E-MAIL TO THE EDITOR: Changing University Place's Name Not Worth The Trouble

University Place City Councilman Javier Figueroa writes that the city does not have an identity issue and should not consider changing its name to Chambers Bay.

(Editor's note: This e-mail comes from University Place City Councilman Javier Figueroa)

A lot of buzz is going on regarding .  The idea came up at a recent council study session. Please understand that all ideas are encouraged during these meetings. This idea is not proposed by city staff nor is it a majority council directive to seek such a proposal from anyone. When the idea came up at the study session, I opposed changing our city’s name. The mere cost of a name change for every citizen and business can be substantial.  We should seriously consider the return on the investment for changing our name. We need to consider the impact on all legal documents, banking, website changes, correspondence, billing, and other unknown related issues the name change would affect.

The council has many times voted down ideas to be vetted and brought forth for council consideration. This idea is certainly one that should be dead on arrival. I am not for spending countless hours with community meetings, studies, or spend any tax dollars doing so.

The negative consequences for changing our name may far exceed any good that may come out of a new name.  At the incorporation of University Place, the incorporation steering committee and other community members vetted changing our name that resulted in keeping University Place as the city’s name.

We had our city’s name for approximately 100 years. We need to apply common sense—I do not believe we have a name identity issue (at least not at the degree we need to change our name).

I am proud of our name “University Place”. However, the decision is in your hands as a community.

Brent Champaco August 22, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I think that conversation on this topic has been sidetracked to whether "Chambers Bay" is appropriate. That aside, I'd like to ask this: Does University Place suffer from an identity crisis?
Christie Anderson August 23, 2012 at 01:13 AM
No, I do not think University Place suffers from an identity crisis. I think the city council does.
Howard and Barbara Lee August 23, 2012 at 02:19 AM
University Place does not suffer from an identity crisis, but it does suffer from a poor reputation. An identity can be bestowed on a city by clever marketing, but a good reputation can only be "earned" by providing both excellent city services and quality of life. When I retired from the Navy I could have lived anywhere in the USA, but chose to stay here in University Place because it was, and still is a great place to live, work, raise a family, and retire. Sadly, University Place has an unhealthy reputation because of repeatedly poor fiscal and general management decisions made by city leaders. A marketing expert might be able to a create a new identity for UP, but that will only be cosmetic. The healthy reputation will have to be earned! Howard
Jennifer Ordway August 23, 2012 at 02:54 AM
No one knows where we are. U.P...what?! University Place. Where?! Fircrest, OH!!! It's just a way to make a gorgeous area identifiable with the main resource now.
Chuck Anderson August 23, 2012 at 05:38 PM
I'm just curious....are there a lot of real estate professionals on the University Place City Council?
Kevin Davis August 23, 2012 at 05:39 PM
We don't have an identity crisis. We could do so much more to strengthen the identity we already have.
Ken Campbell August 23, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Just think how Lakewood must feel, having the Tacoma Country and Golf Club within their city..I am sure Pierce County would be happy to change the name of the course from Chambers Bay to University Place Country and Golf Course!
Ken Campbell August 23, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Perhaps you recall reading the following news release from Pierce County in which it talked about property values in the `communities of Steilacoom, DuPont and Chambers Bay..' - perhaps they already knew we wanted to change the name...! http://universityplace.patch.com/articles/pierce-county-to-mail-property-value-notices-june-22
Melanie Kirk-Stauffer August 23, 2012 at 09:42 PM
No identity crisis. I have lived here for over twenty five years and like our city's name as it is.
Ron Johnson August 24, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Our community leadership needs to get their priorities figured out and aligned with the priorities of the community. Are they seriously spending time on this topic? They need to spend all of their time figuring out a solution to the UP Town Center mess that their lack of effective leadership caused. I work in Seattle with hundreds of northenders and most of them seem to know where we are and our relationship to Chambers Bay. Our school district is well known throughout the state for excellence. Our community leadership, unfortunately, is also well known throughout the state for general incompetence and the Town Center fiasco. Stop spending time on silly topics and solve our real problem. LEAD or get the heck out of the way.
Brent Champaco August 24, 2012 at 07:14 AM
Here's another element to an identity crisis if one exists: Some businesses list their city as "Tacoma" rather than University Place. Couldn't that contribute to the problem? What do you think? Does that hurt the identity of UP, when some businesses within its own borders refuse to admit it? Just a thought.
Brent Champaco August 24, 2012 at 07:22 AM
Interesting Howard, While I'll stay out of the whole debate over whether the reputation is warranted, I'm wondering if what you're talking about is too "Inside Baseball?" Do people in Roy or Olympia, let alone Seattle or Spokane, really know about UP's finances? I'm thinking that's stuff people like you and I are well-versed in, but outside the people who follow city government regularly, do people truly know? Let me put the question another way, if you hadn't moved to UP and lived in, say, Seattle, how do you think you would even know about University Place? You are right, though, in that a healthy reputation will only do good things. Great insight, btw.
Brent Champaco August 24, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Jennifer - same question I asked Howard. If you hadn't moved to UP and instead lived in, say, Seattle, how do you think you would even know about University Place? Just curious.
Brent Champaco August 24, 2012 at 07:24 AM
According to their resumes, there are a few who say they are, Chuck :)
Brent Champaco August 24, 2012 at 07:25 AM
Holy cow, Ken! That didn't even register with me. That's definitely worth asking the county. Thanks for tipping the editor off to his own tip!
Brent Champaco August 24, 2012 at 07:28 AM
Thanks for the insight, Rob. I've gotten a mixed reaction from Seattle people. Then again, some of them think they're Olympia is closer than Tacoma, so who knows?
Tad Saine August 24, 2012 at 04:27 PM
The more I think about this issue, the more open I am to a name change; I am still not convinced Chambers Bay is the right choice, however. That said, I feel that there is a segment of the population here in UP that will oppose anything said by the city council. I find this very frustrating because it doesn't foster dialogue nor does it help brainstorm creative solutions. For example, you can't, on one hand, say that you're upset over the slow-movement of Town Center, while on the other claim that UP doesn't suffer from an identity problem. I am not saying that an identity crisis is the only reason Town Center has been slow-going (I largely blame a rescission that is totally outside the control of the council), but identity has certainly been a factor: at one point we wanted Town Center to be high-end, then we discussed the idea of outlet-style mall, etc. On a local level, the focus and direction of UP hasn't always been clear and it's more than fair to suggest we suffer from an identity crisis. Blaming the council over and over again grows a bit tired. It's time to start thinking creatively. I personally think it would cool to see our community figure out how to harness the power of cloud funding to help stimulate interest in UP and local improvement projects.
Ken Campbell August 25, 2012 at 08:47 PM
How about selling naming rights?? A representative wants State to sell a name for the Narrows Bridges, City of Tacoma wants to sell name to Top Flyte or Titleist for the Tacoma Dome. That way, we wouldn't have to decide on the name - the top money would do that - we could start the bidding at $13 million (value of bonds due next year) for Town Center..or $50 million for the whole city (approx current debt). For the whole city we could throw in Lot 10 for their head office...
Brent Champaco August 25, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Thanks for the insight, Tad. I too think that UP sometimes gets overlooked by developers who would rather have the immediate name recognition of Tacoma or Gig Harbor. That's why successful UP businesses like Trader Joe's deserve some extra praise.
Brent Champaco August 25, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Dare I ask, Ken, which company would you like to see purchase the rights? :)
Howard and Barbara Lee August 25, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Might I suggest a digital reader board so as to gain maximum flexibility should our name change!. Howard
Christie Anderson August 26, 2012 at 04:08 AM
"I'm just curious....are there a lot of real estate professionals on the University Place City Council?" I'm just curious....why does that matter?
Christie Anderson August 26, 2012 at 04:44 AM
Don't bother changing the name of the city, just change the name of towne centre :-)


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