November 20, 2014 Meeting Minutes
Minutes by Janis Rich 11-20-14
V.P. Phil opened meeting at 7:00pm
Approximately 20 participants
Introductions-question favorite hobby
Many different answers from neighbors, cooking, tennis, retirement, outside fun, reading
Gardening, music, soccer, photography, dancing, fishing and beer
Treasurer’s report $398.89 in checking account, three new paid members
Acknowledge Chloe, worked for SWONA maintaining our walking parks over the summer, good job, recognized her and provided letter of recommendation by Ann V. Treasurer.
Jim Costa from Olympia Police Dept. is the guest speaker
36 years with police department
Discussed scheduling and staffing levels, large area to cover, from accidents to whatever else comes up-service calls may keep officers out of the local neighborhoods for routine patrols, passed out snapshot of service calls from 10-18 to 11-18-2014, downtown is always busy with need but that doesn’t mean our neighborhoods are not important to police staff, looking to get “most bang for the buck”, priority one & two call responses are approx. 4 minutes or less, other communities can be up to 30 minutes, priority three and four are possibly slower due to priority 1 &2 calls in action, car prowls are truly not high priority, they are crimes of opportunity, owners need to be aware of how to keep items out of sight, or not in the car at all and keep cars locked, police bait cars are in neighborhoods but very time consuming and not good use or productive use of time, working to reduce home burglaries
Question from audience: has there been an increase of crime since the economy crashed in ’08? Yes and No. Many robberies due to too much cash on hand due to marijuana laws changing and no banking facility for cash, crime of opportunity again, crime is everywhere and economy does affect the numbers but not sole reason crimes increases or decreases, There is a website: Crimereports.com that can show the crime in your neighborhoods, Phil and Jim did a presentation on the website to show how to use it and where to find the information, “thanks to Gloria Dei for allowing us to use their equipment so we could demonstrate the website on their newly installed screen”-biggest dynamics is that most social services are concentrated in a very small area, there are no vagrancy laws in Olympia, not a crime to hang out.
Question from the audience: how do the downtown ambassadors help the issues of crime in the downtown? They try to move folks along, try to keep negative behaviors in check. People can sleep in areas without it being a crime, jails are full, law enforcement and supportive organizations are playing a creative chess game, mental health providers are losing resources also, the types of drugs have changed over the history of Jim’s tenure with the police force, years ago it was mostly marijuana, now there is mixing of methamphetamine and heroin and other toxic drugs, deep psycho social issues and resources are drying up, police don’t have as much authority as public believes they have, urged us all to not give money to panhandlers, chances are that they are only going to use it to buy drugs or alcohol, giving them money is not the answer, only exacerbates the problem, those folks make a living asking for money sometimes up to $50 to $100 a day.
Question from the audience: 15-20 years ago, bread and roses existed to feed the homeless-would a soup kitchen help this issue? Personal opinion from Jim is that there will be an influx of people if you add opportunities for those types of services, similar to the if you build it they will come scenario, other jurisdictions actually bring folks to our area because we have so much to offer, other communities do not want certain folks in their area so they send them away (ie: Olympia) where they can get services. However, there are no problems with Camp Quixote, started with church group and church communities are useful in helping folks in need, there have been very few issues with the Camp, if you get a person into housing, they get a sense of pride and accomplishment, giving people food is not an issue but directly giving money to folks is more of a problem than feeding them.
Any call to dispatch for services to OPD will be given a priority 1, 2, 3 or 4
Crime prevention comments: Always be aware of surroundings, check car before you get in your car, it is important to be proactive.
Comment from audience member; mental health issues are deep and alcohol is not separate from mental health, services have been eroded and now there is a high concentration of need
Walking park update presented by Phil,
Chloe has maintained the walking park well over the summer,
New Walking Path (the poetry post at the end of Decatur) has been approved by bike pedestrian committee, off to the counsel next in December, Good news for our neighborhood: 16th and Decatur opening has been taken out of the comp plan,
Issues regarding the house on 8th & Rogers: Vacant for four years, blue ranch style home, bank owned, but there has been rats in clear view on the roof and other areas of the property, who is responsible and how to fix, code enforcement is no help, can Dept. of Health (DOH) do anything if rats are overrunning the property, can neighbors present a letter to the city council supporting action that will keep people out of the property and the need for pest management? There is a lack of visibility that may allow vagrants to live in the house or on the property, neighbor found out today that there is litigation, public foreclosure is pending. Can city send a letter to the bank? A number of folks are interested in purchasing the home, there is a reverse mortgage, and heirs did not have any rights as bank owned so in litigation. This is now a public health issue. Some discussion about neighbors pitching in to clean up property (would there be a trespass issue if neighbors went over and simply cleaned out the overgrowth?). Other neighbors want the responsible party to take care of the house (finding it difficult to get responsible parties to deal with issues), code enforcement has been notified number of times, they suggested that a letter be drafted and submit to city council by December 9th, make letter to chief of police, be a squeaky wheel, email Rich and advise that we support the letter to the council, 289 homes on nextdoor.com If you interested go to the Nextdoor.com website for details on how to help.
Motion to send the letter and that SWONA stands behind the letter to the city council and the community planning committee 1218 8th SW, seconded and moved as approved by SWONA
There is more than one home in our area that is a public hazard-other derelict houses; hoarding issues become public health issues. City does not seem to be able to or will not do anything regarding these houses.
Village Winter Warmer at the Eastside Urban Farm and Garden 2326 4th Ave E, Olympia Saturday December 13th 6-9pm suggested donation $5 to $10/facebook group facebook.com/groups/olyVBC
Meeting officially adjourned 8:15 pm
Next meeting March 19, 2015 7:00 PM Gloria Dei