Friday, October 19, 2018

Temporary Olympia Ice Rink Coming Soon


Above: Scheduled to open November 16, a temporary ice rink currently being installed in downtown Olympia is anticipated to draw families and improve business in the downtown area.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Superhero Night? Rock n' Roll Live Music Night? Princess Night with the Lakefair Court? 

Get ready for some fun times in downtown Olympia this winter. 

A new park located on the isthmus at 529 4th Avenue West will become a covered, temporary ice rink from November 16 through January 6.

The rink area is 4,000 sq. ft. and will hold a maximum capacity of 125 skaters. 

In comparison, the iconic Rockefeller Center ice rink in Midtown Manhattan is a little over 7,000 square feet and has a capacity of 150 skaters at one time. 

So move over New York - here comes Oly on Ice!

When the City of Olympia held a brief event this past July in 91 degree weather to celebrate the beginning of the project, it was hard to imagine.

But now, cooler, foggy mornings have set in and City of Olympia Parks & Recreation staff are busy setting up the tent and equipment.

General admission prices with skates range from $12 and lower for youth, toddlers, foster, military, first responder families, and seniors. There will be day time skating hours, cheap skate nights, 10-skate passes and group rates.

Free public parking will be available at the two lots to the immediate east and west of the ice rink. Free street parking can be found along Capitol Lake. During evening and weekend hours, additional free parking is available at all City of Olympia managed lots and metered spots. There are also pay-to-park lots neighboring the rink.

There is no ice rink parking across the street at Bayview Thriftway or other private lots adjacent to the rink.

Temporary restrooms will be available during the run of the ice rink.

To offset the rink’s costs and keep admission fees accessible, the city actively gathered partnerships to pull it all off.

Community sponsors include a mix of large and small local and regional businesses, including the Olympia AutoMall, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Network, Propel Construction, TwinStar Credit Union, Browsers Bookshop, OBEE Credit Union, Graphic Communications, Capital Medical Center, Anthony’s Homeport/Hearthfire, and the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, among others.

Business sponsorship categories ranged between $400 and $10,000. Depending on the amount contributed, businesses have at least one opportunity to have a table or tent set up at the venue sometime during the run of the ice rink.

“We definitely see this project as a great way to involve local businesses and organizations,” said Anna Robinson, marketing program specialist with City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation.

“Even the businesses that aren’t in a position to join us as sponsors are really excited about it. Bringing a fun, family-friendly activity to downtown during what is normally a pretty quiet time of year around here really seemed to resonate with people,” she said.

At the ceremony in July, former City of Olympia Mayor Bob Jacobs spoke on behalf of the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation. The space that became a park was the result of a lot of hard work.

Jacobs thanked the Trust for Public Lands for their assistance in obtaining a $600,000 grant from the Thurston County Conservation Futures Fund, which the Foundation turned over to the city for capital expenditures at the park.

Foundation board members and other donors also provided a $100,000 cash donation to the city for the park’s capital expenses. He also thanked parks staff for working with the Foundation on park design and improvements.

The park is so far unnamed. At the time, Jacobs suggested that it be called the Capitol Olympic Vista Park, in honor of it being in the center of the beautiful view from the State Capitol Building to the Olympic Mountains.

The park is near the privately owned nine story Views on 5th, a mixed use development currently under construction.

The city estimates that 10,000 skaters will visit the rink over the course of the seven week season.

Above: Former City of Olympia mayor Bob Jacobs, right, plays a game of bean bag toss with Luke Burns, City of Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation staff, on July 26 at the city’s new park on the isthmus in downtown Olympia.

For more information about hours and other frequently asked questions, go to OlyonIce.com

For more information about downtown Olympia, the area known as the isthmus, the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, parks, and Views on 5th, go to Little Hollywood at www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and use the search button to type in key words.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

New Thurston County Courthouse: 3 Possible Sites Chosen


Above: The choice of locations for a new courthouse has been narrowed to three sites in Olympia. The current Thurston County Courthouse, built in 1978, is nearing the end of its useful life and presents the county with a host of security and maintenance issues.

Thurston County is looking at an estimated $200 million project funded by a property tax 

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

The choice of locations for a new Thurston County Courthouse has been narrowed down from 12 to three. 

After a three month study, the three sites chosen are:

- The former Olympia city hall on Plum Street, now the Lee Creighton Justice Center, which would be demolished;

- Vacant land owned by developer Jim Morris on Olympia’s westside on Harrison Avenue NW;

- A renovation and expansion of the existing courthouse at 2000 Lakeridge Drive.

In early November, the county will hold a series of community open houses and launch a public online survey. The county commissioners will make a final location choice in December.

The courthouse is required by state law to be located in Olympia.

Ron Thomas, Thomas Architecture Studios, was hired by Thurston County to conduct a feasibility study and public process for the site selection.

A 20 member committee advising the county is comprised of local attorneys, Intercity Transit, the Thurston Chamber of Commerce, the Olympia Lacey Tumwater Visitor and Convention Bureau, business representatives, and others.

The group determined various issues to consider when choosing a location such as community values, community development and impact to surrounding areas, functionality of the courthouse, transportation and access, and cost sharing opportunities.

Thomas and team members provided several one and a half hour community presentations for the public at the Olympia Center on Tuesday.  

At each session, Thomas reviewed the public process and outreach schedule, site pros and cons and related community impacts, and answered community questions.

Little Hollywood attended two of the daytime community presentation sessions, which were held in a partitioned room that was not wheelchair accessible. The evening meeting was held in a room that was accessible.

Above: On Tuesday, several chalk outlines of bodies led to Superior Court and the Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Yvonne McDonald, 56, was an African American woman found with significant injuries to her body but alive on August 7 in west Olympia. She died later that night. There has been little reported progress in an investigation into her death.

Building the Case for a New Courthouse

Built in 1978, the current courthouse complex is a confusing maze of three buildings with little signage. 

The buildings face significant building design issues with security concerns and failing electrical, plumbing, and heating and ventilation systems. There is a lack of conference rooms for attorneys and advocates meeting with their clients and at certain times, inadequate parking.

The courthouse includes Superior Court, District Court, Drug Court, and the County Clerk.

In what Thomas called the “civic center,” portion of the courthouse, other courthouse services include the Prosecuting Attorney offices, Sheriff’s Department, Public Defense, Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, Environmental Health, Commissioners, Development Review, Community Planning and Economic Development Department, Human Resources, and Pre-Trial Services.

The Olympia Justice Center is located at the Lee Creighton Justice Center on Plum Street, formerly Olympia City Hall. It contains the City Municipal Court, Probation, City Jail, City Prosecutor, and Court and Parking Judication.

To accommodate all these services in a consolidated location, the new courthouse facility needs an estimated 389,000 square feet, Thomas said, and would need room to expand to accommodate future growth.

The current courthouse employs about 400, but by 2050, that number is expected to reach 500.

Anticipated parking needs will require 1,200 parking spaces in a structured parking garage with height zoning changes. 

For each site, Thomas characterized the property, its pros and cons, and ranked each with a transit access and walking score. The maximum score for transit and pedestrian access was 100.

Above: Current Courthouse Location at 2000 Lakeridge Drive sits on 26 acres, characterized by steep slopes, making only 14 – 15 acres available for construction. Its transit score was 40. Its walking score, 21, was the lowest of the three sites due to its geographic isolation. It is currently served by two Intercity Transit routes, Route 12 and Route 42. The only nearby restaurant is at the Hotel RL. Selection of this site would renovate and expand the courthouse complex in phases while maintaining services.

Above: The former Olympia City Hall site at 900 Plum Street, now the Lee Creighton Justice Center sits on 10 ½ acres with two wetlands. Its transit score ranked 56, the highest of all three sites, due to its proximity to I-5 and multiple Intercity Transit routes and their frequency. It received a walking score of 85, also the highest of the three sites, due to its location near restaurants and other services.

City of Olympia municipal court services and the jail are located here and would be demolished. Built in 1966, the building was designed by noted local architect Robert Wohleb and is featured on tours highlighting mid-century modern architecture.

This location is adjacent to the Yashiro Japanese Garden and a proposed site for a city-owned 24/7 emergency housing space for 40 unsheltered individuals using a mix of tiny homes and tents.

In one presentation, Thomas said the wetlands on the property could be filled in, but their function would have to be made up some other way.

Above: Vacant land near a strip development at 4419 Harrison: 27 acres bound by Harrison Avenue NW and Kaiser and 7th Avenue near the Highway 101 interchange, the land is owned by developer Jim Morris. This location ranked a transit score of 34 and a walking score of 50 because there are stores and services nearby. 

Jay’s Farm Stand and a new strip development owned by Morris are near this option. Tenants of that development include Blue Heron Bakery and Don Juan Mexican Restaurant. Intercity Transit does not currently serve the area.

Instead of structured parking at this site, there is room to create eight acres of surface parking, thus lowering the overall project cost, Thomas said. He added that he didn’t think that was the right thing to do.

An extensive onsite stormwater facility would need to be built if this location was chosen. Roads would also be built north and south and east and west through the property to address connectivity issues.

Community Impact

Wherever the new courthouse is located, it will have a dramatic impact on the area.
  
Whether it is located in a commercial area or residential area, the courthouse will spill out into the area for “blocks and blocks,” catering to employees and clients using courthouse services, Thomas said.

John Vanek, an attorney with the Housing Justice Project program at Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services, a nonprofit arm of the Thurston County Bar Association, provided his thoughts.

Vanek provides free civil legal advice and representation to low-income people facing eviction in Thurston and Mason Counties.

“There is inadequate parking and no meeting space to meet with clients in a confidential location. Many are not familiar with court and they are already traumatized. There is a video screen informing clients of cases but it uses archaic language such as ‘unlawful detainer’ which means eviction. It is not a welcoming space...it is artless,” he said.

Later, he expressed his concerns about locating the new facility on Plum Street, saying the area is built on fill and past core sample results looked like a “gray milkshake.” He also expressed concern that the facility would have a significant impact on the nearby Eastside neighborhood.

One woman, an attorney, said the current courthouse feels dangerous.

“It’s so crowded, stressful and confusing. It needs to be a space that feels safe and secure,” she said. 

She was eager for the project to start and offered suggestions for making the current location more desirable, such as a covered pedestrian bridge linking parking to the facility.

Other suggestions for the new facility besides improved parking, security and added space requirements included an open plaza, an atrium, a central kiosk staffed with a real person to help direct court users, vending machines, and an area for children.

Bob Schwartz of HOK Architects conducted the feasibility study for a new courthouse in 2015.

In an interview after a presentation, Schwartz said he has designed hundreds of courthouses throughout the country in his 35 year career. He recently designed courthouses in Marion County, Indianapolis and Joliet, Illinois, outside Chicago.

“There is a pent up demand for courthouse facilities. Many courthouses date to the era of the WPA (an employment program created by President Roosevelt in 1935). Many are facing issues due to the recession and deferred maintenance, he said. 

Asked which of his most recent courthouse designs could be compared to Thurston County, he said he recently designed the new Kitsap County courthouse in Port Orchard. Thomas Architecture Studios is the firm leading that project as well.

“The region is growing in population and their courthouse needs are very similar - issues of security, code issues, and seismic concerns,” he said.

The $200 Million Dollar Question

The county is looking at an estimated, minimum $200 million project.

Thomas declined to estimate a total project cost for each option, saying that has not yet been determined. Property acquisition costs alone will vary wildly, he said.

There are two options for funding the project. The first is to issue a property tax called a general obligation bond that would require 60 percent of the vote to pass and a 40 percent turnout voting yes.  

The second option is a property tax called a levy lid lift, accomplished with a simple majority vote.

According to the Municipal Research Service Center (MRSC), new state legislation that became effective in June allows cities and counties to exempt senior citizens, disabled veterans, and other people with disabilities as defined in RCW 84.36.381 from a tax increase resulting from a levy lid lift. 

This exemption is optional. If a jurisdiction is planning a levy lid lift and wants to exempt these individuals, it must state the exemption in the ballot measure placed before the voters.

Little Hollywood asked county budget director Robin Campbell on Wednesday what funding route the board of commissioners will choose.

Campbell said the commissioners are leaning toward the levy lid lift because it's a whole lot easier, and would probably consider a property tax exemption for eligible individuals, but added, we're not that far down the road.

Due to another recent legislative change that is special to Thurston County, the levy lid lift would be required to be paid over a period of 25 years instead of the previously required nine years, she said.

When the commissioners choose a funding option, voters will vote on it in August, 2019.

According to a July report in the Kitsap Sun newspaper, an undetermined amount of non-voted bond debt will be used to pay for the Kitsap County courthouse construction.

The report says Thomas shared four design options with the Port Orchard City Council ranging in height from four to seven stories. He cautioned council members that what is eventually built will likely look significantly different given the county's budget constraints and other factors in the planning process.

Open Houses for the Thurston County Courthouse and Civic Center Project  

Several upcoming public open houses are scheduled. On November 6, there will be five sessions with a specific focus for each session. Anyone may attend any session:

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (Real Estate and Design), 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Municipal Employees), 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Legal Profession), 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Other Stakeholders), 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (General Public) at Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave. SE, Olympia

November 7, 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at City of Rainier, 102 Rochester St. W, Rainier

November 7, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Rochester High School Commons, 19800 Carper Rd. SW, Rochester

Above: John Vanek created and donated his artwork titled, “Justice,” to the City of Olympia as part of the Art in Public Spaces program in 2012. It is at the Lee Creighton Justice Center.

For more information from Thurston County about the Thurston County Courthouse and Civic Center Project, go to https://www.thurstoncountywa.gov/bocc/Pages/courthouse-civic-project.aspx

The Center for Court Innovation and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) wrote a report last year assessing the court’s internal processes and facility strengths and weaknesses regarding access to justice. In the report, several recommendations for improvements were made. The report is available at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/distcrt/docs/TCDC_Report.pdf

Recent Little Hollywood interviews of Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim and Prosecuting Attorney candidate Victor Minjares and Thurston County Commission candidate Tye Menser all mention Thurston County Courthouse issues and current law and justice models. Go to https://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.

For more information about Yvonne McDonald, go to http://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com/2018/08/justice-for-yvonne-mcdonald.html

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Sequalitchew Warehouse Public Hearing on Hold


Above: A red-tailed hawk soars above the trailhead of Sequalitchew Creek in DuPont earlier this month. A public hearing tentatively scheduled for October 24 regarding the proposed development of two large warehouses near the creek has been cancelled.

Project Applicant Meets with Interested Parties

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

A public hearing for the proposed development of two large warehouses in the City of DuPont near a historically and environmentally sensitive area near Sequalitchew Creek has been cancelled.

The hearing in front of a hearing examiner had been tentatively set for October 24 but an environmental determination for the property has not yet been reached.

Once the city gathers more information, an environmental decision about the project will be issued by the city and a hearing date will be set.

The project applicant, DuPont Industrial Partners LLC, represented by Barghausen Consulting Engineers of Kent, is learning more about the concerns of those interested in the area’s environmental and historic significance.

Known as Lot Y, the 21 acre wooded site where the proposed warehouses would be located is on the northeast side of Sequalitchew Creek off Center Drive behind a residential community. 

According to the application, warehouse operations would generate significant traffic and other operational activity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The peaceful 1.5 mile trail follows the creek near City of DuPont city hall and ends at the mouth of Sequalitchew Creek and Puget Sound, just north of the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. 

The area is abundant with wildlife and is a favorite destination for families, bird watchers, and photographers.

The Sequalitchew area was the site of a year round village for the Sequalitchew-Nisqually Indians over 5,700 years ago. 

The land for the proposed warehouses is also the site of the historic Methodist Episcopal Mission, the first non-permanent, Euro-American settlement on Puget Sound. Built in 1839, the Mission burned down in 1842.

The site is also the area where approximately 4,000 Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry camped and held several military maneuvers from 1904 to 1912.

A discussion among representatives of invited organizations was held at City of DuPont city hall on October 10th. The meeting was held at the request of the property owner and project applicant. 

Invited interest groups included the Nisqually Indian Tribe, Washington State Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation, DuPont Historical Society, United Methodist Church Commission, the Nisqually Delta Association, and the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Tacoma.

The applicant sought input from the groups to help identify the cultural and historic features on the site and seek input on how to preserve and tell the history of the site. These and other entities have long worked to create a National Historic District in the project area.

The applicant invited the stakeholders back for a follow-up discussion sometime during the last week of October, City of DuPont community development director Jeff Wilson told Little Hollywood.

Little Hollywood has written several stories about the proposed project. For photos and more information, go to Little Hollywood at www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.

For more information about the property and to stay up to date on future public hearings and meetings, contact Jeff Wilson, City of DuPont Community Development Director and City SEPA Official, at jwilson@dupontwa.gov or (253) 912-5393, or go to www.dupontwa.gov.

Above: The Sequalitchew Creek Trail in Pierce County is a favorite with families. Two warehouses totaling 258,400 square feet, or over five acres, are proposed to be built 100 feet from the creek.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Starbucks Grange Opens Its Doors in Tumwater


Above: Sue and Jim Bert are greeted by friends as they walk into the new Starbucks at the former Chambers Prairie Grange  No. 191 at 1301 Yelm Highway in Tumwater Thursday morning.

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

A whole new generation of hugs, handshakes, and smiles once again filled the 108 year old former Chambers Prairie Grange in Tumwater on Thursday.

It almost looked like a scene from the old days, except for those taking selfies with the spacious interior from the exposed roof beams to the wooden floor. 

Now hung high on the wall, the original Chambers Prairie Grange No. 191 sign was a favorite image.

Now owned by Tom and Tiffany Schrader, the space is leased to Starbucks and became a new gathering place as customers came from all four directions to the corner of Henderson Boulevard and Yelm Highway, starting at 4:30 a.m. 

The former grange, once located in an agricultural area, is at the physical crossroads of Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard and the cities of Tumwater and Olympia.

It was a moving experience for some. Members of the Wickie family were among the first who came in early to check out the new space, said Ashley Buller, the new Starbucks store manager. 

According to the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, the Chambers Prairie Grange No. 191 was organized in 1906 by Fred W. Lewis and reorganized in March, 1908. 

Grange members built the hall through donated work on land donated by the Wickie Family, completing the structure in 1910.

The Chambers Prairie Grange was one of the first in Thurston County.

Above: Aubree Fudge, Bev Eagen, and Jackie Barratt, aquatics staff for the Briggs YMCA, were thrilled to walk across the street to the new Starbucks and get some drinks for themselves and other staff members.

Business was steady throughout the day. 

Families with young children streamed through while one young man camped out with his laptop and a pile of books about anatomy. Another man watched Judge Brett Kavanaugh being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee on his phone. 

After greeting friends, Sue and Jim Bert positioned themselves at a corner table to admire the scene. They’ve lived in Tumwater for 15 years and described themselves as loyal Starbucks customers.

“I’ve found a new home,” Sue Bert laughed.

Her friend Joan Olson, of Olympia, walked in to greet them. Olson has lived in the area for 39 years and walked over from her residence in Olympia on Yelm Highway.

Staff and members of the Briggs YWCA also walked in from across the street on Yelm Highway.

Bev Eagen, Briggs YMCA aquatics coordinator, audibly exclaimed, “It’s crazy! I love how open it is!”

Kate and Bob Hill walked across the street from Silver Leaf, an active living facility for those 55 years “and better,” on Henderson Boulevard in Olympia, where they have lived for three years. 

“I love it! We’ve been watching it progress for so long. I love how they kept the integrity of the actual grange,” she said.


Above: Starbucks staff member Kendall Crawford offered samples of pumpkin spice lattes and scones at their new location inside the former Chambers Prairie Grange on opening day Thursday.

In the afternoon, Little Hollywood joined the Schraders, who were cuddling at the long table in the back of the building. Exhausted but soaking in the ambiance, they watched customers as they came in.  

A potted plant with a handwritten card saying, “Welcome to the Neighborhood,” sat in front of them, signed by a family living nearby.

Tom Schrader had stayed up late Wednesday night helping put the final touches on everything to open Thursday morning. He did not attempt to make the 4:30 a.m. opening, but his wife Tiffany did.

“I was their first customer at 4:30 a.m. and eight seconds,” she laughed. The prized cup with the time stamp and her name on it now sits at home on the mantle.

Customers came over to congratulate the Schraders, including one woman with her children in tow. As a resident of the adjacent subdivision, The Farm, she had expressed concerns about the project, but was happy with the end result. 

The Schraders used literally dozens of local contractors for all facets of the former grange’s transformation. They played tag team, quickly naming as many businesses as they could remember on the spot:

“Great Western Supply, Valley Supply on Mottman Road for steel supplies, Venables Pest Management, Reliable Electric, Adam Laneer Construction for roofing and soffit work, Capital Gutter, Paul Berschauer for the HVAC system, Bracy and Thomas Surveyors, South Sound Bank for financing the project, Sharp Trucking, Bayview Lumber, H.D. Fowler, Puget Sound Landscaping, Extreme Excavation, Puget Plants, Nature Perfect, Al’s Welding, Zeigler’s Welding, Propel Concrete, Erik Ainsworth, a land developer and structural engineer, Lacey Door, Paul Jensen for finish work, Kell-Chuck Glass, and Mike Anderson for siding and trim,” they said.

“All the trim is original, but Mike added new siding on the backside of the building where it was needed, and was able to replicate the old trim. It’s amazing how close it was. You wouldn't know the difference,” Tom Schrader added.

“The only time we went out of Olympia is if we couldn’t find someone to do a job on our timeline, said Tiffany Schrader, a third generation South Sound resident. It’s easy to name all the companies, but I just have to add that we couldn’t have done it without all the individuals - the neighbors, our friends, and church members who poured their lives into this project.” 

It sounded like an old-fashioned barn raising, showing that some things never change.


Above: The former Chambers Prairie Grange has been transformed into a Starbucks.

For more stories, photos and information about the transformation and history of the Chambers Prairie Grange, the building’s purchase by Tom and Tiffany Schrader in 2015, required property rezones, and negotiations between the City of Tumwater and Tom Schrader, go to Little Hollywood at www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Grange Starbucks Expected to Open This Week


Above: The former Chambers Prairie Grange #191 has come back to life and now bears a Starbucks logo. Pending final inspections, the store at 1301 Yelm Highway in Tumwater is expected to open on Thursday.

Chambers Prairie Grange #191 Sign Comes Home

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood
https://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com

Pending final inspections, a new Starbucks at the former Chambers Prairie Grange at 1301 Yelm Highway in Tumwater will open on Thursday.

The coffee shop is inside the 108 year old building, one of the first granges built in Thurston County, located on the corner of Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard. 

In recent decades, the former grange hosted a variety of memorable events, community fundraisers, and dances, but had sat neglected for years by the time developer Tom Schrader bought it in 2015 from the Washington State Grange. 

Still, the building retained its historic character and structural integrity.

Starbucks is leasing the upstairs portion of the building from Schrader, and on Tuesday, he was on site juggling a myriad of last minute details. 

Above: Inside the former Chambers Prairie Grange #191 in Tumwater on Tuesday.

Inside, a dozen or so Starbucks employees frantically unpacked boxes full of displays, supplies and equipment which had just been delivered that morning. 

Starbucks construction manager Cheryl Nicholson managed to keep the chaos organized while setting up tables and chairs out on the deck.

The inside features exposed original beams and skylights to allow in natural light. The original glass in the windows was retained. The maple floor was taken off, exposing the original Douglas fir flooring underneath. The stage is gone, but the dark-colored wood that surrounded the stage was repurposed in portions of the floor.

Historically, granges served as the community center for social, agricultural, educational, and political activities. Many artifacts were found in the grange when Schrader purchased the building including ledgers, ribbons, and songbooks. 

For a wall display, Schrader reproduced a list written in calligraphy of grange masters dating from 1908, which features many familiar last names.  

Above: The original Chambers Prairie Grange #191 sign has come home. It will be on display inside the former grange, which has been transformed into a Starbucks.

The land use process for getting the project to this point has been a multi-year roller coaster ride, chronicled by Little Hollywood since 2015. 

But perhaps the most emotionally rewarding achievement for Schrader was his recent procurement of the large, wooden, painted chipped Chamber Prairie Grange #191 sign that hung on the outside of the building for so many years.

Schrader declined to say who had the sign, but he has worked hard to get it. After he learned who had it, he found that she was unwilling to part with it for sentimental reasons.

Two Sundays ago, Schrader said, the woman contacted him. She saw that his dream to open a community space in the former grange was finally becoming a reality and told him it was time for her to let the sign go. 

Schrader purchased it from her, and just yesterday, brought it back to the grange. To protect it from the weather, it will be hung on an inside wall.

“The sign needed to come home,” he said.

Above: Ashley Buller of Tenino, center, is the new Starbucks store manager at the former Chambers Prairie Grange on Yelm Highway. She is excited to open the store and appreciated the reuse of materials throughout the building. 

A grand opening will be scheduled in the near future. 

Store hours will be Monday through Friday, 4:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., Saturday, 5:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m., and Sunday, 5:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

For more photos and information about the history of the Chambers Prairie Grange, the building’s purchase by Tom Schrader, and property rezones, negotiations and compromises between the City of Tumwater and Schrader, go to Little Hollywood at www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.