Mindy Chambers

City of Olympia Begins Search for Next Chief of Police

City of Olympia Begins Search for Next Chief of Police

The next Olympia Police Chief will earn nearly $183,000 a year to be “community-focused, compassionate, accountable, and inspiring,” says a recruiting announcement for the position posted on the city’s website. The announcement contains only a vague reference to the challenges the new chief will face. Regarding the past year’s protests, counter-protests, shootings of at least two people by people participating in pro-Trump rallies and widespread criticism of police actions/inactions, including the use of flash-bangs and tear gas, it says only this: “Like most cities, Olympia experienced the passions and turbulence rising from the racial justice demonstrations that swept the nation…
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2021 Olympia City Council Races Begin to Take Shape

2021 Olympia City Council Races Begin to Take Shape

Although the Aug. 3 primary election is nearly six months away, the race is on for endorsements and cash by Olympia City Council candidates seeking to move on to the November general election. Five seats are open this year, rather than the usual four because recently-appointed Councilmember Yen Huynh will have to run for election if she wishes to retain the seat. She has filed paperwork with the state Public Disclosure Commission indicating her plans to run. Incumbents Lisa Parshley and Jim Cooper also have filed, and Clark Gilman is expected to do so as well. One-term council member Renata…
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Olympia Port Commissioner EJ Zita Will Not Seek Reelection

Olympia Port Commissioner EJ Zita Will Not Seek Reelection

With a social media post that began a bit cryptically and continued in a way that nearly obscured its intent, Port of Olympia Commissioner E.J. Zita announced she’s not running for re-election. It said: “1. Presidential coup and 2. silencing of public voices “An incumbent president executed a coup and secured a second term, abetted by a loyal second.  “Joe Downing nominated himself for an unprecedented second term as president of the Port of Olympia Commission, despite the longstanding practice of annual officer rotations. (Port Commissioner Bill) McGregor voted with Downing to pass the motion. Vice President Zita was scheduled…
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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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Future Uncertain For ‘Safe Parking Site’

Future Uncertain For ‘Safe Parking Site’

The City of Olympia and Thurston County have put the brakes on a plan to create a single safe-parking site for people who live in their vehicles. Directed at finding a place to move people whose households are vehicles along Ensign Road, the plan was set in motion when the city held off on forcing them to move after the State Attorney General’s Office raised concerns about the sweep’s potential non-compliance with the state’s eviction moratorium and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Keith Stahley, an Assistant City Manager, said today, “we realized that the site (the city’s firing range at…
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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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Despite Accuracy Concerns, ‘Homeless Census’ Makes Changes Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Despite Accuracy Concerns, ‘Homeless Census’ Makes Changes Amid COVID-19 Crisis

Thurston County's annual tally of people experiencing homelessness will be quite different this year. Since 2005, when the point-in-time homeless census, or PIT, began counting people experiencing homelessness and the reasons why, hundreds of volunteers have fanned out across the county to survey people living in encampments, vehicles, and on the street.  Due to COVID-19 precautions, the county plans an "observation-based" count on January 28 (Thursday night into early Friday morning). This technique, rather than the survey-based census of previous years, is needed to limit direct contact between people to protect against the virus's spread. "Surveys would require an unsafe…
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Yen Huynh is the Newest Member of the Olympia City Council.

Yen Huynh is the Newest Member of the Olympia City Council.

Olympia Planning Commissioner Yen Huynh was chosen last night to fill the seat left vacant by Jessica Bateman who was elected to the WA State Legislature last November. Olympia City Councilwoman Yen Huynh Six council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to name her to the seat after a rigorous four-hour meeting, in which they interviewed all seven finalists and used a new ranked-choice voting system to select the winner. On her application, Huynh listed her top priorities as: Public health and safety, citing “concerns raised about police accountability; the wellbeing of our houseless community; and the current COVID-19 pandemic with…
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Olympia City Council Sets Annual Legislative Priorities

Olympia City Council Sets Annual Legislative Priorities

Meeting with 22nd Legislative District Caucus set for January 7th. Topping the city of Olympia’s list of 2021 legislative priorities are three very visible issues in our community: people experiencing homelessness, housing affordability, and the open carrying of weapons during rallies and protests. Council members will be discussing them with 22nd District legislators beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, January 7. You can see the meeting via Zoom, https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85701101554 The city is asking: For state support in addressing homelessness and assistance in providing affordable housing, mental health, and chemical dependency services. The city says it has the highest percentage of rent-burdened…
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Olympia City Council To Choose New Member Tomorrow

Olympia City Council To Choose New Member Tomorrow

Olympia will have a new City Council member this week. On Tuesday, January 5, the councilwill choose from seven finalists for the position, likely using a system that will be new to them – ranked-choice voting – as proposed by member Lisa Parshley. “It can be very difficult if you can only vote for just one,” Parshley said. In past appointments, council members would interview the candidates, discuss them, and then vote for their favorite. In the ranked-choice system, the council members will rank each applicant as first choice, second choice, etc. The process will be administered by Thurston County…
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