Columns

OPINION: In Support of West Bay Yards

OPINION: In Support of West Bay Yards

“A five-alarm blaze ripped through a lumber mill on the west side of Olympia early yesterday, causing an estimated $25 million to $50 million in damage and igniting piles of plywood that burned for hours.” A 1996 Seattle Times article paints a vivid picture of what would be the end of the Hardel Mutual Plywood Corporation’s mill at 1210 West Bay Drive.  And now, after twenty-five years of blight, this formerly contaminated industrial site has the potential to provide much needed multi-family housing, complete a public waterfront trail system, and be a part of a shoreline restoration envisioned collaboratively by…
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OP-ED: Concerns About West Bay Yards Development Proposal

OP-ED: Concerns About West Bay Yards Development Proposal

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following letter was originally submitted as a comment to the Olympia City Council. I must express my concerns about the West Bay Yards (WBY) development proposal. Having recently provided public comment re: the proposed (a) relaxation of Olympia's Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) and (b) further development on the Port of Olympia, I had collectively expressed these concerns: The proposed SMP reduction in shoreline buffers (supposedly to provide more amenities for West Bay Park) was likely a "Trojan horse" for other development, which the recent WBY proposal has since revealed to be true.We don't need developments closer to the shoreline…
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Olympia Wants To Get a Buzz On.

Olympia Wants To Get a Buzz On.

A bee buzz that is. The Olympia City Council voted Tuesday night to join the Bee City USA movement to ensure healthy habitats for our fave pollinators.  Pollinators are popular in OlyTown. Mason bee homes and honey bee hives grace many properties around the city and residents proudly display signs proclaiming their environs as “Pollinator Friendly,” giving humble bumbles and their pals freedom to dart around gardens full of their beloved bloomers.  The city wants people to know more about how important these pollinators are to food production and how to keep them safe from pesticides, diseases and predators. The…
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Text CAMPUSALERT to 888-777 to Receive Security Alerts Related to the State Capitol Campus

Text CAMPUSALERT to 888-777 to Receive Security Alerts Related to the State Capitol Campus

However, be aware that even when accurate security information is most needed, the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) isn’t getting it right. On Sunday, for example, DES sent an alert that fencing on the state Capitol Campus would come down by Tuesday morning. Tuesday night, the fencing was still up. And DES announced it would stay up through at least Inauguration Day (Jan. 20). The Sunday alert came many hours after the fencing was installed and was contrary to information provided by the Washington State Patrol. It also made no mention of the fortress-like conditions that would greet campus visitors…
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No Rhyme or Reason

No Rhyme or Reason

Act II of the City of Olympia’s tale of the poet laureate is about to open.  What's in a name? That which we call a roseBy any other name would smell as sweet.Juliet, Act II, Scene I, “Romeo and Juliet” As you may recall, the previous act of this drama ended when the city declined to award the distinction to the one poet who applied for the position during the most recent call for entries and declined to respond to calls to reconsider, saying it was unusual to receive just one entry. The poet, Lene`e Reid, whose application has been…
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Don’t Turn Your Backs on People

LISTEN! More suffering is being caused in our community by local officials than by the Whitehouse. Lacey bans RVs, the Port of Olympia (biggest property owner in town) arrests campers at the behest of millionaires, State DES has the budget to pristinely manicure campus lawns and build a multimillion dollar new office, but refuses to stop locking vital public bathrooms during a pandemic. Thurston County has the biggest budget and does almost nothing. And Mayor Selby's Olympia will tow a pregnant woman's only home before waiting one week for a disability check to come in. ENOUGH!!! THERES NOWHERE TO GO!!…
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‘Just Housing’ Letter to Oly City Council regarding Ensign Road Soft-Raid

‘Just Housing’ Letter to Oly City Council regarding Ensign Road Soft-Raid

Mayor Selby and Council Members, By now, most of you have likely received an update about what took place along Ensign Road yesterday morning. Monday night, we were able to share the news with residents that the sweep was put on hold after the City received a letter from the Attorney General's Office asserting that they believed the sweep would likely be considered a violation of the State's eviction moratorium. We also let people know that the City would still be there in the morning asking people to leave, but that they would not compel anyone to leave. We did…
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Tenant Protections, Camp Sweeps in Olympia

Tenant Protections, Camp Sweeps in Olympia

Eviction Moratorium Extended until July The biggest issue at the October 6 Olympia City Council meeting spilled over into the October 13 meeting. Hence, I decided to hold off and write about both at once. That issue was the passing of an emergency ordinance regarding tenant protections related to COVID-19. Several people n attendance spoke on this issue. There was concern that the ordinance extended the protections too far out, making it more difficult for people to get out from under the debt they accrue. After much discussion, it was determined that the ordinance would protect tenants from through July…
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City parks and COVID

City parks and COVID

A huge gathering of sports teams and fans at Yauger Park certainly piqued observers’ concerns. One poster to Facebook wrote this warning: “Olympia area friends be careful today if you walk through Yauger Park or bring your kids to play. There's a baseball tournament starting up, and the majority of folks watching and wandering around in close proximity are not wearing masks …” (photo from City of Olympia website) This came in a week in which 121 new COVID cases were reported – the most new cases in one week since Thurston County health officials began tracking the virus on…
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Ballots drop on Friday – get your recycle bin ready!

Ballots drop on Friday – get your recycle bin ready!

Ballots for the Nov. 3 general election will go in the mail on Oct. 8, followed shortly by dozens and dozens of expensive, colorful, glossy mailers, made of dead trees, extolling candidates’ virtues. The deluge, in fact, already has begun. A fund-raising letter from Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Chris Reykdal hit local mailboxes on September 28. A big postcard touting her record on education from 10th Congressional District candidate Marilyn Strickland was in the mailbox on Monday – lots of cute kids here, to be sure. Personal fave so far – a “photograph,” letter, and return postcard/envelope from Democratic…
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