Comanche tugboat in danger of being repossessed by state government

-For Discover Parkland-

Joe Peterson sits at his desk in the Garfield Center Building, est. 1948. Peterson has been a Parkland resident for 21 years. Photo by: Cassady Coulter

Joe Peterson sits at his desk in the Garfield Center Building, est. 1948. Peterson has been a Parkland resident for 21 years. Photo by: Cassady Coulter

Tacoma has its own little piece of history sitting in the Puget Sound. The USCGC Comanche 202 Tugboat is a historic Navy Coast Guard Cutter that was active in World War II.

According to the Coast Guard’s website, the Comanche served a vital role in the invasion of Okinawa, Japan where it towed battle-damaged ships to safety in 1945.

Beyond its historical significance, the tugboat has captured the hearts of several members of the Parkland community. Joe Peterson, Director of Operations of the Save the Comanche Foundation, has made it his mission the past seven years to help restore the Comanche tug boat.

But beyond the restoration of this WWII relic, Peterson had an even bigger vision. In 2007 he formed the non-profit organization based out of Parkland and has turned it into a volunteer organization that has engaged youth in Parkland.

In 2011 the Comanche Youth Volunteers was formed in hopes of helping at-risk young adults in Parkland. Since then, the group of mostly male students from local high schools have logged over 30,000 volunteer hours working on the boat.

But despite the great impact that the foundation has made in the lives of many in the Parkland community, there is a chance this could all be taken away.

On Monday, March 11, an anonymous complaint about the condition of the Comanche tugboat was brought to Mr. Peterson’s attention.

He asserts that it is not grounded in anything other than pure selfishness and lack of understanding about the historical and personal significance of the tugboat to many in the Parkland and Tacoma area.

To address the complaint’s validity, there will be a public hearing concerning the issues raised at the Foss Waterway Development Authority on Wed. April 24th at 4pm which community members are encouraged to attend.

The donation-based non-profit relies on the help of supporters to help it stay afloat. Without their support the foundation would not have nearly as much success as it does today.

“We are just trying to save some history. It’s a darn shame that someone is trying to shut it down,” Peterson states.

The Save the Comanche Foundation is currently in the process of preparing to move the boat to a dry dock this summer in order to do some restoration work on the parts that are submerged by water. But this setback could completely halt the move.

Categories: Parkland

3 replies

  1. Who knew one little boat had such a big fan base. Let’s hope it sticks around!

  2. It’s little stories like these that really make Garfield st. come alive. Not only does the boat promote a strong following but actually helps people engage in community service.

  3. Really interesting piece. Nice work. A picture of the tugboat would have added a lot to the story.

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