Friday, October 18, 2013

Proposed Hilton on Henderson Concerns Neighbors

Above: At a community meeting last night, Wildwood Neighborhood Association members look over the proposed plans for a Hilton Garden Inn on Henderson Boulevard.

By Janine Unsoeld

Members of the Wildwood Neighborhood Association came out in force last night to learn more about a land use application recently submitted to the City of Olympia for a proposed Hilton Garden Inn. The public meeting held at city hall allowed citizens to ask questions of city staff and representatives for the hotel applicant, Capitol Hospitality, LLC.

The construction of the 122-unit hotel on Henderson Boulevard near Watershed Park is proposed to be five stories and is expected to provide 115 parking spaces and employ 25 people.
Janae Huber, president of the Wildwood Neighborhood Association, submitted a three page letter to the city citing numerous concerns about the project. The association of 200 households borders I-5, Capitol Boulevard going toward Tumwater, Moss Lake, Trillium Park, and Watershed Park.

Various property owners have come and gone over the past few years for this parcel, and development proposals have included office buildings, restaurants, multi-family dwellings, and a hotel, the latter of which resulted in the clearing of the property and the building of a roundabout on Henderson Boulevard. The clearing of the property has caused the neighborhood additional noise pollution from I-5.

Neighbors asked questions regarding construction and operations noise, traffic impacts, stormwater plans and environmental impacts to nearby trails, Watershed Park, Moxlie Creek, and Moss Lake, signage and light pollution, building design and color schemes, and more.
Leonard Smith of PacWest Engineering represented the applicant, who was unable to attend the meeting. Smith said that he was pleased to have this level of interest in the property.
"We want to hear your ideas, comments and concerns and we will give them serious consideration - we're here to listen," he said. Regarding the current noise pollution, he said that the hotel, when completed, will in fact act as a noise buffer. Neighbors were polite but weren't quite buying it.

Above: The view of Olympia as seen from the bridge over Capitol Way of I-5, heading north near Exit 105. The Eastside water tower can be seen in the distance. The trees on the right border the Wildwood neighborhood and are in the area of the proposed Hilton Garden Inn. Neighbors are concerned about the hotel's height, signage, visibility and impact on neighborhood homes.
Another citizen asked about the noise from refrigeration trucks that need to run all night in the parking lot. Hotel representatives said they don't see that being a problem.
Don Johnson of DJ Architecture said that the facility will be a business-class, high-end facility that is typical of other Hilton Garden Inns around the country and will include a pool, restaurant, a small bar and lounge, and fitness facility for its guests.
The Hilton Garden Inn website lists six other Garden Inns that have recently opened, and 14 more are listed as upcoming, located throughout the United States, Turkey, the Russian Federation, China, and India. It also says, "All Hilton Garden Inn locations strive to be involved in our local communities."
Asked by another citizen why Olympia needs another hotel, representatives referred to the city's zoning and wishes of the city council to allow growth in this area.

Johnson said that it has been determined that there is a shortage of rooms in this area and added his opinion that "the hotels here are old and rundown, not the kind that people want to stay in." 
While Johnson said many of the building features are dictated by the franchise, he does have some flexibility when it comes to exterior colors. The colors on display at this meeting included "Super White," "Spectrum Brown," and "Whisper."

Geoff Glass, a representative of the Woodland Trail Greenway Association, expressed his concern that this area is the epicenter of the city's proposed trail network, and that it sounds like the hotel representatives have "lost the spirit of the benefit" of being able to develop in this area.

"Maybe you don't understand the benefit the trail has to Hilton - think about the connections - it's an amazing amenity for this building. Your collaboration with the city would be appreciated," said Glass.

In about three weeks, a city site plan review committee will review the project and make comments. City of Olympia senior planner Cari Hornbein said that after that review, staff will most likely have further questions of the applicant. She tasked herself, based on the comments heard, to continue researching the project's impact on parks and trails.
She also said the project must also be reviewed by the Olympia's Design Review Board, which is currently scheduled for November 14.

The city invites comments and participation in the review of the project. Comments and inquiries regarding the proposal, File Number 13-0089, can be directed to Cari Hornbein, City of Olympia Community Planning and Development, 601 4th Avenue E., PO Box 1967 Olympia, WA 98501, or go to the city's website at for more information.

Above: The roundabout on Henderson Boulevard and a partial road and sidewalk indicate previous efforts to develop this property near I-5 and Watershed Park.

A letter submitted to the city from the Wildwood Neighborhood Association says, in part, "Critical nearby watersheds are little or not acknowledged in application materials. The neighborhood would like to see analysis of watershed impacts and significantly greater attention to water treatment and runoff during construction and operations" noting that Moss Lake is both a surface watershed and comprises significant area groundwater, and Moxlie Creek is a salmon-bearing creek.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cooperative Center, Pet Business To Move Into Downtown Olympia

Above: The building space at 407 4th Avenue has just been rented to two businesses, the Northwest Cooperative Development Center, and Pet Works. They will both move in by the end of the year.

By Janine Unsoeld

At long last, a key downtown building has new tenants – upstairs, the Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC), and downstairs, a pet food and supply company, The Pet Works.
The building at 407 4th Avenue next to Olympia’s popular artesian well is owned by Ray LaForge and Mike Lyons.
The former Union Pacific railroad depot building is perhaps best known as the former location of Alpine Experience and Olympic Outfitters, and most recently, Crossfit Olympia, which rented the space for eight months and then moved to nearby Cherry Street, just behind Olympia City Hall.
Reached late today, building co-owner Mike Lyons said that remodeling is set to begin today or tomorrow and continue through January.  He also confirmed that The Pet Works, a company with two locations, one in Longview, Washington, and one in Astoria, Oregon, will move into the just under 10,000 square foot downstairs space on December 1. 
According to their website, Pet Works was established in 1975 and is locally owned and operated, with over 50 years of experience in the pet industry.
The Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC) is expected to move into the 1,900 square foot upstairs space by early January.

Above: Community members fill up their jugs at Olympia's artesian well. The building at 407 4th Avenue is next to the well and the adjacent parking lot.

The Northwest Cooperative Development Center (NWCDC)

The NWCDC is a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting new and existing cooperatives in such fields as daycare centers, credit unions, online food businesses, energy, and home health care.
Diane Gasaway, executive director of the NWCDC, is excited about the move in January. She signed the lease to rent out the upstairs of the building on 4th Avenue on Friday, October 11.
Gasaway says the move will more than double their current space at 1063 Capitol Way, which is quite cramped. They will provide desk space for Co-Fed, a college food co-operative, and anticipates the ability to rent out office space and a board room to community members when it doesn't interfere with their work.
The NWCDC is currently located in a building scheduled to be demolished by Washington State's Department of Enterprise Services. Current tenants of that building have until June 2014 to find new homes.
The NWCDC supports cooperatives in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Hawaii. Founded by cooperatives in 1979, the Center has grown into the  Northwest's leading provider of services for co-op business development. It has a long history of collaborating with communities, governments, economic development agencies and other cooperatives.
The NWCDC is funded in large part by federal grants received by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Cooperative Development program, and other non-federal sources. The organization offers technical assistance services including feasibility assessments, cooperative education, business planning, strategic planning, market research, board training, and grant writing.
While it might sound cool to start a cooperatively-owned business, it requires, like any business, extensive planning, analysis, financing, capital investment, and marketing.
According to a 2011 list compiled by the National Cooperative Bank’s “NCB Co-op 100,” the top six revenue generating industries are agriculture, grocery and food distribution, energy and communications, finance, hardware and lumber, and healthcare. All combined, these businesses posted revenue totaling approximately $215.6 billion, an 11% increase from 2010. The top seven industries are in the fields of agriculture and grocery.
So what is a cooperative?
A cooperative is defined by the International Cooperative Alliance as any “autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise."
“We understand that when consumers, producers or workers become business owners of a cooperative, their individual and collective responsibilities greatly increase.  New owners face significant challenges to organize, get started and stay on track with a new cooperative business,” said Gasaway.
Asked for the number one reason why businesses fail in their first year, Gasaway responded, without hesitation, “Failure to plan.”
To lighten a reality that can be daunting to many business newcomers who think their idea is the best thing since sliced bread, Gasaway added, “There’s a quote I just read in an industry magazine that roughly says, “The best thing about failing to plan is that failure comes as a surprise.”
Gasaway says a potential new business should make month by month planning assumptions for five years into the future. A feasibility study can be expensive, upwards of $100,000 or more, depending on several technical aspects, such as architectural needs, environmental impact surveys, and more.
Through grants, the NWCDC tries to help new businesses with these costs. She knows of a few potential businesses who, after doing a good, thorough feasibility study, decide that the high cost of starting up is just too great.
“Plenty of people with great ideas, at this point, get the wind taken out of their sails…a lot of good can come out of organizing even if you don’t launch a business, but we’re in the business of starting businesses,” said Gasaway, and offered several examples of their successes.
At any one time, the NWCDC has about 25 potential projects going, in various stages of development.
Northwest and South Sound Cooperatives
Well known Northwest cooperatives include REI, Inc., which now has a South Sound retail location at Westfield Capital Mall in Olympia; an agricultural co-op, Cenex Harvest States, and the Boeing Employees Credit Union. Leslye Tueber of REI, Inc. serves as an advisory board member to the NWCDC.
The South Sound area is home to several businesses and cooperatives, such as Group Health Cooperative, which ranked #13 on NCB’s Top 100 Co-op list in terms of revenue; Ace Hardware, a cooperative which ranked #10 , is operated as Hardels Ace Hardware on the westside of Olympia, and REI, Inc., which ranked #27 on the list.
Despite the name, grandfathered in years ago, the Olympia Food Co-op is not actually a co-operative – it is structured as a non-profit.
True to the national statistics, the areas of food, housing, and home health care are the fastest growing segments of the co-op industry for the NWCDC. The NWCDC helped the Ellensburg Food Co-op start and the Hidden Village Manufactured Housing Co-op start, both in 2011.
Another business, Olympia Local Foods, received assistance from the NWCDC and a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program. Gasaway was present at the grand opening of Olympia Local Foods in April 2012, and gave remarks on the owner’s persistence and dedication to making his business a success.
Some local cooperatives have been helped by the NWCDC, the most recent being the New Moon Café, which became a cooperative in August.
Simon Gorbaty, a member of the New Moon Cooperative which runs a café in downtown Olympia, says the NWCDC helped the collective form a business plan, compile useful financial data, “and provide us with ways to improve our organizational structure.”
Cooperative Training Opportunities and Future
The NWCDC regularly provides networking and training opportunities through its “Cultivating NW Co-ops” conferences. The value of cooperatives to their communities and to each other was the theme of the NWCDC’s regional conference last year, which brought 130 participants from six states.  The message was that cooperative businesses add value, not only in the sense of dollars but also in the value of the relationships that connect communities with cooperatives.
Last month, the NWCDC sponsored a conference called “Fresh Starts” that focused on the opportunities and challenges of starting and growing a food cooperative grocery.  Gasaway gave the welcoming remarks to about 75 attendees representing about 12 cooperatives.
Asked if the South Sound could be in the market for a cooperative grocery, Gawaway said, "We don't want them to go into competition with other businesses but make sure their idea is serving a need that isn't being currently met....Starting a business is a big responsibility with big risks - we want to make sure communities are utilizing their resources to the best of their ability."
The Future of the NWCDC
Gasaway joined the NWCDC in 2003 and has 13 years of experience in the financial services industry. She received a Master of Public Administration with a co-op emphasis from The Evergreen State College and oversees five other employees, who all have experience with cooperatives in their professional and personal lives.
Staff member Eric Bowman provides cooperative development support and is board chair of the local Tulip Credit Union; Ben Dryfoos-Guss, NWCDC’s manufactured housing program manager, is on the board of the South of the South Community Land Trust.
Gasaway stays active in attending regional and national networking activities to hear other perspectives.
Recently, she heard Gar Alperovitz, a political economist, historian, and author of the book, “What Then Must We Do? Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution" speak when he came to the Northwest.
Aperovitz highlights, in his words, that a movement aiming at the “evolutionary reconstruction” of the American system—away from rampant inequality and corporate control, and towards a more just distribution of wealth and renewed democracy—is poised to take center stage in the national conversation.
Gasaway also recommended that people interested in cooperatives read, “Humanizing the Economy – Co-operatives in the Age of Capital,” by John Restakis.
“We’re a learning organization – I thought that after a few years I’d know it all, but the field is changing so fast and there’s still so much to know – there’s always something new. We’re excited about what’s happening all over the region and the country. There’s a real need for professionals in this field, from attorneys to accountants.”
Asked if funding for the NWCDC been affected by the recent federal shutdown, Gasaway said that they had a board discussion about it this week.
“We are submitting our reimbursements as usual, but they’ve been put on hold – our cash flow is okay for now, but in general, we’re looking for ways we can keep ourselves sustainable. The fact is, the USDA’s Rural Development program is one of the few funding sources that support cooperative development.
“Olympia is still considered rural, and as soon as one of our regional cities officially goes over a population of 50,000, that will no longer be the case. At this point, we’re constantly writing grants, which take a lot of time, and are competitive. We don’t know from year to year if we’ll be funded, so we’re trying to explore more options. There isn’t a lot of funding for urban work.”
If national co-operative statistics and local interest in co-operatives are any indication, no doubt, the NWCDC will continue to grow and expand.
For more information about the NWCDC, go to or call (360) 943-4241.
For information about Olympia Local Foods, go to the April 5, 2012 article “Olympia Local Foods Receives Grant to Fulfill Dream” at
For information about the New Moon Cooperative, go to the South Sound Green Pages Summer 2013 edition at: and read “Cooperative Model” by Simon Gorbaty.
Above: The Northwest Co-operative Development Center (NWCDC) has been a tenant of 1063 Capitol Way, a building set to be demolished by the State, since 2005. The building is near the State Capitol Building, and across from TVW. A handful of tenants are in the building, including the State Department of Archeology and Preservation.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

LOTT Groundwater Recharge Study - Public Workshop October 23

Above: This orb spider, who was not paid for his opinion today, does not think the topic of water is boring.

LOTT Focus Group Members Think Study Title, Topic Is Boring - Groundwater Study Name Changed, Goal Refined

By Janine Unsoeld

The LOTT Clean Water Alliance (LOTT) will host a public workshop about its multi-year groundwater recharge scientific study on Wednesday, October 23, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m., in the LOTT Board Room at 500 Adams Street NE in downtown Olympia.
The LOTT Clean Water Alliance is designing a study to answer questions about chemicals in our water, what happens to them in the environment, and risks they may pose to our drinking water and other water resources. LOTT staff and groundwater study group citizen advisory group members will be available to answer questions.

The evening format is scheduled as follows:
6:30 p.m. Open House with Information Stations
7:00 p.m. Presentations about the Study Design
7:45 p.m. Discussion Sessions
8:30 p.m. Open House

For more information, call Lisa Dennis-Perez, LOTT public communications manager at (360) 528-5719 or
LOTT staff has acknowledged they are late in launching a public awareness campaign for its first public workshop on October 23. A second public workshop will be held in December.

A direct mailing about the October 23 workshop will go out this week to those who have previously expressed interest in the study, as well as radio, email and social media announcements, and advertisements in The Olympian newspaper.
Above: LOTT board members and staff at yesterday's work session meeting.
LOTT Board Changes Groundwater Study Name, Goal
The LOTT Clean Alliance is a regional water and wastewater treatment facility representing the cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater and Thurston County.
The LOTT Board of Directors is composed of Cynthia Pratt, chair and Lacey councilmember, Steve Langer, Olympia councilmember, Tom Oliva, Tumwater councilmember, and Sandra Romero, Thurston County commissioner.
At its work session on October 9, LOTT board members agreed by consensus to change the name of the study from the LOTT Groundwater Recharge Scientific Study to its new name, the LOTT Reclaimed Water Infiltration Study.

The reason for the name change came from a recommendation by LOTT staff after they met with three focus groups in late September. The groups were made up of 34 self-selected individuals who were paid to provide LOTT staff their feedback on a series of questions and pictures related to the study.

These participants were paid $75 each at the end of the two hour session held in the LOTT board room. They were asked a series of questions about the study title and terminology such as “compounds of emerging concern” and “reclaimed water” vs. “recharged water.”
Among other comments, they felt the study title was boring, and the term "scientific" was disingenuous. Although some felt an alternative word for "recharge" could be "infiltration," some felt this sounded too militaristic. Others liked the word.
In general, LOTT staff reported that participants felt the topic was not sexy enough to get people's attention, and needed a subtitle and graphic to illustrate its purpose.
Participants were also shown images of household products and asked what words they would use to describe the process of introducing into the region’s groundwater aquifers treated water contaminated with products most of us use everyday, such as shampoo and medicines.
LOTT board member Tom Oliva questioned the new title of the study, and the makeup of the focus groups, saying that the participants did not necessarily align with the demographics of the study. He was also concerned that the words “groundwater” and “scientific” were taken out.
After a robust one and a half hour discussion, which included a review of a draft flyer about the upcoming public workshop, the board agreed to the new name change and made minor changes to the flyer.

LOTT board member Sandra Romero said she wanted the flyer to convey to the public that some chemicals that remain in the water may require a higher level of treatment.
"We are not stuck – we’re trying to find the safest level – and way - to infiltrate treated water into our aquifers," she said. She also suggested that the context for why we need to do this be included on the flyer and in workshop presentations.

New Study Goal and Question

In response to a request by LOTT board members to come up with a one-line study goal and a one-line primary study question, the following was offered, and agreed upon:

Goal: Provide local scientific data and community perspectives to help policymakers make informed decisions about future reclaimed water treatment uses.
Primary Study Question: What are the risks from infiltrating reclaimed water into groundwater because of chemicals that may remain in the water from products people use every day, and what can be done to reduce those risks?

Groundwater Peer Review Panel Selected

Ben McConkey, LOTT groundwater study project manager, also presented to the LOTT board members during their work session a near-final list of panelists who are interested and available in serving as peer review panel members to the LOTT Reclaimed Water Infiltration Study.
LOTT board members agreed to accept the members, who will be paid a $750 stipend per day of work, with travel and hotel expenses paid by LOTT. McConkey says the panelists will meet about five to seven times over the next three years, and will work about a week before each meeting, attend meetings, and assist with follow-up.

LOTT staff and board members made suggestions to the list for consideration. McConkey worked with the National Water Research Institute to provide a balance of disciplines needed to oversee the study. The Institute made the final selections. The finalists are:

Water Reuse and Public Health/Criteria: Dr. James Crook, Ph.D. Environmental Engineering Consultant, Boston;

Chemistry: Dr. Jennifer Field, Ph.D., professor, Oregon State University

Water Treatment: Dr. David Stensel, Ph.D., P.E., professor, University of Washington, Seattle

Hydrogeology: Dr. Roy Haggerty, Ph.D., retired, Oregon State University

Public Health and Toxicology: Dr. Richard Bull, MoBull Consulting, Richland, Washington.

Full biographies will be posted on the LOTT website.
A sixth member of the panel is still being sought to represent a local perspective. Several area tribal representatives have been approached to participate, but no one has come forth.
Commissioner Romero urged that the person have experience with the study of compounds of emerging concern, now being called residual chemicals by the study, on fish populations.
 Above: Salmon at Tumwater Falls Park agree:
Water is not a boring topic.
Group Advisory Committee, Public Questions Study Purpose, Data

As the study enters Phase II, the framework of the study is falling into four main areas: water quality characterization, treatment effectiveness, risk assessment, and cost/benefit analysis.

The community advisory committee, now composed of 13 members, met again in late July and October 8.  Members continue to receive LOTT and consultant information, and ask questions.
At the Study’s groundwater citizen advisory group meeting on October 8, group members heard more reports about how risk assessments define acceptable levels of exposure to chemicals in the water, and what levels of treatment are used for groundwater recharge in other areas such as the southwest and western states.

Despite the deluge of technical materials provided by LOTT staff and consultants, many members still struggled to define their role - since LOTT has existing and proposed groundwater infiltration projects currently underway - and repeatedly returned to the purpose of the study.
When LOTT staff and consultants showed the group a series of draft workshop posters and asked for feedback, citizen advisory group member and former Olympia mayor Holly Gadbaw was surprised to learn that several properties around the county have already been purchased by LOTT for the purpose of infiltrating treated water into the aquifer.

The potential infiltration sites are: Henderson (12 acres), Rixie Road (32 acres), South Deschutes (49 acres), East Mullen (five acres), and the existing Hawks Prairie infiltration site of 41 acres. The water sampling plan is to study what’s in the groundwater at 20 - 30 domestic wells, and 10 city and community wells in each area.

The Woodland Creek infiltration site in Lacey off Pacific Avenue, currently under construction, is not operated by LOTT – it is an agreement between the cities of Olympia and Lacey. Groundwater monitoring of current conditions at this site has been going on there for about six months.

“This raises a whole bunch of questions…how were these sites chosen?” asked Gadbaw.

Citizen advisory group member Maureen Canny expressed great concern about living in the Hawks Prairie area and wondered if any epidemiological studies are planned for the area. The answer from LOTT staff and consultants was that no epidemiological studies are planned, just toxicological and put it in a risk assessment framework.

The Hawks Prairie recharge site began operations in 2006, and enough time has passed that there would now be interaction with groundwater. Canny took a quick poll of group members and asked if anyone else lived in the Hawks Prairie area, and none did.

“I hope people start thinking about it….If this is the plan, what’s going to happen? Let’s start figuring out the questions,” she asked. She expressed concern that by the time this study is complete, the Hawks Prairie facility will have been in operation for 12 years, and said that should be long enough to determine if there are any concerns, such as an increase in cancer rates.

Citizen advisory group member Lyle Fogg asked staff when people near the proposed infiltration sites will be informed of their locations.

“In my opinion, it should be sooner than later….We should inform them that we’ve already gone down the road this far….” he said.

Karla Fowler, LOTT community relations and environmental policy director, responded that that will be done through a direct mailing in the future, and that the Henderson site is planned to begin operating in 2018.

Citizen advisory group member Ruth Shearer, a retired toxicologist, questioned information provided to the group by Jeff Hansen, lead consultant of HDR Engineering, as she has also expressed at past meetings.
The risk assessment to human health that defines an acceptable daily intake level, compared to a maximum contaminant level of exposure, she said, is “based on grossly inadequate testing…these levels are not safe for populations of children with diarrhea, which is quite common, and pregnant women….The acceptable levels of exposure are not the same for all….”

She said that the acceptable daily intake level numbers, as provided, are politically edited, derived from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Reagan administration-era threshold numbers that purposely set the maximum contaminant levels too low due to the cost of treatment.
Referring to another piece of literature distributed to the group produced by the WaterReuse Research Foundation, Shearer said the information provided about therapeutic doses were all about skin absorption, not oral intake.

“It was irrelevant propaganda – there are different degrees of skin absorption for each chemical, and it did not address drinking water that may have reclaimed water introduced into it.

“These numbers make me very suspicious of the other numbers….As a toxicologist, I object to ever using the therapeutic dose in risk assessment – that’s why they’re prescription drugs – the therapeutic dose applies to them, but (the study should examine) the effect on normal people….”

There are thousands of unregulated contaminants, but the study plans to study 97 unregulated compounds of emerging concern, or residual chemicals, that are often found in reclaimed water and known to persist in the environment. Contaminants include medicines, personal care products, foods, hormones, and household chemicals.

Dennis Burke, a water system civil engineer based in Olympia, has attended most study committee group meetings and has offered information to committee members during public comment period. He has frequently been critical of the information provided to committee members.

On Wednesday, Burke said he has started a website at to provide the community alternative information about LOTT and study omissions. He said he'll be adding to it over the next few weeks to feature articles from scientific journals regarding viruses, genetic material, and antibiotics. He said the website will have a comment section and invite contributions.
Did You Know?
The following questions were offered by LOTT's focus group participants to provide attention-grabbing information about the LOTT groundwater study:

Did you know…
  • Some of the water you use and wash down the drain is treated and cleaned so it can be used again as reclaimed water?
  • Some of the medicines and chemicals from products you use every day may remain in reclaimed water?
  • Some reclaimed water is infiltrated into groundwater, our region’s source of drinking water?
For more articles and information about the LOTT Clean Water Alliance’s groundwater recharge study, now called the LOTT Reclaimed Water Infiltration Study, go to and type key words into the search button and/or go to

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Olympia Arts Walk Continues

by Janine Unsoeld

Above and Below: Jules, a juggler from Bellingham who grew up in Olympia, warmed up before a show, then entertained appreciative crowds today as Arts Walk continued in downtown Olympia. Missed him? He'll be back next year!
Kids, don't try this at home!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Olympia Gets Ready for Arts Walk

Above: Stephanie Johnson, City of Olympia Arts and Events program manager and knitter, was spotted making her own contribution to Arts Walk today. She said it was a portion of a really old, bad sweater she started in the 80's and never finished. "You know, the kind that would have had shoulder pads - it's made of acrylic - if it's going to take 20 years to finish a sweater, it should be wool!" she laughed.

by Janine Unsoeld

Olympia is getting ready for Arts Walk this weekend! Arts Walk maps featuring nearly 100 artists and events are available at and distributed throughout downtown. Of course, plenty of guerrilla art and activities are not on the map.

A cozy yarn art installation was underway today on the Olympia -Yashiro Friendship Bridge and will cover the lamp post bases. Artists have received permission from the city to keep it in place until next Sunday.

Above and below: Gail P. of Spectral Spiders was busy today knitting together portions of donated pieces to be placed on the bridge's lamp posts. She said the group formed in August to do this project, and "all are welcome to come create on the bridge and offer pieces to be repurposed. It's all about showing your stitches, you know?"

Arts Walk is sponsored by the City of Olympia Arts Commission and the Department of Parks, Arts and Recreation, and local businesses.
Above: Hmmm...what's next? A winter cap for the dome of the Capitol Building?