Reversing course: Mayor Jim Ferrell reconsiders renaming 320th Street after public feedback

Road’s name would have changed to South Veterans Way

After receiving mixed reactions from the community, Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell has decided not to change the name of South 320th Street to South Veterans Way, just more than a week after making the announcement.

Ferrell unveiled a mock-up of a street sign with the new proposed name during the annual Flag Day celebration on June 16 sponsored by Soroptimist International of Federal Way and King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer.

The decision to rename the road was a long time coming, Ferrell said.

“This originally came up in 2014 when we installed the big 60-foot flag pole and smaller flags and honorarily renamed a significant portion of 320th as Veterans Way,” he said.

Renaming 320th still would have required approval from the City Council.

But, Ferrell decided this week after receiving feedback from the community and veterans to pull the idea off the table.

“I think the comments and feedback we are hearing are not supportive of renaming 320th for a variety of reasons,” he said. “I have to be respectful of that public comment and input, and I think it is appropriate we take a step back and find another way to honor our veterans.”

Ferrell said he plans to seek input from the community and veterans on an alternative, which could include a veterans memorial at Town Square Park.

The potential name change generated mixed reactions on social media, including the Mirror’s Facebook page. Some commenters were concerned about the cost associated with the name change.

New signage would have cost about $75,000 and would have been paid for using real estate excise tax funds, which can only be used on capital projects.

Other concerns indicated residents felt the city needed to focus its priorities on other issues, such as homelessness and traffic, instead of renaming the road.

“I want make it abundantly clear the No. 1 priority of this is city is public safety,” Ferrell said. “While we are having a conversation about how to honor veterans and how to honor key people in our community, the focus of the city’s administration is on public safety and addressing the issues that matter to every citizen.”