Recent local blog posts

Olympia Weekend Events Calendar

Thurston Talk - Fri, 08/19/2016 - 6:02am


I was scrolling through Facebook this morning and came across a group of hilarious pictures of parents celebrating their kids first day of school.  While I’m confident that many of them were posed to add humor to the image, it still struck me that in less than a month my kids are heading back to […]

Thrifty Thurston Launches Olympia Pets into the Limelight during the 87th Annual Pet Parade

Thurston Talk - Thu, 08/18/2016 - 6:00am


Almost 150 years ago, George Eliot said, “animals are such agreeable friends—they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” Like her longstanding truth, the annual downtown Olympia Pet Parade has been a more than agreeable annual highlight for nearly 90 years. This year’s theme is ‘Pets in Space’ and no registration is required. Entrants under the […]

Former Sundberg Property About 900 feet from Suspected Olympia Fault Line

Janine's Little Hollywood - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 11:01pm

Olympia’s Critical Areas Ordinance Updated, Gaps Remain
Above: Looking like Eastern Washington, the former Sundberg sand and gravel mine in Olympia as viewed on Wednesday from a surveyed county road and right of way called North Road, looking toward Grove Street and 20th Avenue. Cooper Point Road is to the west.Sitting on a critical aquifer recharge area, the property has been dramatically and illegally altered for decades, and features mounds of disturbed soil about 30 to 40 feet high.

Repeated requests to the property owner and his representatives by Little Hollywood to tour the property by the city's first public comment deadline of Friday, August 19 have not been acknowledged. 
By Janine
The Olympia city council passed a critical areas ordinance on Tuesday evening that improves the last one, updated in 2004 and 2005, but it still has a long way to go.
As identified in a March 2016 memo to the city by its consultants, ESA Associates, of Seattle, says Olympia’s critical area ordinance still contains gaps.
The critical areas ordinance is required by the Growth Management Act (GMA), and the version passed mostly clarifies terms, streamlines code, and ensures consistency with the city’s recently adopted Comprehensive Plan.
Critical areas are considered to be wetlands, critical aquifer recharge areas, fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas, frequently flooded areas, and geologically hazardous areas.
The areas covered by the update are drinking water wellhead protection areas, habitats and species, streams and riparian areas, wetlands and small lakes, and landslide hazard areas.
A nine member working group met on July 26 to start identifying locally important species and habitats. Some species and habitats are known and others may be identified and considered through public workshops and meetings.
The first public workshop is scheduled for September.
“We expected to have this one meeting with this group but ran out of time so will be having a follow-up meeting, tentatively scheduled for Aug 29. 

“After that meeting, our consultant will synthesize the technical information, comments and best practices into general recommendations for protection options, which will be the basis of the presentation to the public in September,” said Linda Bentley, senior planner for the City of Olympia, in an email on Wednesday to Little Hollywood.
The group’s membership and meeting minutes for the July 26 meeting have not yet been posted to the city’s critical area ordinance webpage but were obtained by request from staff.
The group’s two environmental organization representatives are Sam Merrill of the Black Hills Audubon Society and Daniel Einstein of Olympia Coalition for Ecosystems Preservation. 

The group also includes Theresa Nation of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, a representative from Thurston County, three from the City of Olympia, and two of the city’s consultants.
Final recommendations for revising the code are scheduled to go to the city council in November.
Gaps Identified
Gaps in the city’s critical area ordinance include the fact that the city relies on the National Wetland Inventory and does not maintain any local mapping of delineated or potential wetlands. Several wetland model codes, categories, and buffer effectiveness guidelines were found to be outdated, and there was a general lack of alternative mitigation measures for wetland impacts.
In general, ESA Associates says that although the city has complete and reliable data for some critical areas, mapping for other areas are missing or incomplete.
For example, the city uses soils data to map steep slopes, but has not mapped any seismic hazards, severe erosion hazard areas, landslide hazards, or subsidence hazards, if present.
Green Cove Basin Concerns
Clearing up those gaps and areas of concern area can’t come soon enough for some residents of the Green Cove Basin area in west Olympia, as developers seem to know the city’s vulnerabilities. 

Multiple proposed land use applications for developments in the Basin are in progress. 

The Green Cove Basin is in the Eld Inlet watershed and contains steep slopes, ravines and canyons. Roughly bounded by Cooper Point Road on the east, Mud Bay Road on the south, Overhulse Road on the west, and Sunset Beach Drive on the north, it is protected by a 1998 Thurston County Comprehensive Plan. 
The area has been mapped as a critical aquifer recharge area by the county, but the city has not actually yet defined a critical aquifer recharge area, and instead relies on an identified wellhead protection area to serve the same purpose.
“Areas of ‘extreme’ aquifer susceptibility are mapped by the county as occurring near the city limits indicating similar unmapped areas of aquifer susceptibility may be present in the city,” says the ESA Associates report.
Property developer Jerry Mahan recently submitted a land use application to the city to convert the former Sundberg sand and gravel mine into a 177 single family housing development called Green Cove Park on the City of Olympia’s westside.
The exact area of this proposed development is labelled by Thurston County as an “extreme” aquifer recharge area.
Above: Tim Walsh, chief hazards geologist for the state Department of Natural Resources, gave an informative presentation about the history of earthquakes in the South Sound area at the annual meeting of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum in January. A maximum capacity crowd heard the presentation and many expressed that they were unaware that a fault runs under Olympia.
Olympia Fault Line Near Sundberg Property
The city has not mapped the city’s seismic hazards, and, as it turns out, the whole 104 acre former Sundberg sand and gravel mine property appears on county and state maps as being very near an earthquake fault line that runs through Thurston County.

So near, it’s about 900 feet from the property, and within about a half mile of the top of the hill on 20th Avenue near the proposed Parkside development on Cooper Point Road.

Tim Walsh, chief hazards geologist for the state Department of Natural Resources gave a presentation about the fault at the annual meeting of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum in the Coach House of the State Capitol Museum in January.
“We call it the Olympia structure but some people call it the Olympia fault,” said Walsh.
Walsh said it was initially identified on the basis of geophysical information. There is also paleoseismic data in support of an Olympia fault.
About 50 miles long, it was first mapped in 1965. In 1985, it was mapped from Shelton, near the Olympic foothills, southeast to Olympia, under the State Legislative Building, directly under the town of Rainier, to a point due east of the Doty fault, and apparently marking the northeastern limit of a band of southeast-striking faults in the Centralia– Chehalis area.
In 1998 a geologist saw enough similarity with the Seattle fault to speculate that it is a thrust fault.
Geologists Jack Odum and Bill Stephenson have also done seismic profiling along Steamboat Island Road and have made some interpretations of the Olympia structure to conclude that it is quite likely a fault.
Above: A close up of a slide by Tim Walsh, chief hazards geologist for the state Department of Natural Resources, showing the trajectory of the Olympia fault crossing  the area of Cooper Point and Eld Inlet very near the former Sundberg sand and gravel mine property. Click on image to enlarge.
Editor's Note, August 23: Please read note of clarification by Tim Walsh in the comment section under this article. 

Full Disclosure: Janine Gates is on the board of the Olympia Historical Society and Bigelow House Museum and heard Tim Walsh's presentation, along with a capacity crowd.
To read past stories about this land use proposal and other related Green Cove Basin developments, Parkside, and BranBar, go to Little Hollywood, and use the search button to type in key words.
For updated information about the Green Cove Park development, go to the City of Olympia website at or contact Cari Hornbein, City of Olympia Senior Planner, phone: (360) 753-8048, email: 

Where Jim Cooper, Allen Miller and John Hutchings got their support

Olympia Time - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 3:45pm

Glen wrote about how Allen Miller's candidacy for county commissioner was some sort of shield against fellow non-partisan John Hutchings, benefiting Jim Cooper. His point was that Miller would take votes from Hutchings and possibly force a Cooper Miller run-off in November.

At least on the top line results, that is sort of what happened. Cooper took over 35 percent of the votes in the five way primary while Hutchings and Miller fought it out for second at just under 20 percent. After all the voters were counted, Hutchings survived Miller and came out on top.

This map shows each candidate's strongest dozen or so precincts, where I could assume each candidate had their strongest support.

On the surface, you see something really interesting, Cooper did well in the inner northern Thurston precincts, Miller did well further out in the less walkable neighborhoods while Hutchings had his strongest support either much further out or right up next to Miller.

This suburban band around the edge of the northern Thurston urban areas that Miller won is also lit up against Sue Gunn in her election.

And, I suppose whether you believe Miller was a Cooper patsy is whether you believe Miller had more of an impact on Hutchings or Cooper.

For me, election returns not-withstanding, I doubt Miller jumped into the race to support Cooper. Knowing Miller, his number one priority in public life is somehow preserving Capitol Lake. This isn't a massive secret.

Cooper made a brave move recently on the city council to build in a position of pro-Deschutes estuary restoration on the city's primary planning document. If Miller enter the arena as some sort of pro-Cooper tank, he would have ignored his primary civic goal.

Ritchie Lopez Leads SPSCC Jazz Ensemble

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 6:54am


Gather up your lawn chairs, a blanket to sit on and a thermos of iced tea then head to the Port Plaza for a free, soul-satisfying concert performed by the South Puget Sound Community College summer jazz ensemble this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Fourteen musicians, along with their talented teacher Ritchie Lopez, are ready to […]

The Nitty-Gritty History of the Woman’s Club of Olympia

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 6:00am


Debe Edden’s fingers are busy typing stories from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. She is volunteering for the Woman’s Club of Olympia and is energized and committed to archive and digitize the rich history of this local service organization. Since 1883, local women gathered for self-improvement and volunteerism. They wrote articles, essays, and short plays […]

Seven Stunning Picnic Destinations around Hood Canal

Thurston Talk - Wed, 08/17/2016 - 6:00am


There is something incredible about picnicking along the Hood Canal region of the Olympic Peninsula. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, enjoying a lunch or dinner surrounded by wilderness, mountains and stunning waterways is a surefire way to have an awesome day. What makes a picnic around the Hood Canal so unique […]

The Right Stuff: Saint Martin’s Engineering Team Takes Second Place in National Big Beam Contest

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 5:53pm


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University For a hardworking team of Saint Martin’s University civil engineering students, several months of planning, building and testing ended triumphantly when the team’s 17-foot-long concrete beam bested all but one of the competition in the annual Big Beam Contest. The Saint Martin’s team placed second in a matchup against major […]

Harmony Farms Conservation Easement Tour

OlyBlog Home Page - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 2:32pm
Event:  Sat, 08/27/2016 - 10:30am - 12:30pm

You are invited to tour the privately owned, forever protected, Harmony Farms.  This 55-acre property is located on the eastern shores of Henderson Inlet.  Come explore the forests and see the fresh and salt water wetlands. You may get a chance to watch the many species of birds and mammals that frequent this property!

You will also learn more about our Inspiring Kids Preserve vision.  This site is part of the proposed location for this exciting new initiative for Capitol Land Trust.

Saturday, August 27, 2016
10:30 AM
Harmony Farms, Henderson Inlet 

This is a free event. Registration is required at logo Twitter logo Google Plus One Facebook Like

Love Our Local Fest – A Reminder of a Thriving Local Community

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:56am


LOL isn’t just an abbreviation to use while texting your best friend. It also applies to the sixth annual Love Our Local Fest on Sunday, August 21 beginning at 1:00 p.m. A block party for all ages, Love Our Local Fest (or simply LOL Fest) is a guaranteed good time. Head over to the corner […]

It’s (always!) Seahawks Fan Fest Time at Quinault Beach

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 11:16am


Even before our recent Super Bowl adventures, the Pacific Northwest is Seahawks crazy. And we’re not alone. Polls report that football is still the number one watched sport in most households and viewership of the Super Bowl topped 110 million for the last three years. Maybe such fervent fandom isn’t a bad thing. Vince Lombardi […]

Dwayne Boggs: A Life Built on Honesty and Integrity

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 6:00am


Since 2004, Dwayne Boggs has been guiding homeowners through his in-depth home inspections. Dwayne built Boggs Inspection Services from the ground up in Olympia and is now one of the fastest growing inspection companies in the area. Dwayne grew up in Brunswick, Ohio, about 25 miles south of Cleveland. He was in the middle of […]

SCJ Alliance Coordinates Stakeholders in North Lewis County Industrial Access Study

Thurston Talk - Tue, 08/16/2016 - 6:00am


Bringing back an abundance of family-wage jobs is the driver for improving access to industrial properties in north Lewis County. “This rural community wants their children to have opportunities for decent paying jobs without having to move away,” shares SCJ Alliance’s Thera Black. “Leaders are determined to find a solution and restore an economic base […]

2016 Men’s Soccer Schedule Announced

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 10:35pm


Submitted by Saint Martin’s University Saint Martin’s University men’s soccer team will play seven regular-season home games and three scrimmages to open the 2016 schedule announced today by Director of Soccer Rob Walker. The Saints will play three scrimmages starting on August 19 at 1:00 p.m. against The Evergreen State College, will face Pacific Lutheran […]

Thurston County Coalition for Women’s Health Launches Campaign Against Violence

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 9:26am


Submitted by Thurston County Public Health & Social Services Tackling tough issues in our community is made easier when organizations work together with a common purpose. A great example of this is happening locally through the Thurston Coalition for Women’s Health. The Thurston Coalition for Women’s Health is a group of 18 organizations who are working […]

Brenda Williams Appointed to National Women United Board

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 9:14am


Submitted by United Way of Thurston County Olympia business owner and community volunteer Brenda Williams has been appointed to serve on the board of the national United Way Worldwide Women United.  She is the first woman from Washington State to be appointed to this countrywide board.  Williams, who is co-owner of TAGS Awards and Specialties, […]

Jack Bell Goes to Cleveland as Washington’s Youngest Delegate

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 6:00am


It wasn’t your typical senior prom for Olympia High School’s Jack Bell. Earlier in the day, while most of his classmates were getting ready for the big dance, Bell was in Pasco delivering a speech in front of 3,000 people at the State Republican Convention. At stake for the 18-year-old was an opportunity to be […]

ThurstonTalk Uses Insights and Analytics to Guide Customers’ Marketing Decisions

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 6:00am


There are countless ways to advertise your business. Businesses have lots of options when it comes to reaching their audiences, including sponsoring events and airing commercials on the radio. In the digital age, one of the most common ways businesses do this is by placing ads online. From banner ads to pop-ups, the options that […]

Adopt-A-Pet Dog of the Week

Thurston Talk - Mon, 08/15/2016 - 6:00am


Submitted by Adopt-A-Pet of Shelton Pepper is a young female Pit Mix who is ready to find her new home. We believe she is about one year old and has a beautiful black and white Brindle short coat. Pepper is learning to walk well on leash and understanding basic commands. She could make a good […]

More than 30,000 Visitors Attended the 2016 Thurston County Fair

Thurston Talk - Sun, 08/14/2016 - 8:40am


Submitted by the Thurston County Fair  The 2016 Thurston County Fair saw a total of 30,523 visitors for fun, food, animals, hobbies, and rides! Community participation in the Thurston County Fair has steadily grown in the last five years, making the Thurston County Fair one of the signature summer events in the South Sound region […]

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