Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Is Served with Barb O’Neill’s Family and Friends

By Janine Gates

Barb O’Neill’s Family and Friends succeeded in pulling off their 46th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday at United Churches of Olympia for those who wished for a warm environment, good food, and great company. 

An estimated 26 to 30 turkeys with all the trimmings were served by 5:00 p.m. Desserts, bread items, children’s books, and clothing of all types were available as well. Some folks stayed all afternoon.

Kevin Harris, just one of many essential volunteers, has played a role with the traditional community meal for 26 years. As the dining room coordinator, he estimated that they served fewer meals than usual this year, but to get an accurate count, they will do a full count of plates served. Those who asked received additional, full Thanksgiving meals to go, and there were many requests.

This reporter was a grateful recipient of generous portions of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, garlic bread, cranberry sauce, pickles and refreshments.  I passed on the black olives, but they were also offered. 

This year, I handed out pre-wrapped egg salad sandwiches and later did a stint stationed on the assembly line, serving up the creamy mashed potatoes. 

The community-wide invitation to share in the meal is available to anyone, because friendly companionship is just as important as food. I met several fascinating members of our local community. People chatted, a band played jazzy tunes and volunteers like Gracie Anderson, 16, were back to share in the camaraderie.

The Olympia High School student came late in the afternoon because there was a full day of school, and as a result, fewer teenagers were present to volunteer. She has had a busy year since I last saw her last Thanksgiving.

In Spring of last year, she, along with her mother and aunt who are both school mental health counselors in Chehalis, decided to do something for that community and the Chehalis School District.

As if being a fulltime student wasn’t enough, Anderson started an organization, Food for our Future, based on the successful model of Thurston County’s Homeless Backpacks. She is now in the process of applying for her organization’s non-profit status.

Starting with two elementary schools, Food for our Future is now in three Lewis County schools, providing 75 bags of food each week for students who might otherwise go hungry over the weekend when school is not in session. Bags of food are distributed on Fridays to students determined to be homeless through criteria based on the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act.

The Act determines that children are deemed homeless if they are living on the streets, in a shelter, or couch-surfing. Families are able to opt-out of Anderson’s program if they so choose.

Anderson recently paired with Hannah Hart who sponsors “Have a Hart Day,” an international initiative to organize and mobilize Hartosexuals & friendly humans to spread service and reckless optimism all over the world. (Go to and you might get hooked watching Hart's Newlyfriend Game with Daniel Radcliffe).  

Anderson served as the city captain of Chehalis for three “Have a Hart Day,” events and received 30 volunteers to bag food. Usually, Anderson said, they have about 10 volunteers to bag food.

“Now we have enough bagged food for four weeks!” she said.

Anderson’s enthusiasm to help others is contagious. She shared many stories of individuals she has met who inspire her to continue her work to help others.

“I want everyone to have the same opportunities that I have had….For me, it’s about doing my best and doing everything I can because I’ve been so incredibly lucky,” said Anderson.

Barb O'Neill's Family and Friends keeps growing.

To contact Food for our Future, contact Gracie Anderson at

Homeless Backpacks is a local non-profit 501c3 corporation committed to ending homelessness by giving teens the help they need so they can focus on school, go on to graduate and become contributing citizens.

They provide food for the weekend to homeless teens in Thurston, Mason and Grays Harbor Counties. Begun in 2004, the group serves between 300-400 students per week in Thurston County. For more information, go to

To read more about Gracie Anderson, or Barb O’Neill’s Family and Friends Thanksgiving Dinner, go to Little Hollywood at and type key words into the search button.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Zita Sworn In As Port of Olympia Commissioner

Above: E.J. Zita, left, was sworn in as a new Port of Olympia commissioner by Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall at the Thurston County Courthouse on Wednesday morning. Although she trailed opponent Jerry Farmer on election evening, Zita gradually pulled ahead for a final lead of 227 votes out of a total of 52,659 votes cast, not counting write-ins. A machine recount of the ballots is not expected to change the outcome of the election, said Hall.

Interview with Port Commissioner Zita 

By Janine Gates

With the Thurston County elections certified on Tuesday, E.J. Zita was officially sworn into office as a Port of Olympia Commissioner by Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall on Wednesday morning.

After her swearing-in, Hall congratulated Zita and remarked that the final election numbers that gave Zita the eventual lead over her opponent, Jerry Farmer, was not typical.

“Typically, the numbers don’t flip…. In the port race for Position #1, George Barner gained 2.93% between election night and certification, and the Metropolitan Parks District ballot measure in Olympia gained about two percent, as did this port race. I can’t verify it as fact, but I heard that it was because of this race, that people waited until the last minute to vote,” said Hall, still studying the statistics.

Although a machine recount will occur, the results are not expected to change the final outcome.  Zita said she will participate in Thurston County’s formal swearing-in ceremony for all newly elected and re-elected officials on Wednesday, December 30, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at South Puget Sound Community College, Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts. The event is open to the public.

In a prepared statement, Zita said, “Voters had a clear choice in this Port Commission election.  Our campaign was supported by hundreds of small contributions and great volunteers - people who care about public resources, open public processes, and a sustainable future.

“....Working together, we can improve port operations, relations with the public, our bottom line, and the environment.  I am already working with good port staff, and I look forward to productive service with my fellow Commissioners….From day one, I will insist that all port business be open and transparent, that the Port Commission is financially accountable, and that we approach development in a smart, sustainable way,” she said.
Zita said that the first thing she'll do as a new port commissioner is her homework.

“I'm already working with staff to get up to speed on issues, and I'll be doing a lot of reading and research as I step into this role,” she said.

Zita is fulfilling the term held by former port commissioner Sue Gunn, who resigned due to health reasons. Michelle Morris was appointed to the position in June and served until Monday, November 23. Zita will be up for election again, if she chooses to run, in 2017, as will current Port Commissioner Bill McGregor.

The next meeting of the Port of Olympia is Monday, December 14, 5:30 p.m., at the Port of Olympia offices at 626 Columbia St. NW, Suite 1 – B, Olympia.

Washington Public Ports Association Training

Interviewed after her swearing-in, Zita said she participated in the Washington Public Ports Association (WPPA) training in Seattle last week. 

Asked if she learned anything new or particularly enlightening, she said that the training emphasized that Port Commissioners should hold all discussions in public, welcome all public comment, and televise all sessions. 

“Ports have two complementary missions - economics and public good….Whatever actions ports take, the WPPA explained the importance of sharing our reasoning with the public on all processes and decisions.  We should even publicly recap conversations held in “executive sessions,” which are private because of sensitive content. 

“All of our material should be posted online - people should not have to ask for it.  WPPA advises that the perfect citizen - someone who attends every port meeting and reads all the information - should never be surprised by our decisions, because we have been open about everything going into them.  Citizens should always be treated with friendly respect, and given ample time to testify, whether it is on our agenda or not, even if it makes meetings run long.  Good relationships with the public are one of the highest priorities for the WPPA.

“The WPPA provided legal and ethics training, which I got certified in.  A quorum of commissioners may not “meet” for coffee, on the phone, by email, etc. except at commission meetings.  If we find ourselves at public events together, we cannot talk business.  It's legal to carpool to events together, but it may not be a good idea.  And all port correspondence is subject to public records requests - so I will keep mine on port-issued devices,” said Zita.

A Few More Questions

Little Hollywood also asked Zita about her role as chair of the Thurston County Agriculture Advisory Committee.

Zita says she will remain chair of the Thurston County Agriculture Advisory Committee, which advises the county commissioners on current issues. She said her work on food production, farming and other agricultural issues will be complementary to her new position at the port. She said that the group recently drafted a new urban agriculture ordinance which is expected to be presented to the Board of County Commissioners by the beginning of 2016.

“We’ve been working a couple of years to make the ordinance for farming in the urban growth area more consistent with Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater ordinances. In some cases, it is currently more restrictive to farm in the county. We’ve worded it in such a way that makes farming in the areas of beekeeping, poultry, and rabbits in the urban growth area flexible and easier overall,” said Zita.

The group will also be delving into the issue of industrial hemp.

Asked what she thinks about recent conversations during port meetings about daylighting Olympia’s Moxlie Creek, which runs under city streets and exits through a pipe into East Bay, Zita said, “(Olympia resident) Harry Branch and others make good arguments that a Moxlie Creek estuary could effectively remediate contaminants such as nitrates in the creek, while restoring ecosystem services and a valuable recreation resource.

“I would like the Port to start climate planning with the City of Olympia, the state Department of Ecology, and the Thurston Regional Planning Commission. The City of Olympia is a leader in climate change planning and the port needs to know what’s coming. The possibility of remediating contaminated streamflow with a restored wetland in that area should be reviewed as part of that process.”

Zita said she welcomes the public’s suggestions for drafting proposals on the process.

Earlier this month, Zita also answered a few quick questions on emerging port issues:

Little Hollywood: What is your opinion of the code of conduct resolution (then before the commissioners), and would you vote and sign for or against it?

Zita: I agree with Port Commissioner George Barner, and with the public comments made by Bev Bassett, Denis Langhans, Monica Hoover, Jan Witt, and Sharron Coontz.

LH: Can you foresee any situation in which you might want to disagree with what another port in Washington is doing and offer them your opinion, as Commissioners Barner and Gunn did with their letter to the Grays Harbor/Hoquiam ports and their roles in the status of the oil terminals? 

Zita: Commissioners Barner and Gunn took a courageous stand.  More Pacific Northwest ports will be called on by the people to stand as a "thin green line" between extreme fossil fuel extraction and dangerous shipments to Asia.

LH: How would you have voted on the building of another warehouse for the storage of ceramic proppants and other shipments requiring shelter? Would you be interested in revisiting this issue as a new commissioner?

Zita: No and no.  The current warehouse is mostly empty.

LH: In a February 22, 2015 article on my blog, I wrote about a Port work session topic, the re-creation of a "Berth 4." At the time, it was billed as an "information only" discussion, but staff is spending time analyzing its feasibility. Do you have an opinion about the creation of a Berth 4?

Zita: I haven't read that article yet....

LH: Do you feel port work sessions should be televised?

Zita: Yes.

Above: According to the Port of Olympia, the channels on port property parcels 2 and 3 near State Street as seen here on November 20, are directing stormwater flow to remain on the two parcels, rather than allow it to flow out to the sidewalk and into the City of Olympia storm drains. 

“It is a requirement of the state Department of Ecology that we keep the stormwater on site, since Parcels 2 and 3 are within the boundary of the East Bay Redevelopment Cleanup Site,” said Kathleen White, Port of Olympia, on Wednesday. 

Port of Olympia Commissioners McGregor, Barner and Morris voted on Monday night to move forward with a mixed use development agreement with developer Walker John on this property near East Bay and State Street in downtown Olympia. Commissioner Barner voted no.

Harry Branch, an Olympia resident and retired captain of fishing, charter and research vessels with a Masters of Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College, commented at a recent port meeting that a mixed use development on this location places significant limitations on the option of restoring or daylighting Moxlie Creek.

Branch believes that development of this property is a violation of the Clean Water Act because the parcels are likely an uncontrolled source of dioxin. He has offered the commissioners a detailed alternative for the site that would environmentally clean up and restore the historic estuary to a functioning ecosystem.

Commissioner Barner expressed an interest in having a work session on the topic and extended an invitation to Branch to further educate the Commission.

For more information about Port of Olympia activities, go to

For past stories about the Port of Olympia issues at Little Hollywood, go to and type key words, issues, and names into the search button.

Correction/Clarification Added November 27: Commissioner Barner voted no and Commissioners McGregor and Morris voted yes on the developer agreement with Walker John. Little Hollywood explained who was on the commission at the time of the vote to approve the agreement, but neglected to state Barner's vote. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day 2015

Above: Medal of Honor recipient Command Chief Master Sergeant Francis Huffman, of Littlerock, Washington, acknowledges a standing ovation during Veterans Day ceremonies today in Olympia. After the ceremony, Huffman said he received the medal for providing Air Force support actions in Vietnam in 1971 while surrounded by the enemy, an action that saved many lives.  

By Janine Gates

Veterans Day ceremonies were held throughout the South Sound on Wednesday and the Thurston County Veterans Council held its event in the Capitol Rotunda on the state Capitol Campus. 

The Washington State American Legion Band, VFW Auxiliary Post 318, Tahoma Gold Star Wives, and other veteran organizations participated.

Thurston County Commissioner Bud Blake, a retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, gave the keynote speech.

In his remarks, Blake said, “….Today in the global war on terror…we continue to welcome home veterans and thank them for their service. I personally experienced this gratitude when I, along with approximately 400 other service members, came home for R&R in February 2008. We departed the airplane at Dallas, Texas, and every single person waiting at the gate to board their airplane stood on their feet and applauded their veterans as we strolled by….until the last service member passed by.  When I saw this I knew, immediately, we had learned from the mistakes of the Korea and Vietnam conflicts.

“So I am here to tell you that it does not stop there….We need to show our soldiers returning from the recent wars…that our welcome does not end at the airport terminal, with a hand shake or in a parade. This generation’s challenge is to continue with the effort to help those veterans who need assistance. We must fight on the home front by preventing suicide and homelessness. We must assist veterans in receiving additional medical care, education, and employment opportunities for themselves and their families…..” said Blake.

Above: At the Washington State Vietnam War Memorial on the Capitol Campus today, Ashar Entrekin, 17, a senior at Capital High School, plays Taps at the conclusion of the reading of the names for those killed and missing in action during the war. The event was sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Entrekin said he’s been playing his trumpet for seven years.

For more information about Thurston County Veterans Services, go to

Monday, November 9, 2015

Port of Olympia Zita-Farmer Ballot Issues

Above: During a public hearing about the budget, Port of Olympia commissioner candidate E.J. Zita addresses the Port of Olympia on Monday night. She commented on her desire to see a clearer accounting of the cost of dredging. She said that it would add clarity if the costs could be separated. The cost of operational dredging is currently combined with other environmental clean-up costs. Galligan said that those numbers are available. “If there’s a clearer way to report on that, we’d be happy to do that,” said Galligan.

By Janine Gates

According to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, the latest tally has E.J. Zita ahead of Jerry Farmer in their race for Port of Olympia Port Commissioner #3. 

Zita was slightly behind on election night, but subsequent tallies put her in the lead with 124 votes on Friday with an estimated 700 ballots left to count.

On Monday, the new tally kept Zita ahead: 26,294 (50.21%) to Farmer’s 26,079 (49.79%), for a difference of 215 votes.

There are still a few ballots to be counted that have discrepancies, such as missing signatures, or those that have questionable signatures.

Little Hollywood spoke late Monday afternoon with Tillie Naputi-Pullar, Thurston County elections manager at the Thurston County Auditor’s Office. She said that as of today, there are 116 ballots that do not have signatures, and 207 that have questionable signatures.

“Each day we generate a letter so voters are being notified on a daily basis if something is wrong with their ballot,” said Naputi-Pullar. She and her staff of three have a process in which they visually examine the signatures of all voters.

“If there is a problem, we send out a letter within 24 hours to the voter. We supply a pre-paid envelope with a signature verification form and the voter can mail it back, come in and drop it off, or email it by scanning it, or fax it back to us. We do our best to help the voter so it’s expedited so we can update their status,” she said.

Little Hollywood asked Naputi-Pullar about an Olympia woman who had an issue with her ballot and said she received a knock on her door on Sunday, November 8. The visitor appeared to be a supporter of candidate Jerry Farmer, as she was wearing a Farmer campaign button.

The westside resident, interviewed by Little Hollywood on Monday, did not want to be named, but shared her story:

“A woman wearing a Farmer campaign button and carrying a clipboard knocked on the door of my apartment. On her clipboard she carried many forms and a list of registered voters, I believe. She stated that she was a volunteer and was at my home because my ballot had an issue, and it was not currently valid as a countable ballot. 

The issue, she said, was that my ballot signature did not match the outside envelope signature. She asked me if I had received an official notice of this problem. I had not. She suggested that I had not received this letter because I had voted at the last minute.
She handed me a form from her clipboard and told me that I should fill it out in order to amend the discrepancy in my ballot signatures. She stated that she'd like me to fill it out on the spot and give it back to her.  

I told her I would rather fill it out later and/or wait for the official notice. She checked something off on her clipboard. She then asked me: “Did you even vote for the Port?”  I responded “Yes, I did.” She questioned me further, “Who did you vote for? Did you vote for Jerry Farmer?” I told her that I did not wish to answer her questions at this time.  She thanked me for my time and left. 

To follow up on this interaction, I checked the Thurston County Elections website to ascertain the status of my ballot.  There is indeed a problem with it, and I intend to call the number provided to resolve this issue so that my vote may be counted.”

Before she had a chance to call, she said she received her letter from the Thurston County elections office just this evening, informing her of the ballot signature discrepancy.

The woman says she doesn’t think anything suspicious was going on, but was unclear about the process.

“I didn’t know they gave out that kind of information to campaigns but I guess I’m not surprised now that I know the process,” she said.

It’s called “signature chasing,” and Naputi-Pullar said that the woman who came to the door was not with the Thurston County election office, however, that type of voter information is released to campaigns regarding voters whose ballots have not yet been counted. The form she was asked to fill out on the spot and return to the woman wearing the Farmer campaign button was most likely a signature verification form.

Jan Witt of Olympia is a friend of the woman who received the knock on her door and expressed concern about the incident.

I believe that Thurston County Elections should not accept any of the forms collected by campaign people. Given that a campaign is asking people who they voted for and requesting the signature verification forms, how do they know whether or not a campaign is turning in all of the forms they receive? Maybe they are turning in only the forms of those who say they voted for their candidate,” said Witt.

Asked how the Thurston County elections office knows that all signature verification forms are turned in by campaign volunteers, Naputi-Pullar expressed assurance in their process, which is set in statute: 

“Three days before the certification date, November 24, my staff sits down and calls those voters if we have not received a form back. If people are concerned, they can contact us.”

Contacted by Little Hollywood this evening, Farmer said that he thought Zita’s volunteers were also out signature chasing.

Asked tonight after a Port of Olympia business meeting if her campaign is signature chasing, Zita said she has several dozen volunteers signed up to do so, but the elections office has informed her that it doesn’t appear to be necessary. Zita said that although a recount will be necessary, it appears to be out of range for a hand recount, and will most likely be a machine recount.

According to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office, the following are the rules for recounts of local contests: 

A machine recount would require that the difference between two candidates be less than 2,000 votes and less than 1/2 of one percent of the total votes cast. A hand recount would require that the difference between two candidates is less than 150 votes and less than 1/4 of one percent of the total votes cast.

Although it may still be too soon to do so, port staff, audience members, and Joe Downing, Port of Olympia commissioner candidate for position #1 who won his seat against George Barner, and was also at tonight's meeting, congratulated Zita on her apparent win.

The election will be certified November 24.

For more information and number changes, go to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office at

Friday, November 6, 2015

Design Review for Second Hotel on Henderson

Above: A Hilton Garden Inn on Henderson Boulevard near I-5 and Watershed Park is currently under construction. A new Marriott owned hotel is proposed to be built on two lots adjacent to the Hilton. Both hotels would share a main access road, seen here, stemming from the roundabout on Henderson.

By Janine Gates

The city’s Design Review Board will hold a special meeting on November 12, at 6:30 p.m., Room 207, at Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Avenue. This meeting will offer the opportunity for the public to comment on the design of a second new hotel off Henderson Boulevard.

The hotel applicant, SPS Lands, LLC of Lakewood, is Han Kim of Hotel Concepts, and is represented by architect Glenn Wells of Olympia. 

The four story, 113 unit hotel called Olympia Courtyard Hotel would be owned by Marriott and could accommodate 250 persons on a nightly basis. It will have a restaurant, but no swimming pool.

The 2.82 acre property is situated on lots 1 and 2 of a commercially zoned area near I-5 near Watershed Park and the future Olympia Woodland Trail. A Hilton Garden Inn is currently under construction nearby on what is called Lot 3 of the Henderson Commercial Park.

According to the project’s State Environmental Policy Act report, 73.8 percent of the property will be covered by impervious surface, including room for 118 parking stalls.

Moss Lake is on the site, as well as standing water. The lake was filled in due to the construction of I-5, but is still noted on maps. All trees and vegetation would be removed from the site and upland neighborhood views of I-5 and the sky could be obstructed by the hotel. 

Members of the Wildwood Neighborhood Association worked with the city and the applicant of the Hilton Garden Inn to improve its design, and will be communicating their concerns regarding the new hotel, such as visual and light pollution, traffic, and other environmental issues, as well as cumulative impacts to the area. 

The hotels will be a stark visual contrast to the tranquility of nearby Watershed Park, a protected 153 acre area which contains trails, wetlands, and the Moxlie Creek Spring Basin that served as Olympia's first water source.

In a February letter to the city, the Wildwood Neighborhood Association board says that freeway noise has increased substantially since the clearing of the property.

The project is projected to generate 980 trips per day with 64 trips anticipated for the morning peak hour and 72 trips during the evening peak hour. The neighborhood is concerned about the increase in traffic along Henderson Boulevard, which will make the intersection at Henderson and Eskridge even more difficult to navigate.

Developers hope to break ground in spring of 2016.

Comments about this project may be submitted to Cari Hornbein, Senior Planner, Community Planning and Development Department, City of Olympia, 601 4th Avenue East, Olympia, Washington 98501 or or (360) 753-8048.

For past articles about the land use history of the Henderson Business Park area, the hotels on Henderson Boulevard and the Wildwood Neighborhood, go to Little Hollywood, and type key words into the search engine.

City May Take Olympia Wedding Venue Operator to Court

Above: The City of Olympia is pursuing the option of taking Olympia wedding and event venue operator Bart Zier to court to obtain an injunction that would prohibit his continued, unlawful commercial use of property in downtown Olympia. Tacoma Rail clearly uses the tracks in front of the venue along Deschutes Parkway. Photo taken November 4, 2015.

By Janine Gates

The City of Olympia is actively pursuing the option of taking Olympia wedding and event venue operator Bart Zier to court to obtain an injunction that would prohibit his unlawful commercial use of property in downtown Olympia.

In a letter written in late October, city staff informed Zier and his mother, Donna Zier, who owns the properties at 915 and 1007 Deschutes Parkway, that they had violated the terms of the temporary permit issued to them so that they could carry out several August and September weddings.

The Zier's have continued to flagrantly violate federal and state laws and city codes and zoning ordinances in the course of operating their wedding and event venue, Grande Terrace on Capitol Lake, within a residential area.

In a telephone interview this week with City of Olympia attorney Mark Barber, Barber told Little Hollywood that no new fines have been imposed as a result of the most recent violations. The city has tried to work with Bart Zier on voluntary compliance, however, that is not working, and is now exploring the option of taking him to court.

Barber described how Zier has steadfastly refused to cooperate with the city, which included the options of voluntary compliance and dispute resolution without attorneys.

“….As you know, the city was trying to work with Mr. Zier to see if he could bring himself into compliance.  After his request for a conditional use permit went to the wayside, it put the city in a difficult position,” said Barber.

The “difficult position” was potential liability, and the city issued Zier a temporary use permit to hold the summer weddings that Zier was unwilling to cancel.

In 2014, Zier and his family actively marketed the property as a wedding venue, provided tours, signed contracts, and took large sums of money from families expecting to have their weddings there in 2015. Unbeknownst to the families, Zier did not have a permit to operate.

“These are not small events. They involve large groups of people…a physical facility, parking, food preparation, sanitary concerns, and public health issues. These become much different in a commercial setting. In addition, we have a number of unpermitted construction and archaeological issues.”

“The code violations don’t seem to be subsiding or resolving. By and large, this is a residential area, and the railroad hasn’t given up its tracks. It’s like pounding a square peg in a round hole. There’s not a lot of alternatives if someone is not going to play by the rules….”

The city will most likely make its decision by December 1, said Barber. He said the city is soliciting the assistance and support of the county, tribes, and other involved entities.

“If we could work with the others, that would be the best alternative. If we can’t, we’ll go it alone to seek an enforcement mechanism,” said Barber.

As of this writing, the venue is still marketing itself with an active website and Facebook page.

Above: This smart gentleman looked for a train before crossing the tracks with his date as they arrive for a wedding at Grande Terrace. Tacoma Rail actively uses the railroad tracks along Deschutes Parkway. During weddings and events, guests routinely park along Deschutes Parkway and the parking lot at Marathon Park, which is owned by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services. At times, hundreds of guests cross the road to reach the venue. As parking nearest the driveway becomes scarce, guests walk from various access points along the railroad to reach the venue, as these guests did this summer. 

For more information, pictures, and stories about Grande Terrace, go to Little Hollywood, and type key words into the search engine.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Election Night 2015 in Olympia

Above: Myra Downing, Joe Downing, and Cheryl Selby meet at Pepper's Restaurant before moving the party to Charlie's Bar & Grill. Joe Downing won the Port Commissioner #1 race against George Barner, Jr. Councilmember Cheryl Selby won the mayoral seat against candidate Marco Rosaire Rossi.

By Janine Gates

The Thurston County Auditor’s Office called it an evening with a final tally at 8:15 p.m. but some local candidates celebrated well into the wee hours on election night 2015 in downtown Olympia.

Out of 164,555 registered voters, 39,634 ballots were counted Tuesday evening, with 15,000 estimated ballots left to count. The next ballot count will be Wednesday, November 4 at 6:00 p.m.

For the Port of Olympia, District #1 race, Joe Downing won, 58.86%, over incumbent George Barner, Jr., 41.14%.

For the Port of Olympia, District #2 race, E.J. Zita, with 49.04% of the vote, did not concede, calling it too close to call against Jerry Farmer, who received 50.96% of the vote. In actual numbers, it was 16,104 for Zita, and 16,735 for Farmer, a difference of 631 votes.

In the City of Olympia mayoral race, current councilmember Cheryl Selby won with 71.06%, against Marco Rosaire Rossi, who received 28.94%.

"Every election has its own personality and story to tell....What made a difference tonight was (a campaign with) somebody who was younger and brought a whole new dimension to the discussions around the issues, and that's a good thing. I had a worthy opponent two years ago and a worthy opponent this time and it made me a better candidate and I hope will make me a better mayor. I think my message resonated with people - one of balance and serving every segment of the community and that's what I hope to bring to my decision-making, along with the council...." said Selby late Tuesday night.

Above: E.J. Zita, left, and Marco Rosaire Rossi address supporters gathered at the Fish Tale Brew Pub in downtown Olympia Tuesday night. 

Rossi gave a rousing speech addressing the social and economic issues facing Olympia. "This isn't the end...we're just getting started...we fought hard and inspired the most marginalized people of Olympia...we will keep fighting...we are not done. This is just the end of a chapter...." said Rossi.

For City of Olympia council position #2, Jessica Bateman won, 59.5%, against Judy Bardin, 40.5%.

For City of Olympia council position #3, incumbent councilmember Nathaniel Jones won with 71.12% against Rafael Ruiz, who received 28.88%, even though he withdrew from the race. His name was still printed on the ballot.

Proposition #1, which addresses the formation of an Olympia Metropolitan Parks District, passed with 56.45% of the vote, and 43.55% voting no.

For more information and number changes, go to the Thurston County Auditor’s Office at

Above: Joe Downing, Cheryl Selby, Jessica Bateman, and Jerry Farmer pose for well wishers tonight. Bateman won her councilmember seat against Judy Bardin. Farmer felt confident that he has won his port commissioner race against E.J. Zita. Zita was not ready to concede the race earlier this evening.

"I'm excited and eager to be of service to the Olympia community....I'm excited about solving our community's challenges and all the opportunities we have before us," said Bateman.