Eastside Subarea Plan 2020 Annual Report


On January 14, 2020 the Olympia City Council accepted the Eastside Subarea Plan. The following is a brief report of implementation activities undertaken by the Eastside Neighborhood Association (ENA) during 2020.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has severely diminished our ability to move forward with many of the activities outlines in the plan, we are pleased to report progress on a number of fronts.

Annual Meeting

The 2020 Annual Meeting, held on February 20, 2020 focused entirely on the implementation of the Subarea Plan. The plan includes four Actions plans, 17 Goals and 66 Action Items. Discussion focused on prioritizing action items so that the ENA Board could focus on those issues that were most important to our members. 

Subarea Plan Core Team

A subarea plan core team was formed during development of the plan. This small group was responsible for coordinating activities and ensuring completion of the plan. After acceptance of the plan by City Council, the team decided to remain in place to begin implementation of subarea plan actions. The core group meets every two weeks and reports to the ENA Board at each monthly meeting. 

Goal 1.1: Encourage responsible development to maintain neighborhood character

Lions Park Spray-ground

The specific action steps in the plan focus on the design review process and multi-unit buildings. However, the ENA Board reached out the City Parks, Arts and Recreation Department to review and provide comments on plans to install a spray-ground at Lions Park. A copy of the comment letter and the City’s response were posted on the ENA website.

Wetland Preservation

Action Plan 1 includes Action Step “Work with Partners to identify ways to acquire and preserve the Indian Creek wetlands at the southwest corner of the Eastside neighborhood.” In November 2020 the core team met with City staff to discuss the beneficial functions of this wetland and mechanisms in place at this time that provide protection of this wetland.

Goal 1.3: Encourage homeownership and advocate for affordable rentals

Neighborhood Housing

Action Plan 1 included Action Step “Create an ENA housing subcommittee to investigate Community Land Trusts, seek funding and partners to protect existing and add new sustainable affordable housing for qualified applicants.”

Early in 2020 the ENA Board formed this subcommittee. Activities to date have focused on reaching out to partners to learn what resources are available in the community.

Historic Designation of the Eastside Street Armory

Action Plan 4 includes Action Step “Work with partners to pursue acquisition of the National Guard Armory for the purpose of converting the building into a community asset.”  Two members of the core team have been working with City staff to reach that objective. City staff are engaged and have made a proposal to Council. Council has included a request for funding of the Armory in their 2021 Legislative proposal.

A key step in this process was making application for historic designation. Core team members were instrumental in completing that application.  

We will continue working with City staff as well as State Legislators to assemble the necessary funding to allow the City to a quire the property.

Goal 2.3 Reduce conflicts with walkers, bicyclists, transit and other transportation modes.

Mobility Improvements

Improving sidewalks and improving pedestrian safety was very important to those that attended the February meeting.

Members of the core team are actively working the members of the Olympia Northeast Neighborhoods Alliance (ONNA) to find ways to collaborate with the City on sidewalks and pathway improvements. Activities to date include meeting with City staff, correspondence with the City’s Transportation Director, and providing written and oral testimony to Council on the City’s Transportation Improvement Plnn. We will continue working with ONNA and City staff to find opportunities and funding to address pedestrian issues in our neighborhood. During 2021 we hope to complete a survey of residents and inventory of ENA streets to identify opportunities and focus our efforts on small improvement projects.  

Goal 4.1 Help residents get to know each other.

Community Connections

Promoting more connections with neighbors was one our most important objectives. The plan envisions continuing all of our current community events and establishing more. The pandemic required us to pass, for now, on community events.

One success was the Winter Window Walkabout held during the Christmas season. Neighbors were encouraged to decorate their houses and the ENA awarded prizes for the best decorations. Neighbors were invited to check out the decoration names and locations using an online map.

Goal 4.4 Make Connections with people other than residents.

CNA Participation

Action Plan 4 includes Action Step “Maintain active participation in the Coalition of Neighborhood Associations.” The ENA Board continues to send a representative to CNA meetings. That board member provides reports to the ENA Board at each monthly meeting.

Action Plan 4 also includes Action Step “Identify an appropriate contact person with each organization that serves our neighborhood. Develop and maintain an accurate contact list and ensure all are receiving Neighborhood notifications.” During the 2020 ENA board recruitment Chris Knight joined the board representing the First United Methodist Church of Olympia.

What’s Next

The Subarea Plan Core Team will continue to promote implementation activities throughout 2021. Given the constraints of the ongoing pandemic and the limitations of those currently involved, we expect that activities during 2021 will largely focus on carrying on the initiatives listed above.

Enlisting additional volunteers will be a high priority moving into 2021 as well as holding as many community events as we can with the hope that the pandemic recedes throughout the upcoming year.

Lions Park – Tree Inventory

The ENA has been notified of the tree inventory of Lions Park. Here is the report and map straight from Sarah Giannobile, Associate Parks Planner. It also shows the future sprayground, with its maintenance access road at the top of the tennis courts, and connector paths.

“We recently received the tree report for Lions Park from the Urban Forester. This report is required as part of the permitting process for the sprayground project but assesses all the trees in the park. We wanted to let you and the ENA know that, based on the recommendation of the Forester, we will be removing one tree in the park because it is diseased and considered high risk. This tree will likely be removed by Parks Maintenance in the future (TBD). The tree is a Norway Maple and is tree #37 on the map below. Please let me know if you have any questions.”

ENA Sub-Area Plan Survey #4- Community Connections

This is Survey #4 – Community Connections

This is the 4th and final survey based on draft Action Plans developed by the ENA Sub-area Planning Team. Thanks to those of you who have responded to earlier surveys!

This survey contains 32 action plan recommendations and three additional questions you can choose to answer. For each recommendation you can indicate whether they should be included as they are or with modifications, or left out of the Plan. A comment box is provided below each recommendation so you can propose a modification or share other thoughts. Do as much of the survey as you’d like. It shouldn’t take too long to respond to all the proposed actions.

Please submit Survey #4 by Sunday, May 18th.

Here are all four surveys, this is your last chance to complete older ones too:

  1. Neighborhood Density & Character
  2. Public Works/Infrastructure
  3. Crime Prevention & Safety Enhancement
  4. Community Connections

Our goal is to finish our Eastside Neighborhood Sub-area Plan by the end of June. We are going to hold a Sub-area Plan Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, June 8th from 9:30 a.m. to noon at the First United Methodist Church (on Legion and Boundary). We will provide background information and present the updated Action Plans. If you attend the Town Hall, we will ask you to recommend which actions are most important and should be worked on most promptly. Please come if you can!

Our overall goal is to implement actions in coming years to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood!!!

Survey Footnotes – Community Connections

These footnotes belong with the Subarea Plan Community Connections Survey.


Whereas many Olympia neighborhoods are within easy walking distance of community parks and open space amenities such as Priest Point, Watershed, Mission Creek and LBA Woods, Eastside residents are limited to two small neighborhood parks, Lions Park and Madison Scenic Park. The 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan found there is a strong demand for trails and natural open space areas. The study also showed that water quality, wildlife habitat, public access and scenic value were important reasons to preserve open space. Olympians requested that the City “Buy open space/natural areas” and “Buy land while it’s still available.”

The Eastside has just this type of opportunity. From its origin in Bigelow Lake, Indian Creek flows approximately 3 miles to Budd Inlet. It crosses under I-5 near the PSE facility on Pacific Avenue, follows the Woodland Trail, re-crosses I-5, passes through the southwest corner of the neighborhood, and enters an underground pipe near 12th Avenue and Eastside Street. Like many urbanized stream corridors portions of this one have been degraded. However, the portion of the creek which runs through the southwest corner spreads out and forms a large wetland. Because of the limited development in this area this stream and its associated wetlands presents an excellent opportunity for habitat preservation and restoration.

There are four parcels totaling about 9½ acres. Three of the parcels are owned by one party. With the addition of an undeveloped right-of-way the area available is a little over 10 acres. These mostly undeveloped lands need to be set aside from development to protect their special characteristics. They could provide a close-in opportunity for the community to experience and connect with flora, fauna, and natural habitats, including substantial stream and aquatic habitats. Trail development could allow public access. Less sensitive portions of the site may be appropriate for recreational activities such as a community garden or dog park. The neighborhood and the rest of the City should work with the Parks Department to develop an appropriate long-tern plan to acquire and preserve the land and its resources.


A “Neighborhood Hub” is a small attractive lively shopping area serving two or more residential neighborhoods. A primary purpose is to provide spaces where residents of nearby neighborhoods go to shop, eat, drink, hang out and socialize. The subarea plan proposes establishing a Neighborhood Hub west of Boulevard Road, near 4th Avenue E and State Avenue NE. It would serve primarily the Eastside, Bigelow Highlands and Upper Eastside neighborhoods.

Olympia’s Comprehensive Plan identifies 17 Neighborhood Centers. However, none are located in the Eastside neighborhood. Olympia’s Neighborhood Centers are generally zoned Neighborhood Retail. This designation limits Neighborhood Centers to one acre. The proposed Neighborhood Hub would be larger than a Neighborhood Center, possibly two acres or more, appropriately-sized to encourage neighborhood-serving pedestrian-oriented businesses.

The Comprehensive plan recognizes the need to build a roundabout to replace the signalized intersection at Pacific Avenue and Boulevard Road. Such a project has the potential to profoundly affect traffic on 4th Avenue, State Street, Martin Way, Wilson Street and others. In turn the traffic improvements could fundamentally change the nature of the business community. Instead of an area people pass by on their way to somewhere else, they will be inspired to stop and shop, congregate and connect.

This area is currently within the 4th and State High Density Corridor which extends a half block north of State and south of 4th. The three High Density Corridor zoning designations (HDC-1, 2 & 3) allow a wide variety of office, commercial and residential land uses. To date, this area has experienced only limited high density residential development. A Neighborhood Hub would attract future high-density corridor residents while, at same time, increased residential density in the area would encourage businesses to locate in the Neighborhood Hub.