Saturday, July 7, 2018

Mistake on the Lake Project Appealed to State Supreme Court

Above: The downtown Olympia redevelopment project now known as Views on Fifth is being appealed to the state Supreme Court. The building is now in a state of deconstruction prior to redevelopment. Photo taken last week from the Washington State Law Enforcement Memorial on the Washington State Capitol Campus. 

By Janine Gates
Little Hollywood

Local attorney Allen Miller said on Friday that his clients have decided to appeal the redevelopment of the Views on Fifth project to the Washington State Supreme Court. 

The nine story structure in downtown Olympia is best known as the Mistake on the Lake.

“My clients decided to ask the Supreme Court to take direct review. We have a deadline of July 20th to file and serve a pleading entitled, “Statement of Grounds for Direct Review,” Miller told Little Hollywood on Friday. “That pleading will begin to flesh out the issues.”

Miller is representing the Behind the Badge Foundation, former governors Dan Evans, Gary Locke, John Spellman (deceased), and Christine Gregoire, former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro, former state senator Karen Fraser, the National Association of Olmsted Parks, and several other individuals and organizations.

Miller says the case involves fundamental and urgent issues of broad public import and which requires prompt and ultimate determination.” 

The Supreme Court has the discretion to either take the case or transfer it to the Division 2 Court of Appeals which sits in Tacoma. A typical Supreme Court case would be decided in 12 to 18 months.

“You can now see the Olympics and Puget Sound through the girders looking north and you can see the Capitol Dome looking south.  The owners are proceeding at their own risk since the court could order them to take the building down should we prevail in the end,” he said.

The mixed use redevelopment project is expected to provide over 140 market rate apartments, a ground floor restaurant, and retail space. Related to the redevelopment, a nearby one story building was demolished and two, new three-story mixed use buildings will be constructed.

The area is located between Fourth and Fifth Avenue, bounded by Sylvester Street and Simmons Street near the present day Heritage Park Fountain on what is called “the isthmus.” The narrow strip of land was created from fill in the early 1900s and is located in a flood zone between Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet.

Unrelated to the Views on Fifth project, the city owns two acres on the western part of the isthmus across from Bayview Market. The city purchased the acreage for a park and recently cleared it of vacant buildings and landscaped the area.  

Above: The Washington State Capitol Campus has one of the most extensive and intact Olmsted-designed capitol landscapes in the nation. Eliza Davidson, National Association of Olmsted Parks, presented testimony to a city hearing examiner at a January 9 hearing in Olympia. 

In her testimony, Davidson said that the Views on Fifth project would irrevocably destroy the scenically unique Puget Sound vista which the Olmsted firm sought to highlight and that Olympia was chosen as a permanent exhibit of Landscapes with a Civic Purpose. The National Association of Olmsted Parks and The Friends of Seattle's Olmsted Parks are two of several appellants in an appeal of the redevelopment case to the state Supreme Court.

For more information and previous stories and photos by Little Hollywood since 2009 about the Mistake on the Lake, (also known as the Capitol Center Building, now Views on Fifth), building owner Ken Brogan, Allen Miller, the isthmus, sea level rise issues, the Downtown Strategy, downtown flooding, king tides and storm surges, go to and type key words into the search engine.