TACOMA AROMA Air Stank Advisory Alert!

Action Feed Tacoma Warning System
posted Apr 5, 2011
Tacoma, Aroma, Tacomic, Stench, Stank, Taint, Butt, Ass, Farts, Stinky, Pulp, Mill, Pollution, Air Alert
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They say the "Tacoma Aroma" is a thing of the past, that there is no smell. LIES! The horrible ASS STENCH returns on occasion so let this cartoon thread be a pubic place where you can report smell sightings (location, intensity, metaphorical imagery). There is also a REAL place to report the nasty smell, but I'll just wait till the Tacoma Urbanist or Tacoma Mama serves up the correct information in the comment thread below.  Was inspired to craft this Tacomic as a full on tribute to this gritty artist, but just couldn't do it in the end. Instead I just added some white-pencil-on-black paper scratchy fill for effect.   Was prompted to draw this cartoon after a rousing facebook comment by our own The Jinx Medic who writes: 
"If you buy a house along a working seaport, expect ships. If you buy a house near active rail lines, expect trains. If you buy a house under the flight path of an airfield, expect airplanes. If you buy a house in the North End of Tacoma, expect all three. 
Complaining is silly. The port and the rails pre-date anyone alive today, and McChord Field was opened in the mid-1930's- so even then, you would have to be in your eighties to take a moral high ground on that one.
My wife and I actually bought a house close to the port so we could hear the trains and see the ships. Every time we hear a train whistle, we know that commerce is still vibrant in Tacoma. Every time we see a ship underway, we know international trade is still alive. Every time we see a low-flying cargo airlifter or commercial airliner overhead, we know that civilization is still here."

Tacoma Tide Flats, Air Pollution & Port

It's the SMELL of money! Take that Luxury condominium owner! 

by NineInchNachos on 4/5/2011 @ 12:28am
Ms. Darcy was asked by her pre-school children once why it smells like a butt outside.

by Erik on 4/5/2011 @ 12:34am
This Tacomic looks like it was drawn in the 1990s from someone in Seattle.

When I went to school in Tacoma in the mid-90s, I smelled the Aroma once a week when the wind would die down when I lived in 31 Broadway.

Perhaps, I have been here so long that I am getting immune. However, I only smell something strange about once every few months.

Seriously, the Tacoma Aroma of old just isn't there anymore these days. You almost have to pay someone to create it. Many of the plants that created it have shut down.

by NineInchNachos on 4/5/2011 @ 12:37am
Second elder god in the Anti-Tacoma Action figure series! Driving home from Federal Way with the windows down taking exit 133 after 6 pm would smell nasty coming off the port. Not all the time but frequent enough to warrant this new warning system.

by Erik on 4/5/2011 @ 2:12am
That's the problem. Get the heck out of Federal Way.

by cisserosmiley on 4/5/2011 @ 4:07am
it still smells in tacoma on occassion, not worth refuting. way better than the everyday smell we used to have. i think it smells like wet towels that got sour...did someone write that on the "new tacoma slogan" feed?

by gritz thekat on 4/5/2011 @ 4:08am

by morgan on 4/5/2011 @ 7:27am
That Stank has a name and it's Simpson.
Gritz: Sulfur dioxide, I believe.

by fredo on 4/5/2011 @ 7:46am
Agree with Erik. When I moved here in the 1970s the smell was almost always present. Now, it's only occasional. It is a strange smell but I don't know if its really all that offensive. Some of you should go back to the midwest where they have cattle feedlots the size of Spanaway.

I need to stop myself here. One summer a couple years ago a rendering truck flipped over on I-5. A load of animal carcasses was strewn across all lanes. I drove through after they had "cleaned it up." The smell was beyond description.

Ms. Darcy was presented with a wonderful opportunity for teaching her student about the process used for creating the products we enjoy in our homes and preschools and that we don't use language like "butt" in normal conversation.

by jenyum on 4/5/2011 @ 8:02am
Yes, it still smells sometimes, an odor most foul. We are not supposed to smell it anymore, yet the stench does not apparently care to be regulated.

Here is the "'Roma of Tacoma" post with all the contact info:

Try to make a note of where/when you smell it in order to make a more effective complaint.

by thriceallamerican on 4/5/2011 @ 8:14am
"we don't use language like "butt" in normal conversation"

Speak for yourself.

by NineInchNachos on 4/5/2011 @ 8:17am
they must crank up production at night, used to frequently get that old towel smell being the first one into commerce street office if the window was open a crack during summer.

by NineInchNachos on 4/5/2011 @ 8:19am
Thanks Tacoma Mama!

"He encouraged me and anyone else experiencing the Roma, to use the air quality complaint line, at (206) 343-8800, ext. 6, or (800) 552-3565, ext. 6. By leaving a message with your zip code and air quality complaint, you can help the agency better monitor air quality problems and identify offenders."

by fredo on 4/5/2011 @ 8:31am
It's impolite to refer to foul smells by talking about your butt, Better to say something smells like sewage. People who go through life using street slang frequently end up on the bottom end of the social ladder. Preschool exists for the purpose of elevating a child's lot in life, not it's diminishment. IMO

by NineInchNachos on 4/5/2011 @ 8:49am
Fredo is right. Ms. Darcy used it as an opportunity to teach about factory jobs vs. the environmental trade off. I don't believe they shy away from teaching about human digestive tracks and sanitation engineering either.

by jenyum on 4/5/2011 @ 9:20am
I was not aware that "butt" was street slang, but then again I guess I'm just not hip to what the cool kids are saying these days.

by NineInchNachos on 4/5/2011 @ 9:28am
"Butt" is an ignorant generalization. I prefer scientific terms like anus.

by MarkMonlux on 4/5/2011 @ 9:44am
At least the aroma is famous. Thank you, Frank Zappa.

by The Jinxmedic on 4/5/2011 @ 9:57am
Tacoma "Roma"? Tacoma has a gypsy problem? If you are rounding them up to put into camps, I know where you can find some!

by ChrisTopher on 4/5/2011 @ 10:53am
Butt Synonyms found on Wikipedia

rear or rear-end
Gand or Gaand
seat .
Tush or tushy

by fredo on 4/5/2011 @ 11:52am
Children who use the King's English may turn out like Prince Albert.
Children who use street slang may turn out like Fat Albert.

As a parent it's ultimately your choice.

"Yo, welcome to McDonalds and have goot day."

by cisserosmiley on 4/5/2011 @ 12:56pm
did you hear mcd's is hiring and managers makes $60,000...that is 25% more than an average wage in tacoma. maybe we should build more mcd' fast food district? the aroma would certainly be rearanged and all those jobs

by Crenshaw Sepulveda on 4/5/2011 @ 2:04pm
That $60k is kind of deceptive. Most of the managers in fast food work about 80 hours a week.

by cisserosmiley on 4/5/2011 @ 2:12pm
and half price food!!!

by NineInchNachos on 4/6/2011 @ 2:06pm
The New Takhoman speaks:

To set the record straight the term “The Aroma of Tacoma” did not come from the pulp mills or Hygrade meats slaughter yards on the tide flats, but rather from The Chicago Tribune ode published in 1946 about the Tacoma Police Department "Vigilantes".


O, they say that in Tacoma, Washington
A Policeman’s lot is not a happy one
If he rashly does his duty
Interfering with the booty
Of Higher ups
His brief career is done.

In Tacoma Politicians are as raw
As Chicago in worst days ever saw;
And a copper with ambition
Is predestined to perdition
If he undertakes enforcement of the law.

If he goes out on his own and makes a pinch
Of a felon caught red handed its a cinch
He’ll be banished to the sticks,
To Patrol the paving bricks,
While he listens to the meadowlark or finch.

O, a copper in Tacoma, Washington
Leads a life that’s almost anything but fun;
For the horrible aroma,
That is reeking in Tacoma,
Is a stench a young policeman ought to shun.

And nothing has changed since 1946 or the 2003 Chief David Brame murder/suicide.

It has been reported to The New Takhoman TPD now has the Chief Ransdell “Friends and Family” promotion plan.

by jenyum on 4/6/2011 @ 2:09pm
I'm pretty sure the odor of the pulp mills pre-dated that poem, but thanks for the bit of local history.

by LogJam on 4/6/2011 @ 7:10pm
Whoa... Lena Hyena tribute! Good one, RR!

by NineInchNachos on 4/21/2011 @ 7:48am!/awildcelticrose/status/61...

by NineInchNachos on 4/22/2011 @ 9:57am
office consensus today: this morning Downtown Tacoma, Theatre District smells like rotten garbage. "It's in the air!"

by fredo on 4/22/2011 @ 10:11am
Those polluters really need to move their businesses overseas where the desire for fresh smelling air is not so easily expressed. Thorax, send us a postcard when you get there!

by NineInchNachos on 4/22/2011 @ 10:33am
enjoy your luxury condo

by NineInchNachos on 2/17/2012 @ 8:12am
today downtown smells like a dude that rides my bus from time to time.  I bet the port cranks out double time when it is foggy like today.

by Dave_L on 2/17/2012 @ 9:18pm
Anyone here in '84 will remember the bad press created when Springsteen got sick here.

(It should also  be noted that air quality and odor are not always the same thing.)

by dolly varden on 2/18/2012 @ 10:39am
Right Dave, pulp mill sulfur is very nutritious.  High in fiber.

by Dave_L on 2/18/2012 @ 1:22pm
What I'm saying is that in itself, the subjective characteristic of odor in the air is not a complete, reliable, nor accurate indicator of overall air quality, and one should not assume that lower levels of the characteristic odor necessarily indicates relative good air quality. Many gases, radioactive pollutants, and particulates, for example, slide beneath the human nose-radar.

by NineInchNachos on 3/27/2012 @ 7:59am
real stinky today.   wet paper bag rot smell.   smelled it all the way in Central Tacoma this morning.  Downtown is worse.   god damn it.

by cisserosmiley on 3/27/2012 @ 8:19am
Can you describe in more detail the smell, I can't smell it and I'm very curious?

by NineInchNachos on 3/27/2012 @ 8:22am
its like a wet cardboard box monster took a dump in the mouth of another dead wet cardboard box monster.

by rainyday.superstar on 6/29/2013 @ 6:35pm
Today is June 29th 2013 and the hottest day of the year so farI live in East Tacoma near 72nd and Portland Ave.
It stinks bad today
Normally this area does not smell bad 
Maybe it's the heat
Smells like sewage or rotten egg farts or death
A familiar smell usually only notice it when driving on I-5 near the casino in summertime