One-Minute Interview: CDA Auction Saturday

By Ron Swarner on October 21, 2011


The conversation at Saturday's Cross District Association Auction will undoubtedly center on which Tacoma neighborhood business district might emerge as the next cool place. Or, as real estate agents like to say, an "up-and-coming location." People whom self-identify as urbanites spend a lot of time talking about this sort of thing. Which spots are getting a new coffee shop? What chain of old buildings would be perfect for a restaurant/bar? When the hell will the downtown McMenamins open?

Tacoma may be a city of neighborhoods, but it's even more a collection of commercial districts filled with eateries, coffee shops and entertainment venues like the Dome District, Fern Hill, Proctor, Sixth Avenue, McKinley Hill, Pacific Avenue and South Tacoma, to name a few of the 15 Districts.

The Cross District Association's mission is to make sure all the districts play nice, as well as promote, organize, advocate for, and develop the economy and community found in those districts.

And every year the districts gather for a group hug, raise some money and toss back many drinks, which happens to be this Saturday at C.I. Shenanigans.

I caught up with Cary Nilson, one of the players in this year's CDA Auction, and who has been on the board of several Tacoma business districts.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: After the last drink has been served Saturday, where will all the money raised be stored?

CARY NILSON: Money goes to promote the districts, as well as small business training and advocacy. Of the 15 Tacoma districts, only 11 are active.

VOLCANO: What goals does the CDA have for this coming year?

NILSON: The goals are determined generally at a meeting in January or February with representatives from the districts.

VOLCANO: What can attendees expect at the auction?

NILSON: I We have 74 donors and more than 80 items up for auction. There's a list of auction items at, which includes a seven-night stay in Maui, theme dinner for six people, paintball experience for 18 people, dessert auction and more. Shenanigans will serve appetizers, and four wine shops will be pouring. There will also be a large showing of attendees from the Tacoma Police Department.

VOLCANO: Desserts! Tell us about the desserts.

NILSON: The dessert items come from across all districts. The ones that I have acquired come from Gayle Orth Catering, Dulce Cupcakes, McKinley Hill Cafe and Fridays Cookies.

VOLCANO: What's your favorite district?

NILSON: That's a hard one. I am on the board of the Pacific Avenue Business District - though I have spent 10 years with the 6th Avenue District, the district where I also spend most of my spare time. Pacific Avenue has made some major improvements in the past year and more coming. I guess my loyalties are split.

Cross District Association Auction

Saturday, Oct. 22, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Tickets are $60/person at 253.431.7331
C.I. Shenanigans, 3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma