Mindy Chambers

Microhomes On Their Way to Downtown Mitigation Site

Microhomes On Their Way to Downtown Mitigation Site

"Two down! Eight to go!" Those triumphant words rang out across a tent-filled asphalt parking lot in downtown Olympia on a recent sunny spring morning as the first of 10 new homes made its way there by forklift from the Port of Olympia warehouse where it was built. The brightly painted structures were settled in with precision, and safely and carefully leveled on the uneven pavement in an area near the Intercity Transit station. Known as “mitigation site,” it has been home to about 80 people living in tents since the city set it up in December 2018. When the…
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Movement To Flip Olympia City Council Picks Up Steam

Movement To Flip Olympia City Council Picks Up Steam

Is it a slate? A collaboration? Cooperation? Just what is it? Whatever it is, Olympia City Council candidate Candy Mercer says she’s leading the charge to “flip” the council. Mercer, a frequent, vocal, and acerbic critic of the city’s response to the community’s growing homelessness crisis (more on that here). Mercer is adamant that she has only one goal. “I will continue working on both my campaign and to get like minded candidates elected. My goal is to funnel volunteers and donors to the various campaigns I see as viable alternatives to the current council. In essence, I am running against…
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Got Police Chief?

Got Police Chief?

Not yet. And not for a while. The city of Olympia announced Monday afternoon it will not resume its search for a new police chief until late this year.  It gave no timeline for the actual hiring of a new chief for the city’s Police Department, which has been operating under an interim chief since late 2019 and has been beleaguered by allegations of racism, mismanagement of multiple protests in the city over the past year, and unequal treatment of those involved in them. Olympia City Manager Jay Burney, who will select the police chief, said the search will resume…
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Olympia City Manager “still considering the options” on Next Police Chief

Olympia City Manager “still considering the options” on Next Police Chief

Burney expects to make a decision in the next few weeks on how to proceed A week after “pausing” a botched search for a new city of Olympia police chief, the Olympia City Manager Jay Burney has not decided when the search will resume. He has determined that when it does, the firm that failed to find at least one finalist’s disciplinary record will not be involved. “The City Manager is still considering the options for continuing the search process. We do know that, when we proceed, we will be moving forward with another search firm,” Kellie Purce Braseth, a…
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“This feels like a warm hug”

“This feels like a warm hug”

Frame, glue, foam, staple, glue, frame, staple, squish, repeat. Inside a 10,000-plus square foot Port of Olympia warehouse, that’s the rhythm of assembly line-style work on 60 8-by-8 foot homes whose final destination is the downtown Olympia tent city known as the “mitigation site”.  Sometime in mid-April, these new dwellings will begin to replace troublesome tents at the site, which the city of Olympia opened in December 2018 as a temporary space for more than 100 people who were visibly camping in various downtown locations, just a mile from and within view of the State Capitol building. “I believe all people…
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Olympia Pauses Search for New Police Chief

Olympia Pauses Search for New Police Chief

Less than 24 hours after he announced the four finalists for Olympia Police Chief and praised them for their “vision for policing and their readiness to take on the unique challenges and opportunities facing the city of Olympia,” City Manager Jay Burney has “paused” the search for a new chief. Friday morning, Burney announced that one of the four candidates withdrew after The Olympia Tribune drew Burney’s attention to a past use of force incident involving the candidate.  After Burney announced the finalists late Thursday afternoon, a quick internet search by The Tribune found that finalist Derrick Turner, who manages…
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It’s Not Getting Better Out There

It’s Not Getting Better Out There

Early numbers show more people unsheltered, houseless in Thurston County 1,145 That’s the preliminary count of Thurston County residents who are living unsheltered or staying in shelters or transitional housing of some kind. The number, released Tuesday by Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, is information gathered during the Point-in-Time Homeless Census count on the night of January 28, 2021. More than half of those counted were unsheltered. The count found:  169 people stayed in transitional housing.337 people stayed in emergency shelters.639 people (56%) stayed in sanctioned and unsanctioned encampments, RVs, or other vehicles and in small structures, doorways,…
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Lucky 13? Three more candidates To Seek Olympia City Council Seats

Lucky 13? Three more candidates To Seek Olympia City Council Seats

Wendy D. Carlson recently filed to run as the second challenger for incumbent Lisa Parshley, forcing a primary election. Community activist Talauna Reed also is in that race. Carlson is a former community corrections officer for the Department of Corrections, a PTA and football booster volunteer, and sports coach. Her campaign website lists her top issues as homelessness; public safety/civil safety and affordable housing. Tyrone Brown is running for Position 7 against incumbent Jim Cooper. He has no apparent online presence as of publication, though you can email him at tyrone4council@gmail.com. Entering the race for the council seat left open by Renata…
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Shelter Staff Are This Year’s Heroes

Shelter Staff Are This Year’s Heroes

This year’s Housing and Homeless Hero award recipients, and true heroes they are, are all of the local shelter and camp outreach workers for their humanitarian work during this time of COVID. The award is presented by the Homeless Housing Hub, an arm of the Thurston Asset Building Coalition. Recipients are chosen by their peers and reflect these qualities: Direct housing and homeless service providers.People whose work strengthens the network of providers.People who inspire other individuals engaged in human services.People who by their nature maximize collaboration and minimize competition between agencies in order to better serve those in need. “While traditionally, the award recognizes a single individual, this year…
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2021 Olympia City Council Races Heating Up

2021 Olympia City Council Races Heating Up

And Then There Were 10. Three more candidates have joined races for the Olympia City Council in what’s promising to be a very, very busy local election year.  Sarah DeStasio, Co-Chair of the Olympia Democratic Socialists of America, is running for the seat being vacated by outgoing incumbent Renata Rollins. She has been a caregiver supporting elders and people with disabilities throughout Thurston County and says unsafe work conditions, low wages and unpredictable schedules at one of her jobs inspired her to help found Capital Homecare Cooperative, a worker-owned caregiving agency. She has a master’s degree in public administration from…
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