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Olympia Leaders’ Letter to Major Selby: The Missing Middle

Dear Mayor Selby and members of the Olympia City Council –

We strongly urge you to support and approve the Missing Middle Housing recommendations in their entirety. We represent diverse organizations and interests in Olympia, and are writing to show our shared and common support for the Missing Middle Housing recommendations made by the Planning Commission.

We share the vision laid out in our community’s Comprehensive Plan. We see a bright future for Olympia—its current residents and the 20,000 who will join us in the coming years—of livable and affordable neighborhoods, pedestrian-oriented streetscapes, a healthy natural environment, and a thriving economy.

We believe that the Missing Middle Housing recommendations get us closer to that vision. The recommendations produce direct community benefit that include:

Improving the environment by:

  • Supporting growth in areas already served by public water and sewer, reducing septic problems that harm our waterways and building off a more manageable water system than what is available in rural areas.
  • Limiting the impact of impervious surface and storm water pollution on water quality.
  • Encouraging development in areas already urbanized, conserving farm and forest land.
  • Enabling more people to live a car-lite lifestyle and reduce their carbon f footprint.
  • Creating ​Strong Infrastructure and Healthy Neighborhoods​ by:
  • Creating more options for neighborhood-scale housing.
  • Supporting infill development focused in areas with existing infrastructure to make efficient use of public dollars.
  • Providing additional income to homeowners and make home ownership attainable for those to whom it would otherwise not be within reach.
  • Providing more “eyes on the street,” making our neighborhoods safer.
  • Strengthening families, allowing relatives of all generations and other care givers to live in close proximity.
  • Addressing ​Affordability and Social Justice ​by:
  • Enhancing housing affordability by increasing the availability and diversity of housing stock.
  • Allowing seniors more options for aging in place.
  • Improving income and generational diversity in neighborhoods.
  • Supporting walkability, bike-ability, and public transit for those that do not own a vehicle.
  • Supporting a ​Thriving Economy​ by:
  • Making more viable “neighborhood centers,” where small, locally-owned businesses can thrive.
  • Providing construction jobs to locally-owned contractors.
  • Encouraging small-scale development that can be undertaken by local developers with local sources of funding
  • Bringing the private-sector more strongly into the mix in solving the housing affordability crisis.

Olympia’s Comprehensive Plan becomes more achievable when we adopt the Missing Middle Housing recommendations. This set of recommendations will create livable and affordable neighborhoods, pedestrian-oriented streetscapes, a healthy natural environment, and a thriving economy.

We strongly urge you to adopt these recommendations! Please feel free to contact any one of the signatories listed below if you have questions about why we support the Missing Middle Housing Recommendations.

Thank you.

  • Thera Black / Transportation Planner
  • Luke Bowerman / Long-time Olympia Resident
  • Whitney Bowerman / Community Volunteer
  • Talcott Broadhead, MSW / Social Justice Advocate
  • Max Brown / Former Planning Commission Chair
  • Scott Bailey Clifthorne / Olympia School Board Director, District 5
  • Tonia DeBeaux / President, Thurston County Realtors Association
  • Ron Deering / President, Olympia Master Builders
  • Representative Beth Doglio / 22nd Legislative District, Washington State Legislature
  • Russ Fox / South of the Sound Community Farmland Trust Board
  • Holly Gadbaw / Former Olympia City Council-member and Mayor
  • Kris Goddard / Co-founder 20/20 Vision Olympia
  • Rabbi Seth Goldstein
  • Karen Hanan / Executive Director, Arts WA
  • Kirk Hanson / Northwest Natural Resource Group
  • Janae Huber / Co-founder, Olympians for People-Oriented Places (O-POP) and former Chair,Wildwood Neighborhood Association
  • Paul Knox / Policy Consultant
  • Larry Leveen / Co-founder, Northwest Olympia Neighborhood Association and former Planning Commissioner
  • Christina Lock / Sustainable Transportation Advocate
  • Dani Madrone / Environmental Advocate
  • Mike McCormick / Retired Planner
  • Kathy McCormick / Retired Planner
  • Eileen McKenzie Sullivan / Executive Director, Senior Services for South Sound
  • Scott Morgan / Thurston Climate Action Team Board
  • Phil Owen / Executive Director, Sidewalk
  • Monica Peabody / Olympia Resident
  • Pat Rasmussen / Advocate for Affordable Housing for Seniors
  • Cary Retlin / Former Planning Commissioner and member of the Design Review Board
  • Lynn Schneider / Puget Sound Advocate
  • Jill Severn / Friend of Quixote Village
  • Loretta Seppanen / South of the Sound Community Farmland Trust Board
  • Trudy Soucoup / Chief Executive Officer, Homes First
  • Oliver Stormshak / Local Business Owner
  • Timothy Tharp / Workers Rights Advocate
  • Ron Thomas / President, Thomas Architecture Studios
  • Kris Tucker / Arts and Artist Housing Advocate
  • Chris van Daalen / Executive Director, NW EcoBuilding Guild
  • Ryan Warner / Citizen Representative, Intercity Transit Authority
  • Joanna West / Chair, Board of Trustees, Thurston County Chamber of CommerceBill Zachmann / Wise Land Use Advocate

Updated September 5, 2018

One Comment

  1. zena hartung August 20, 2019

    Seeing so many good hearted and thoughtful community members signed on this letter, makes me wonder how they could all agree to this list of “goods”? People like Thera Black, wasn’t she part of the committee that created the Olympia Comprehensive Plan? Why wouldn’t she advocate for that being the steering document? And Kris Goddard, wasn’t 2020 Vision all about retaining the character of intact neighborhoods while directing growth to the nodes? Whitney Bowerman wants to resolve the issues for homeless, how does market rate housing do that? I just really wonder if you gathered this group in a room to discuss these claims, how many would be supported by data?

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