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Cushman and Adams Substations

Project on Hold

As of April 2020, the Cushman and Adams Study has been paused until further notice due to impacts resulting from the pandemic. Staffing impacts, emerging priorities, and public health concerns around conducting in-person public events mean that the timing is not right. The City remains committed to working with the community to envision positive future uses for these important buildings and sites. We look forward to re-starting this effort.  


How to Stay Informed 

While the project has been postponed, 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.


Recent 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 a consultant team and will soon launch the Cushman/Adams Future Use Study.


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.



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.   


The project is currently on pause. The timeline will be revised once the project is moving again.  


2019-2020   Existing Conditions

Gather and summarize pertinent background information


TBD            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

    Elliott Barnett

    Senior Planner

    Planning & Development Services

    (253) 591-5389




    Tacoma Public Utilities

    Clark Mather

    Government Relations Officer

    Public Affairs

    (253) 441-4159