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Cushman and Adams Substations

Project Status

In April 2020, the Cushman and Adams Study was paused due to impacts resulting from the pandemic. In 2022, staff are working to restart the project; complete the Existing Conditions Report; and resume engagement in Spring 2023.Cushman Substation


How to Stay Informed 

The City invites community members to learn about the Cushman and Adams Substations by reviewing background information on this site. 


Don't miss the opportunity to participate, once the project is up and running again. Let us know if you would like to receive project updates.  


Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) continues to utilize Cushman Substation and to maintain and steward the site. For updates on recent activities, visit TPU's Cushman Substation web page.


Past 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 the Otak consulting team and will soon complete the Existing Conditions Report.


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.



Located at the intersection of N. 21st St. and N. Adams St., 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.   



2020 Project Paused due to Pandemic  


2022  Existing Conditions

Gather and summarize pertinent background information.


2023  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

    Lauren Hoogkamer

    Principal Planner

    Planning & Development Services

    (253) 591-5254




    Tacoma Public Utilities

    John Gaines

    Community Relations Manager

    (253) 441-4661