When it comes to dramatizing the plight of Tacoma’s pothole-plagued residents, Pothole Pig has gotten plenty of attention. Why, you could say he’s hogged the spotlight.
For three years now, Tacoma Weekly’s famous swine has shown he has a real snout for potholes. Each week, the paper, to highlight its crusade against pock-marked Tacoma streets, runs “Pothole Pig’s Pothole of the Week” column.
“What we do is put the pig in a pothole, take a photo of it and list the address,” explains Tacoma Weekly reporter Steve Dunkelberger. When it goes online, the pothole identified is also linked to a Google map.
Pothole Pig even has a name, Perceval, one of King Arthur’s legendary Knights of the Round Table. As the Weekly wrote, in introducing their ceramic pothole finder, “Perceval is the earliest recorded account of what has gone down in legend as the Quest for the Holy Grail, a mythical chalice used by Jesus during Last Supper that is believed to have special powers. Our Perceval Pig, however, is on an endless quest for the ‘perfect pothole’ and runs into many along his adventures through Tacoma.”
Pothole Pig was not a happy porker election night. He’d barely finished his plate of barley and oats, when news came the Proposition 1 had lost in a landslide, by nearly 20 points. You see, Prop. 1 would have raised up to $11 million a year by increasing the utility earnings tax for natural gas, telephone and electric service from 6 percent to 8 percent. The city planned to use most of the money to fill 18,000 potholes.
Dunkelberger figures the measure was soundly defeated because of a general anti-tax sentiment and the fact that voters couldn’t see any reason why ratepayers (as opposed to road users) should foot the pothole bill.
Of course, Mrs. Pothole Pig didn’t raise no fool for a pig. So even though Perceval would dearly have loved to see those 18,000 holes filled, he also came to understand, upon further reflection, that the loss of Prop.1 loss provides him with a whole lot of job security going forward.
He’s come up with a snappy slogan, too: “With an oink oink here, and an oink oink there, here a pothole, there a pothole, everywhere a pothole ... “