June 2019 meeting minutes
Southwest Olympia Neighborhood Association
Quarterly Membership Meeting
Thursday, June 20th, 2019
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Held at Gloria Dei Church
Roughly 35 people in attendence
WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS
Everyone in the room introduced themselves and noted where they live in the Southwest Olympia neighborhood.
Minutes for the March 21, 2019 membership meeting were made available to all present. Vote to approve the minutes passed.
CLIMATE MITIGATION STATEMENT
A letter drafted by the Olympia Council of Neighborhood Associations was approved by vote of members present.
ANNUAL PICNIC & ANNUAL MEETING
President Mark Toy lead a quick discussion on the upcoming annual SWONA picnic. The picnic is tentatively planned for August 17th from 11am-2pm. Exact times will be sorted out at further meetings to organize the picnic. Individuals are needed to help organize games and other events. Several individuals including Bethany and Angela volunteered to help.
Mike Dexel, President of the Northeast Olympia Neighborhood Association, presented to the group on his experience going through the sub-area planning process. The process was a pilot that took place between 2013 and 2016 and involved several other neighborhood associations which formed a new group called the Olympia Northeast Neighborhood Alliance to shepherd the project. The process involved a lot of community outreach which was funded, in part, by the City of Olympia through the allocation of staff time to the project. Ten representatives of the neighborhood associations worked together with the City to create plan informed by that outreach that stated the neighborhood’s primary values or goals which included crime reduction, mobility, and neighborhood centers. The plan required approval from the City and is considered a complimentary document to the City’s comprehensive plan.
Overall, Mike said the hope was that together, the neighborhood associations could achieve more than on their own. Some things were achieved such as the city prioritizing funding for a sidewalk/path through a park in the neighborhood. They also found the plan was useful as an officially adopted document for advocating for the neighborhood’s interests to the city. However, the did still need to actively advocate. Overall, Mike thought the relationship building that occurred through the process made it worth it. The team still meets to work on furthering the neighborhood’s interests and plan.
A full retrospective on the process as well as the documents that came out of it are available at www.olynna.com
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Mike Peters, a Community Policing Officer for the City of Olympia, came to present to the association on the City’s new community policing program, introduce himself, and field a few questions. Mike grew up in Olympia and attended Capitol High School. The community policing program is intended to proactively address crime by having a consistent presence in the neighborhoods and build trust with residents. It is not a patrol unit. Their hours are normally 7am-5pm but can be adjusted to respond to needs or requests. However, the program is more about addressing chronic issues.
Some questions came up including:
Q: Concern about issues around the 4th Avenue Bridge encampment.
A: Officer Peters said he is mostly working to address impacts to areas adjacent to the 4th Ave Bridge.
Q: How will the community policing unit respond to issues at night given their hours?
A: We can adjust our hours if needed. However, OPD uses crime data maps to allocate resources, so be sure to report issues. Our purpose is to address chronic issues like
Q: How is OPD responding to the scare around the cat mutilation?
A: OPD has a detective on it.
Community Policing Officer
Other non-emergency contacts
Nextdoor: OPD is a user and provides weekly crime updates
THURSTON HOUSING LAND TRUST
Susan Davenport from the Thurston Housing Land Trust presented on what a housing land trust is, their goal, and how they work. Thurston County Housing Trust was created in February 2018 with the goal of creating and retaining permanent affordable housing. The housing trust is a non-profit that purchases properties and then establishes 99-year leases. Occupants purchase the buildings on the property. The housing trust is looking to help occupants who make 30-120% of the median household income in the area. They are also looking into cooperative housing models. The housing trust is currently looking for members and support to help them build new housing due to lack of stock in the area. Sellers who sell their property to the land trust get a tax benefit.
Find out more about Thurston Housing Land Trust at https://sites.google.com/site/thurstonhlt/home
Paul Wohl, Court Commissioner to Thurston County District Court, gave a brief presentation on the proposed new courthouse location in Olympia. The county is looking to build a new courthouse at the current site of the City of Olympia’s municipal court, the Lee Creighton Justice Center. A bond funding the construction will be on the ballot next April. Commissioner Wohl presented the current short comings of the current Thurston County courthouse from a “administration of justice” perspective. The building was built 40 years ago and has deteriorating structures and systems as well as inadequate space for hearing the current caseload and private rooms for council advising clients. There are also outdated facilities with security concerns. Questions came up about the amount of the bond and its value versus the amount being bonded.
The membership briefly discussed raising dues to help support the work of the neighborhood association. A vote to raise the annual dues from $5 to $10 passed.
The next meeting is tentatively planned for Thursday, September 19th. More details to come. There will also be the annual SWONA picnic on Saturday, August 17th. See you then!
Submitted by Bradley Bobbitt, SWONA Secretary