March 16 2017 meeting minutes

04/22/2017 16:32

SWONA,  Southwest Olympia Neighborhood Association

Quarterly Membership Meeting

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Held at: Gloria Dei Church

Time: 7:00 pm

Approximately 49 people present.




Everyone present was asked to introduce themselves, tell where they live in the SWONA neighborhood, and respond to the question: What is your favorite springtime activity?


Treasurer’s report

Whitney Raines, SWONA Treasurer, reported the SWONA bank account balance as: $540.04

This figure will increase following the evening’s meeting, as many of those present were renewing their memberships or becoming members for the first time. Welcome!



According to the SWONA bylaws, the board positions of Vice President, Secretary and Member-at-large are up for re-election in odd numbered years. Each elected officer serves for a period of two years. There was only one name on the ballot for each position: Vice President – Karen Janowitz, Secretary – Angela Rush, and Member-at-large – Brent McBride. Each officer was affirmed by unanimous proclamation vote.


Though election of the board President is carried out in even numbered years, the position has been temporarily filled for the past several months by Phil Cornell (formerly the board Vice President), following Bethany Weidner’s retirement.  Phil’s being the only name on the ballot, he was affirmed as SWONA President by unanimous proclamation vote.





Charlie Stephens provided an overview of the “walking parks” located in the SWONA neighborhood. These include the Welcome Spot at 9th & Fern, Caton Garden off 9th below Decatur, and the Rainier Bench at Midway Ave. There has been a good amount of weeding, pruning and cleanup accomplished over the past fall and winter at the 9th & Fern Welcome Spot. New plantings and other spruce-up work is planned for the parks.


A grant application for continued work on the walking parks has recently been submitted to the City of Olympia, requesting a total of $4,000. As a match to the funds, the neighborhood needs to supply a minimum of 118 volunteer work hours. Signup sheets were available for providing contact information, and Charlie will be sending email notices for upcoming work events at the parks. The first work party is scheduled for Saturday, April 1 at the 9th & Fern Welcome Spot.


A planned Walking Map is another part of the grant funded parks project. Bethany Weidner described the walking parks as small destinations for walks through the neighborhood, and a map would include not only the parks but other places and items of interest, such as Little Libraries, treehouses, and viewpoints. Part of the requested grant money would allow funding for the work of a graphic artist to create the map.


Question: How would individual hours spent on work at the various gardens be recorded?

Members should email a description of their work time spent on the walking parks to:


Discussion followed regarding the Percival Creek Trail, located near the end of 15th Ave SW. The trail is open to the public, however there is a large amount of refuse at the bottom of the path and along the creek, in addition to a significant number of homeless encampments.


Suggestion was made to consider a cleanup of the path as a neighborhood project. One neighbor, who works at the Thurston County Assessor’s Office volunteered to research ownership of the path and the parcel in which it lies, any right of way issues, and the permissions required for cleanup and other work.


Percival Creek, which lies at the bottom of the path (and ravine), is a designated salmon stream. Suggestion was made to seek involvement of the City of Olympia Stream Team and any other interested conservation and environmental groups.



Preparing for “the big one” or any other possible disaster is something everyone needs to be doing. The moderate earthquake centered in the Kitsap Peninsula on February 23, was a small reminder and a nudge to us all.


A lively amount of discussion followed, regarding various preparedness measures important to undertake, and ideas that could include whole-neighborhood participation.

Some of the ideas suggested:

-Neighborhood involvement in the Map Your Neighborhood program, which is an excellent tool for compiling a block-by-block resource list of tools, skills, special needs, etc.

-Create a neighborhood designated area to gather or exchange messages & information in the event of a major disaster.

-Neighbor John Amos, a self-described Disaster Junkie and who has past experience as a preparedness trainer, offered up his willingness to provide help where he could, and answers to questions. His contact information is 360-878-8948, email at Thank you, John!

-Neighbor Mark Toy, who works with the county Department of Health, offered up his help with technical questions pertaining to water, etc.


Suggestion was also made to organize a task force group that could plan, recruit, brainstorm, coordinate neighborhood-wide efforts regarding preparedness. Phil Cornell reminded the group that in the event of a major disaster, neighbors become first responders for each other.


The initial organizing of a task force could be done in conjunction with summertime block parties or yard sales. Send an email to Phil Cornell, care of the SWONA email address,, with more task force ideas OR to volunteer your unique skills or willingness to participate.


The SWONA neighborhood has a Facebook page. Part of that page includes a private group page that can be used for communication among neighbors. To access the group page, log in to Facebook, then go to:

Click on Join Group.


New Business & Announcements

South Sound Climate Action Convention will be held on Saturday, March 25, 9:30am – 4pm, at the Olympia Center, 222 Columbia St. NW, Olympia. Come learn more about things that are happening in our area regarding climate and climate action.


March for Science will take place in Olympia on Earth Day, April 22, from 11am – 2pm. The march will begin at the Legislative campus and end in Heritage Park downtown, where there will be booths, presentations, and many things of interest.


Meeting adjourned at 8:00pm.

Next quarterly Membership meeting:  June 15, 2017

-submitted by Angela Rush, SWONA Secretary