The Northeast Neighborhood Association


Here’s the latest on our walkability journey…

We got the grant!

Our Neighborhood Matching Grant for Intersection Repair (at the corner of Bethel and San Francisco Streets) was approved for the full amount we requested by the City Council last week. We should get formal notification soon. I’ve met with the Village Improvement Project and we’ve laid out a preliminary schedule for the design workshops beginning in the Spring of next year that we’ll discuss at our Board meeting in December. These workshops will be a unique opportunity for you to participate in shaping and designing the future of our neighborhood.
Click here to read a copy of the grant.

Fun in the sun…

Melinda Spencer, our vice-president, and I traveled to Newport Beach, California in mid-November and together with Linda Stewart from Thurston County gave a presentation on our walkability work to about 70 folks who are connected with a CDC-funded disease prevention program called Wisewoman. The Wisewoman program is looking for ways to effectively address the policy and built environment barriers to physical activity and other healthy behaviors. Some of the CDC folks working in the program heard that there were some exciting and effective work being done in Thurston County and invited us to share what we’re up to.

Our presentation was well-received in part because we were the only real “community” voices who presented. Melinda did an extraordinary job representing why she got involved in this work and how powerful the process we’re using has been in allowing us to finally get some traction on issues that we’ve been struggling to address for many years. My message was more about the need to strengthen the relationship between public institutions and the people and communities they serve – and that if government is not being responsive, then it’s our responsibility to change our behavior and approach and to provide our elected officials and public employees with a clear and credible sense of what’s important to us and what we want our community to become and some ideas on how to get there. To be successful in meeting our goals, we need to stop spewing a litany of insults at them and stop complaining about all the things that are broken and instead acknowledge the role we’ve played in creating the community problems we face, and that we need to step up and do our part to solve those problems.
Click here to view a PDF of our presentation.

Testimony to Council on the budget – I think they heard us….

I attended the City budget Open House and the public hearing on the budget the week before Thanksgiving and presented our highest priority requests for 2006 improvement projects in our neighborhood to Council. The packet I gave them included a letter summarizing our requests, our walkability action plan, a map of the neighborhood with the locations of the projects, and the results of our walkability assessment. Councilmembers were impressed and thanked us for our hard work and our proactive approach. From the tone of their response, and the kind of questions they asked, I am hopeful that Council will decide to move the Miller St. sidewalk up on the list of sidewalk projects in our neighborhood next year and that the Parks Dept. will work with us next year to develop an “interim use” plan for the Mission Creek Open Space. Once a plan is developed, we can begin to make things happen. The interim use planning process is a new approach the Parks Dept. is currently developing that will allow some planning and some improvements to be made to properties that the City has acquired but does not have the resources to fully develop at this time. This is driven in part by City’s current focus on land acquisition and the concerns they have that without some plan for interim use, they’ll end up dealing with the problems we’ve been experiencing in the MCOS on the other properties they are currently purchasing.

Invitation to our community partners

This is a copy of the email we sent to City Council members, Olympia School District Board members, Thurston County commissioners and others we are interested in partnering with to further our walkability work. It lays out the approach we’re taking to this effort and encourages them to work together with us and to tap and build on the momentum and excitement that’s growing in our neighborhood around these issues.