Olympia Income Tax Initiative Information

Possible City of Olympia Income Tax Initiative

  • A citizens group is currently collecting signatures to send an initiative to the Olympia City Council. The initiative would create a new 1.5 percent City tax on household income over $200,000 to fund community college tuition for Olympia residents who graduate from Olympia high schools.
  • Olympia prides itself on being a progressive city that understands the connection between access to educational opportunities for our citizens and a prosperous, vital community where people want to live, work and raise their families.
  • This issue has fostered a robust public dialogue about the needs of education and the limits of municipal power.
  • The Olympia City Council sought to better understand the legal implications of the income tax for the City and received a public briefing from the City’s long-time legal advisor Hugh Spitzer.  They learned there are significant legal concerns with the initiative.
  • City staff had important questions about what administrative challenges the City would face to implement the initiative goals.
  • Given the concerns identified in the Opportunity for Olympia initiative, the Council voted at their May 17, meeting to direct City staff to explore options to consider and draft an ordinance that attempts to address the concerns found in the initiative and that places a referendum on the November ballot.
  • The Council ordinance would enact a graduated income tax for city residents to support one year of no cost tuition at a community or technical college for City of Olympia high school graduates and GED recipients (or an equivalent amount for those who chose a public four-year institution).
  • No decisions have been made by the Council at this point.
  • The Council will review the draft ordinance at their June 21, meeting and determine then whether or not to move it on to the November ballot for the voters of Olympia to make the final decision.


Media Coverage on this issue

Olympia mayor ‘very’ concerned about city income tax

Olympia council responds to local income tax plan with its own

Odd City initiative really part of state income tax push

Olympia Income tax would pay for college tuition

Opportunity for Olympia is an organization working to build a thriving Olympia with shared prosperity

Developer Walker John tackles new project near East Capitol Campus

Developer Walker John tackles new project near East Capitol Campus 

Developer Walker John, who made a splash turning a former office building into the mixed-use Thurston First Bank building at Franklin Avenue and Legion Way, is at it again, converting yet another office building into residences.

The new project is the 32,000-square-foot former office building at 512 12th Avenue Southeast at Jefferson Street, across the street from the East Capitol Campus.

Work is under way to transform that building into 43 housing units, according to city of Olympia information posted on site. The 43 housing units are split between seven townhouse-style apartments and 36 one-bedroom and studio apartments.

John also is set to begin work on a new apartment building at Adams Street and Legion Way.

The Jefferson Street project is another example of downtown office space being used in non-office ways, said Evan Parker, first vice president and partner at Kidder Mathews, a commercial real estate company.

Parker, who has worked in Thurston County commercial real estate for 11 years, shared details about John’s latest project and provided an overview of the state of commercial real estate in Thurston County during a presentation to the West Olympia Business Association on Thursday.

Projects like John’s have brought “great diversity” to Olympia’s downtown, but there’s also plenty of office space in Thurston County that remains for lease. That’s partly because of a lack of top-quality office space, sometimes referred to as “Class A” space, he said, and a lack of “cool, neat” office space.

Parker has a message for landlords looking to attract office tenants: “If you want to lease space, you have to do something different from what everyone else is doing,” he said.

Other commercial real estate activity in Thurston County, according to Parker:

▪ KPPF Consulting Engineers of Seattle have leased 8,000 square feet in one of the MJR Development-owned buildings at Woodland Square Loop in Lacey, he said. They also are in discussions with five other tenants for vacant space in the area.

“I think it’s being well-received,” said Parker about efforts to revitalize that area of Lacey.

▪ Some of the space left vacant by the Western Institutional Review Board’s move to Pierce County has been filled by Olympia Orthopaedics Associates on Olympia’s west side. They have leased about 14,000 square feet, he said.

▪ Les Schwab is leaving downtown Olympia’s core for a site at Plum Street and Union Avenue. Parker believes the tire shop’s old home at Columbia Street and State Avenue could be a “dynamite redevelopment play,” possibly attracting a restaurant or condos, he said.

Read more here: http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/article35640258.html#storylink=cpy
Spring Cocktail Social
Celebrate Spring “WOBA STYLE”
Thursday, May 14, 2015
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Olympia Golf & Country Club
3636 Country Club Drive NorthwestJoin us for this unique opportunity to the newly remodeled Olympia Golf & with appetizers and complimentary tastings wine, distiller, and craft brew artisans.Enjoy the company of our amazing members!

Complimentary Tastings and
“WOBA only special purchase by the bottle pricing” by:

Register online before May 1 to be entered into our raffle drawing.
$10 – per person/Guests welcome!Optional – 9 hole golf special! $25 Includes cart / 2:30 p.m. start.
To play, golfers must pre-register for the social and select the golf option during checkout.
Club dress code: Collared shirt or dress shirt, pants or Bermuda length shorts.
No denim, shorts or cut-offs permitted.
You can download the flyer HERE.

West Side Sign Removal

Starting Monday, October 13, code enforcement officers will be removing and disposing of illegal temporary signs along main arterials on the west side.

Common illegal temporary signs include:

  • Signs that exceed maximum height of 4 feet, i.e. all feather signs
  • Exceeds one temp. sign per business
  • Signs not located within 20 feet of front of business
  • Signs displayed other than posted business hours

See the picture below for a more thorough list.

temp sign violations

Corks & Forks

The West Olympia Business Association is excited to partner with Red Lion Olympia to bring you Corks & Forks!  Support WOBA and purchase your tickets HERE!


Go HERE to purchase tickets!

The Farmer’s Market is Coming to Town

WOLYFMOlympia, WA — On Tuesday, July 15th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, the West Olympia Farmers’ Market will be hosting BBQ Days of summer at the Market. Come hungry for the delicious food of Olympia’s own South Bay BBQ. They will be setting up the smoker and serving all market long. Seattle Blues musician, PK Dwyer, will be playing his brand of Jump Blues from 4:00pm to 6:00pm. It will be fun for the whole family with a pin-the-tail-on-the-pig game for prizes and children’s activities by Mini Skool Early Learning Center. Finally, bring a friend and have them sign up for our newsletter to get $2 market bucks for you and your friend, usable at any of the West Olympia Farmers’ Market vendors. All that plus a line-up of great local food and craft vendors.

West Olympia Farmers’ Market (WOLYFM) is your neighborhood market. WOLYFM strives to help build a vibrant local food economy by supporting small-scale and beginning vendors. All of WOLYFM’s farmers, artisans and producers are based in Thurston, Lewis, Mason, or Grays Harbor county, with the majority based in Olympia. Products at this years market include fresh produce, baked goods, pastured poultry and meats, flowers, veggie starts, crafts, and much more. Everything is locally grown and produced, so come on out and support your local food producers. The market is located at 1515 Harrison Ave W in the parking lot behind Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Debit and EBT customers welcome! Drop by the Market Information booth for more information on all of this years happenings.

For more information, please contact. wolyfarmersmarket@gmail.com, or 253-350-7836 and find us on Facebook.


City of Olympia Proposed Transportation Improvement Plan

Please see the information below from the City of Olympia regarding the Transportation Improvement Plan:

Each of the cities and counties in the state of Washington are required to update their Six-year Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) every year. The updated program for the years 2015-2020 has now been completed. A copy of this updated program can be found HERE.

The TIP essentially identifies current transportation system needs. Projects in future years are identified based on projected growth, as identified in the City’s Comprehensive Plan process. Actual project construction may deviate from the year stated, if growth does not occur as projected.

Projects in the TIP are listed in the following order:

1. Projects where federal, state or local funds have not been fully obligated;
2. Capacity projects funded through Transportation Impact Fees and grants. Projects are listed starting with City stated priority projects first;
3. Annual programs/projects such as sidewalk, bicycle and paving, in alphabetical order; and
4. Parks, Arts and Recreation projects in priority order

The Olympia City Council will hold a Public Hearing on Tuesday, June 17, 2014, to take testimony on the proposed 2015-2020 TIP. If you require special accommodations during your attendance at this hearing, please call (360) 753-8450 by 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday June 16, 2014. For the hearing-impaired, please call (360) 753-8270 to be connected to a TTY machine. For additional information, please call Dave Smith at (360) 753-8496.