March 16, 2020 - City of University Place Declares State of Emergency

The University Place City Council, at the recommendation of City Manager Steve Sugg, voted at its March 16, 2020 meeting to declare a state of emergency within the city. 
This decision reflects the City’s commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of its citizens and follows the recommendations of federal and state agencies to focus on social distancing as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. 
Effective immediately:

  • City Hall offices in the Civic Building are closed to the public through March 31, 2020. Although most City staff will be working remotely, key personnel will continue to report to City Hall. 
  • The City’s Public Works and Operations personnel will continue to provide essential services, such as emergency maintenance across the city. In some situations, a staff member may be able to see residents/customers on an appointment basis, but in all cases, the public is encouraged to contact staff by calling 253.566.5656 first. Given minimal staffing, please leave a message if no one is able to answer. Staff will return your call as quickly as possible. 
  • Every effort is being made to ensure that business continues to move forward. The City is still able to receive and process building and land use permits by appointment. Stakeholders with urgent business can make or set appointments at 253.460.5406.   
  • The Police Department has closed their administrative offices to the public but will be available by phone at 253.798.4058, plus officers will continue to be on patrol in the community and ready to answer all 911 emergency calls. 
  • The University Place Branch of the Pierce County Public Library located in the Civic Building is also closed. Pierce County Libraries have not set a date when the libraries will reopen to the public. 

The City’s Emergency Response Team has been activated and is involved in preparing response and coordination across multiple departments and in conjunction with the state and other local governments. As part of this move, the City Manager and department managers continue to meet to discuss providing essential City services and information. 
“This is not a decision we have entered into lightly, but we believe it is the right decision for our citizens and our staff,” said Mayor Caroline Belleci. “If there is any positive to come from all this, it is that as part of our heightened emergency preparedness efforts over the last few years, our staff have trained for emergencies like this and are responding by putting into practice the expert training they received.”
Because the situation continues to evolve by the hour, the public is encouraged to get the latest and most accurate information from trusted sources. These include the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, the City of University Place website, UPTV, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. 

For more information, please contact:
Linda Seesz, Communications Manager
City of University Place
253.460.2537 /