25th City Birthday Messages

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the City's incorporation, we collected birthday messages from U.P.'s "pioneers," those who were around during the earliest days and instrumental in the incorporation of the city, as well as from our social media outlets.

Here are the messages shared by members of those communities:

Linda Bird, Incorporation Campaign Manager, Former Mayor and Council Member -

Twenty-five years after an 82 percent yes vote to incorporate as a separate city, we have kept the “Promise of Incorporation.” We have stronger police protection, 50+ miles of sidewalks & street lighting, developed parks and playgrounds, and good land use planning, all the while keeping our city tax rate lower than if we had remained in unincorporated Pierce County. Thanks to all who helped with the campaign, the city set-up, and the ongoing work that makes this THE BEST place to live in Pierce County. 

Debbie Klosowski, Former Mayor and Council Member 1995-2011 -

Happy Anniversary University Place!
It’s hard to believe that our City is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! Excitement, enthusiasm and a lot of hard work by our first city staff, council and community members started us down an incredible path resulting in the City we enjoy today. Our City has undergone a tremendous amount of change since we incorporated in 1995. After we won the campaign to control our destiny, we went to work! We now have streetlights, sidewalks, bikelanes and a multitude of parks throughout our community. Extensive development codes were created to encourage thoughtful growth designed to meet our growing needs while ensuring we didn’t lose the character and “feel” of our community. Partnering with other jurisdictions allowed us to create our own police department and craft policies and programs which met our community’s needs. Creating a Town Center to spur economic development, expand housing options and enhance our downtown area was certainly one of our most ambitious goals. Today, it is a reality anchored by a beautiful library, City Hall and a wonderful atrium for community events. Our City’s success is also based upon the efforts of thousands of volunteers who participated in meetings, served on committees and commissions or helped with community events. You are the heart and soul of our community…you are what makes University Place such a special place to live.   
Although the COVID pandemic has put a temporary halt to our “normal” way of life, I am confident our community will get through this together and emerge even stronger in the future. In the meantime, Happy Birthday University Place!

Lorna Smith, Former Mayor and Council Member, Chair of the Citizens for Incorporation -

Congratulations on 25 years of Cityhood! Just looking at the successes that have been achieved in increasing our parks, from one to 17, and the beautification efforts that have transformed University Place into one that is well-known for its pretty streetscapes and abundance of safe sidewalks makes me happy to be able to say: Happy birthday, U.P.!  

Ron Williams, Former Mayor and Council Member -

A very happy 25th birthday to the city of University Place. It was a great honor to be part of the first city council in the city’s history. I am proud of the work that Linda Bird, Debbie Klosowski, Lorna Smith, Ken Grassi, Stan Flemming, Jean Brooks and I did to build this city. Though the hours were long and the decisions hard, it was a thrill to work with such dedicated neighbors to put together all that was needed to get this city off to a great start. I am also grateful for the many outstanding city employees who tirelessly worked to make our dreams for the new city come to pass. The public interest and involvement in the incorporation process was remarkable. I’ll never forget the packed Curtis High School auditorium for the first candidates’ forum with over 35 candidates present running for the seven city council seats. I am grateful when I served as mayor to have been part of the team who negotiated for the purchase of the land that is now Cirque Park. I am also proud that the council was courageous enough to begin building the new infrastructure of sidewalks, street lights and park improvements which are now a signature of our great city. I love our city and enjoy showing it off to family and friends who come to visit.   

Gerald Gehring, Former Mayor and Council Member -

The great citizens we have in University Place make it the BEST city in the Northwest. Happy 25th Birthday!

Dixie Harris – Resident, Co-Founder of the Duck Parade, Local Business Owner of Team Insurance, Inc. -

Celebrating 25 years as a city, what a milestone! We should all be so grateful and thankful for the long list of services and improvements accomplished by the city. Our history of volunteerism and sense of community around such family friendly events as our city-wide Duck Parade and other community events helps to keep our city strong. Our infrastructure improvements, such as street and sidewalk upgrades, as well as our dedicated First Responders keep our city safe. University Place is “the” place to Live, Work, and Play.

Clay (Former Public Safety Advisory Commissioner) and Mary Lu (Current University Place School District Board President ) Dickinson - 

Happy 25th Birthday, University Place! It has been exciting to see the development and growth of U.P.  From Citizens for Incorporation to new sidewalks, town center, and tree lined streets.  Community oriented policing and the best School District in the State. New parks including Curran Apple Orchard and Playground by the Sound. This is where we raised our five boys and choose to live. Here’s to another 25 great years!

Val Zeeck, Former Economic Development Commissioner -

Happy Birthday UP!! Our family arrived in the Pacific Northwest and landed on Olympic Blvd. six weeks before you were voted into existence. We cheered your arrival, encouraged your baby steps, rooted for you in your teenage years, and admire you as a beautiful adult. You are smart, strong and vibrant, and we know your destiny is to welcome, embrace, and nurture families like ours for generations to come! All the best!

Ben & Paula Brossard, Incorporation Volunteers -

We loved helping with the support of the City of University Place. Over 80% of the people were for this vote. Was wonderful to knock on doors and have people so supportive! We wanted parks for our families. Otherwise we had to go to school parks. Not possible on school days. The first City Council was so important and all of those voted in really worked hard to help us become the City we wanted. So grateful to have been able to help this happen.