums (email, phone calls) so have added ourselves.

Q&A

  • How are Sumner Police officers going to enforce the Governor's law requiring face masks in public spaces indoors and outdoors when you can't maintain 6' distance?

    CityofSumner asked 15 days ago

    Just a quick reminder that the State asks that if/when you see someone without a mask in public to stay 6' away but not say anything as some people do have medical exemptions. As to our Police Department, we follow the answer that came from Washington State Patrol and can't improve on it: 

    Washington law enforcement agencies continue to focus on education and engagement regarding state orders related to the coronavirus crisis.  The statewide face covering order is a public health and safety measure; it is not a mandate for law enforcement to detain, cite or arrest violators but rather an evidence-based and safety focused directive meant to slow the spread of a potentially deadly disease.  

    WSP will continue to communicate with and encourage all Washingtonians to to make safety-focused decisions and follow all health-based directives from the Governor as well as state and local health officials. 

    Together, we will continue to address the very real public health threat of COVID 19, as we also work to safely reopen our economic, social and civic systems. 

    We trust our residents, businesses, elected leaders, health officials, and each other to do what is necessary during this unique time of shared medical vulnerability and gradual return to social and economic normalcy.  

  • I've heard the Calvary Community Church project is being discussed by Council again. Wasn't this already settled? What's going on?

    CityofSumner asked 30 days ago

    Yes, the Calvary Community Church expansion project went through the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process, including public hearings, nearly 10 years ago. The CUP permit was appealed, resulting in a lawsuit that was ultimately settled with a settlement agreement between the City and Calvary. The terms of that settlement agreement now govern the Calvary expansion project. 

    Among the agreed upon requirements in the settlement were the newly constructed intersection at Valley Ave to help mitigate the traffic impacts to/from the church (completed by Calvary in 2019), and a limitation on the square footage of any new church building or expansion. Since then, Calvary's designers have reduced their expansion plans to benefit their neighbors, staying well under the allowable square footage for any expansion. The new plans add on to the existing building rather than adding a new building as originally planned. This reduces the size of the expansion and reduces the impact of views to the neighbors. There is no change to the parking provided and landscaping has increased. These revised plans have been presented to the City Council for approval through an amended settlement agreement. City planning staff are supportive of the amendments as they reduce the overall impact to the community.

    The Council will decide on the requested amendments at the June 15 Council meeting. There is not a public hearing since this is an amendment to an existing settlement agreement. If the Council does not approve these amendments, the terms of the current settlement with allowances for a larger building remain in place.

  • Am I allowed to turn the planting strip (the portion of my front yard between the sidewalk and the street) into a planting bed for, say, tomatoes? What about my front lawn--does it have to be grass, or can I convert it into a field of beans?

    betteirene asked 2 months ago

    That’s a good question! We like the idea of vegetables being added to gardens, especially if they’re interspersed ornamentally for both good dinners to come and beautiful yards for all to enjoy seeing. However, the purpose of the planter strip really is access: for someone to be able to park and walk to a house, the sidewalk or a business. That strip really needs to be grass and/or trees only for ease of access. We also have to protect sight-lines so that cars easily see each other, pedestrians easily see cars coming, etc. Plus, you wouldn’t want your beautiful veggies to get trampled before they hit the kitchen. So, bottom line is you’ll want to skip veggies in the planter strip. For the rest of your front yard, you can add veggies, but just remember that all yards have to look well maintained, and that rule applies whether it’s grass, beans, flowers or whatever you’re planting and maintaining. Hope this helps. Happy gardening!

  • Do you know what we being filmed a few Saturdays ago on Main Street? One of the camera crew said it was a Kleenex commercial. Is that true? Do you know and can you disclose? Thanks

    Emmaline.q asked 4 months ago

    That was right when we were preparing for coronavirus, so I forgot to ask if they wanted us to share or not. Hopefully, I'm not sharing any secret. It was for a movie called the 12 Dates of Christmas for HBO Max. Guessing it'll be out next Christmas, perhaps to rival the Hallmark Channel?

  • All the city public areas and parking lots look nice with the spring sprucing up and new bark. However the pay to park lot next to the fire station got missed and could use some love too.

    Tfrost72 asked 4 months ago

    Thank you! I know they're still making the rounds as they were only at City Hall yesterday. I'm going to bet it's already on their list, but it doesn't hurt to double check. Thanks again for the reminder!

    UPDATE 3/18: Well, it might be a bit before you get to enjoy it, but they did make it to Station Lane lot today.


  • Why is the old golf course closed to the public.?

    jonpin asked 4 months ago

    The golf course closed to the public about eight years ago because it was costing Sumner residents $1 million per year in tax funding and had earned us a few audit findings. When surveyed in 2012, 80% of Sumner residents told us to sell it.

  • What are the facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus)?

    CityofSumner asked 4 months ago

    There's a lot of information, but some of it can be misleading. The best source of information is the experts. Here are the ones we're watching:

    Here are a few more links that may be helpful:



  • I look forward to the shred and clean each year. Is it possible to add Styrofoam recycling to this event? I have been holding on to any I have received in packaging while trying to find a place to recycle it. I would like to keep it out of the landfill. Thank you

    kaedylou asked 5 months ago

    That's a really good idea, thank you! We try to add options if we can. Still no resources, sadly, for remotely collecting used motor oil. But, we never thought of Styrofoam. We'll look into it! 

  • Why hasn't the sidewalk on Thompson been repaired yet from the large tree that was removed last year? The gravel 'fix' is not compact and it is almost impossible to push a stroller. wheelchair or ride a bike through there without going out on the street at a very busy corner.

    Tfrost72 asked 5 months ago

    Yes, we know. The tree came down too late to include that portion in last year's sidewalk projects, so it will be slated for upcoming sidewalk work. It's a bigger project than an every-day repair, but rest assured, we have not forgotten about it. Also, you are very correct about walking in the street on a busy corner. Yikes! I'd highly recommend always crossing at the crosswalks and using the sidewalk on the south side of the street instead. It is a little more distance but much safer. (And more steps!)

  • In follow up to the Wood Ave and Main Street question, how is this project going to address the high school’s plan to put the entrance/exit to the new student parking lot on Main Street where the current softball fields are/ nearly at that intersection? Updating the light parts will not address this problem. What will the school district be required to do to ease the traffic congestion?

    suzanneethompson asked 6 months ago

    Sorry, I think I misled you in my previous response. That intersection is getting not just repaving and new lights but a whole, complete redesign that takes into account existing businesses, changing traffic patterns and needs (like ADA), and the proposed changes with the school. It's a big project, so that's also the reason that you won't see changes right away. 

  • Are there plans to repave Wood Ave a couple of blocks on either side of Main Street (the Dairy Freeze intersection)? It's extremely bumpy and feels neglected.

    Laker2020 asked 6 months ago

    Yes! That whole intersection needs reworking, and if the signal breaks before we can replace it, we're not sure we can even get parts. Good news is that this intersection is high on our Transportation Improvement Program (currently A4). We have some funding and are headed into design on an overhaul not just of pavement but of that intersection--light, crossing, etc. Stay tuned. We update the TIP every year and are about to talk about this year's updates with the Council starting in February. 

  • Why are there so many roads in Sumner that have no white center lines... is this intentional or an oversight... it seems to be a safety issue ???

    jak_raft asked 6 months ago

    There are many residential roads that have no white center lines. This is done for two reasons. The first is cost. It takes a lot more tax dollars than you'd imagine to paint lines and keep them looking fresh year after year. (You either want fresh lines or no lines, but you don't want painted-years-ago-can-sorta-see-them-still lines.) 

    The second, and more important reason, is that it's actually a traffic-calming technique. It seems counter-intuitive but has been proven. When drivers see a white line, they tend to speed, confident that they are on "their side" of the road. When "their side" is less defined with no line, drivers tend to slow down to find their way. On our streets, especially residential streets, we want drivers going slower. 

  • This is probably a touchy subject and I’m not sure if this is the place to discuss it or not, but reality deems it needs to be addressed. I understand there is talk of a new library in town. My concern is the issue of safety and cleanliness of this new facility and the areas surrounding it. Currently, the Sumner library seems to be a magnet for homeless and drug activity and I have personally seen highly concerning activity taking place both inside and outside of the building, especially after dark. This includes what appeared to be drug dealing, people littering, people sleeping on the floor, highly agitated confrontations between individuals, apparent drug use (certainly the evidence of prior use with the needles), people who appear under the influence of drugs laying around and falling over (almost called an ambulance for a 20-something female one night), and other questionable and probably illegal acts. The library also smells very bad inside for whatever reason and I truly do not mean to be disrespectful in pointing this out, but it’s noticeable and it’s bad. While I am sincerely a compassionate person and desire all homeless and individuals struggling with substance abuse and addiction to receive all the help and services they need, I no longer feel safe taking my family to the Sumner library and haven’t for some time. I guess my primary question is what would be the purpose of building a new library when the one we currently have has been allowed to be a haven for illicit activity and those seeking shelter during operating hours? I’m sorry, but I don’t want my children to have to see adults fighting, using/overdosing, dealing, and passing out as they try to check out a book or receive tutoring services. There are not just a few individuals doing these things either and it isn’t a new problem. Lately, there have been small crowds of them riding around on bicycles and standing around in the parking lot using foul language and acting irrationally that seem to show up and leave randomly and they do frequently interact with passers by. I’ve also seen groups of them get into vehicles that come in and out and sit for at least an hour while smoking and yelling out the window. I’ve seen them jaywalking into traffic frequently during busy commutes (presumably to get to the gas station) and almost get run over. This is unacceptable, it seems to be getting worse, and needs to be addressed by city and library leadership in meaningful ways that actually curtail this kind of activity. To me, our community is worth the investment in doing what it takes to ensure that everyone is safe and feels welcome and that our public places aren’t serving as magnets for illicit activities. I hope you agree and will take these matters seriously going forward.

    Strider20 asked 6 months ago

    Thank you for your thoughts. I may not address all your concerns fully, so let me know if not. Here's some info on the various topics that may help: 

    - We're working with the library on a new building because the existing one is in very, very poor shape. (Actually, there's a good chance the building itself may be contributing to the smell.) If we're going to continue to have a library in Sumner, it's clear its future is not in that building. 

    - When contemplating a move, it was also clear that the existing site is no longer a good option for most of Sumner, thanks to traffic patterns and also its proximity, or lack of proximity, to other services. By moving it into the center of town, that should help with how it's used. Typically, when public spaces are used very actively, they're less likely to be used passively to hang out, etc. 

    - The library system did extensive surveying all summer about the move, and safety was a large concern they heard back from patrons. Rest assured, you are not alone in this concern, and both the library and city heard it loud and clear. 

    - If you see illegal behavior or even suspect you're seeing illegal behavior, do not hesitate to call Sumner Police. Besides being used actively, the other best way to keep public spaces feeling safe for all is to have a vigilant public not hesitating to call even potential situations into police. 

    - What is not illegal is smelling bad, being dirty or even swearing/yelling. There is a definite difference between activity that is unpleasant to most and activity that is illegal. However, if someone is making you uncomfortable, still call PD. What our officers try to do is check in with people hanging out in town, perhaps potentially homeless. While they have every right to share public spaces, it also helps if our officers know their situation. In one instance last year, an officer checked in on a man living in his car. Not only did the officer review the rules for parking long-term but then he was also able to get the man help through the VA since both were vets. 

    **One more tip on this: a lot of people feel hesitant calling 911 for such a situation, and that's very understandable. We have an online reporting option that goes right to sergeants but keeps 911 lines open for emergency situations. Here's the link: https://sumnerwa.gov/services/police/online-report/

    Homelessness is a growing regional problem. Mayor Bill has been attending a lot of regional meetings about homelessness, mental health, and drug addiction. While we know the best solutions are going to be regional and comprehensive in nature, we also know that we all have to participate in those solutions for them to be effective locally. Thank you for asking questions about such a "touchy" subject with honesty and compassion. That's exactly why we have this page! 

  • Why do some houses near the high school look vacant?

    CityofSumner asked 7 months ago

    There are 13 houses which the Sumner Bonney Lake School District owns. They have applied for demolition permits for these structures, and the City has approved these permits. The sites are primarily to the north and west of Sumner High School and south of Elhi Hill School.  Demolition is to make way for the upcoming expansion of the schools. For more information or to answer any questions about the projects, please click here for information from the Sumner Bonney Lake School District.


  • Parker could use some road work. It's broken up and rough. And a new large housing development is being built without any road or other improvements to the infrastructure. Isn't there usually an agreement of some sort worked out in negotiations between a developer and a planning department to defray the effect of all of the traffic that will be created along with the added wear and tear on the roads?

    Shirleyje@comcast.net asked 10 months ago

    Yes, absolutely developers have to help with the roadways they impact. Parker Road is a classic example--as developments came in, portions of the road got redone by the developer, but then there's the in-between parts. If you send me more info about the actual section you're referencing, I can get you more details from Public Works about that particular stretch. In the meantime, if the housing development you mentioned is Filbert Acres, they do have some work on Parker and are redoing both sides with sidewalk, curb and gutter plus the roadway in between on 160th. Hope that helps!

  • Please improve Loyalty Park for our young kids and toddlers. It needs more swings and a "rubber-based" safety ground base to protect kids from falls. The sawdust & beauty-bark ground cover is a safety issue... I have seen numerous incidents where kids are trying to wipe wood splinters from their hands and eyes... How much money does the city pay for the Senior Center??? Is this park safety oversight related to budget decisions or lack of awareness???

    jak_raft asked 10 months ago

    Actually, that's neither sawdust nor beauty bark. Under the Loyalty Park playground are screened engineered wood fibers that were just replaced this past July. It's specially engineered to not cause splinters. It is one of the surfaces under equipment recommended by the National Playground Safety Institute (NPSI). All our Parks staff are NPSI certified and keep their certification current. NPSI conducts tests on falls and provides strict guidelines for equipment and surfaces that we follow. If you'd like more information about that, let us know, and we'll connect you to our Parks Supervisor to explain further.

    The rubber-based padding under equipment, like we have in Rainier View, is also an option under NPSI. We agree it's wonderful, but it's also far more expensive. We'd love to have the funding to do that plus all the other projects in our parks that the public asked us to do through our Parks & Trail Plan

  • What's going on with Forest Canyon road? The sign is still up that it's closed? Is it?

    nonni1957 asked 11 months ago

    Yes, just checked with Jeff Kidston, the project manager at Pierce County. They're running into a few challenges, so they extended the road closure permit to September 17, but they're trying really hard to get it open by the time school starts if they can. I realize that's probably not what you wanted to hear, but it's the latest news. If you have questions, you can contact Jeff directly at 253-798-2106 or jeff.kidston@piercecountywa.gov

  • We went to play tennis last night on the courts behind Daffodil Elementary last night, but the lights never came on. Do they only come on sometimes? Or was there something we needed to do to turn them on? Thanks

    Emmaline.q asked 11 months ago

    Believe it or not: the courts actually straddle land owned by the City and by the Sumner Bonney Lake School District. The lights are on their meter and management. They used to be on a motion sensor that would activate the lights up until 10 pm. Last we checked, that was no longer the case, which is consistent with your experience last night. It would be nice to go back to that system, but we don't know the District's future plans and respect that's their decision to make. If we hear anything else, we'll let you know. (If you hear anything else, let us know!) 

  • . There are plants in the divider at Main & 160 that make it hard to see oncoming traffic coming around the corner from Main in a low vehicle. I turned on 160th the other night and had a hard time seeing oncoming traffic from Main in my Altima. They block your vision when up to stop line. This is a accident waiting to happen.What can be done?

    chuck16023 asked 12 months ago

    Actually, Shops got your email at 8 this morning and had it cleaned up by 2 pm this afternoon!


  • I was reading on this site that Sumner opted out of the regional transportation authority because of the discontinuation of bus service. If this is the case then how come we are still paying rta tax on our property taxes and license plates?

    Wakejumpen asked 12 months ago

    Great question because it is very confusing. There are two different transit agencies. Pierce Transit offers local transit while Sound Transit is the Regional Transit Authority (RTA). Sumner remains within the Sound Transit district with Sounder Trains, the 578 bus and the Bonney Lake Shuttle all serving our community.  That is funded through property taxes and license plates. Pierce Transit was our local transit agency that had a bus running through town and Shuttle service for disabled. When they cut that local service back to only to a bus to/from Puyallup to the station and Shuttle service to about 25% of our city, we pulled out of the Pierce Transit district. Pierce Transit is primarily funded by sales tax, so our sales tax rate went down 0.3% when we pulled out, and that's why we still have a lower sales tax rate than neighboring Puyallup. Does that help? 

  • What is the City doing about businesses that violate the Governor's Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order?

    CityofSumner asked 3 months ago

    The State has made it clear that cities focus on individuals and private events violating the order but leave businesses to the State. So, if you think a business is violating the order, please report it to the State of Washington by clicking here (link). If you are a business and are confused whether you're considered essential or not, that's completely understandable. Click here for another link to help you get clarification for your business from the State of Washington.

  • During the current "Stay Home" order, is it okay to visit (with distancing) the Sewer Treatment plant and get our annual supply of Sumner Grow?

    norris.johnson asked 3 months ago

    Great minds think alike! I was just asking the Treatment Facility staff about that yesterday. Yes, they said it's still there, and they're still adding Sumner Grow to the shed. They have seen an increase in popularity with spring and sunshine, so be sure to still practice social distancing. And, you may want to bring wipes for the shovel handle or simply BYOS--bring your own shovel! Happy gardening