Community Indicator Dashboard

Why Have Community Indicators?

Indicators are a way for us to track and share our progress within each of the five Action Areas. Unless otherwise noted, indicators are community-wide and the data reported annually.

Community, Safety, & Health

Baseline Most Recent Goal Target Status

Citizen Satisfaction with their Involvement in City Decision Making

57% very or mostly satisfied (2014) 75% very or mostly satisfied (2017) Increase TBD Green

Why is this indicator important?

Olympia's Comprehensive Plan's value statements emphasize public participation: "The City of Olympia places a high priority on engaging citizens early and often and regularly demonstrates how the voices of the community are heard...Olympia engages the public in major decisions through a variety of methods...Because of this, the City has built trust with the community."

What influences this indicator?

This indicator is based on a statistically-valid survey of Olympia residents, which asks people who state they've participated in a City planning or decision-making process to rate their experience. Respondents may be influenced by many factors regarding the quality of their experience, potentially including the frequency of opportunities, notification, convenience, ease of providing input, whether they felt heard, and outcome of the process.

What are we doing about this?

In 2017, the City added on-line tools for citizens to find information, provide comments, or report an issue:

  • OlyConnects, to make citizen service requests
  • SmartGov Portal, to apply for permits and get permit information

These tools are in addition to major planning processes that included extensive public involvement processes, including:

  • Completion of a Downtown Strategy
  • Missing Middle Infill Housing
  • Sea Level Rise Response Planning
  • Parking Strategy
  • West Bay Park & Restoration Plan

How do we measure progress on this?

A 2014 city-wide survey asked respondents to rate their neighborhood, overall, as a desirable place to live: Excellent, Very Good, Satisfactory, Fair, or Poor. 85% rated their neighborhood Excellent or Very Good. In 2017, a city-wide survey asked respondents to rate Olympia as a place to live. 75% rated it as Excellent or Very Good.

High School 5-year Graduation Rates

86.3%
(Class of 2013)
91.6%
(Class of 2015)
Increase
1-5% annual increase Green

Why is this indicator important?

High school dropouts face bleak economic and social prospects. Compared to high school graduates, they are less likely to find a job and earn a living wage and more likely to be suffer from a variety of adverse heath outcomes. They are also more likely to rely on public assistance, engage in crime and generate other social costs borne by the community. (Rumberger, R. W. 2011. Dropping out: Why students drop out of high school and what can be done about it.) The high school graduation rate is also an indicator of the status of K-12 education in Olympia.

What influences this indicator?

Family characteristics strongly influence whether a student graduates from high school. These include socioeconomic status, family structure, and family stress (death, divorce, family moves). Children living in poverty are more likely to drop out of high school than high-income students.

What are we doing about this?

The Olympia City Council and the Olympia School Board meet annually to discuss partnership opportunities that will benefit students in the school District. We provide direct support through Joint-use agreements to maintain athletic fields, assist with grant applications, and help to ensure we provide safe routes to schools including school zone signage, proper illumination, crosswalks, flashing beacons, and sidewalks. While the city does not have a direct role in education, we are an important partner in ensuring the school district and students have the infrastructure in place to meet their needs.

How do we measure progress on this?

OSPI Washington State Report Card for Olympia School District reports on adjusted 5-year cohort graduation rates.

Number of Individuals who are Homeless in Thurston County

441 (2006) 579 (2017) Decrease TBD Red

Why is this indicator important?

Adequate and affordable housing is critical to a healthy community. The Olympia Comprehensive Plan calls for affordable housing available for all income levels, including enough emergency, transitional and permanent housing for those who are homeless. Homelessness negatively affects the health of individuals experiencing it, and the businesses and visitors to the streets and parks where homeless individuals live when no housing is available to them. Increasing homelessness also tends to increase the cost of providing social, health and public safety services.

What influences this indicator?

Many factors influence the number of individuals who are homeless. The national and regional economies affect the number of jobs and citizens' income levels, as well as the cost of housing and other living expenses. When household costs exceed incomes, homelessness can increase. Personal health issues and disabilities, and domestic violence, also strongly influence homelessness. Availability of housing and social services are key influences, too.

What are we doing about this?

The Olympia City Council has proposed a ballot measure to city voters in February 2017 to establish a Home Fund to build more affordable housing and additional services for those in need of housing.

The Missing Middle Infill Housing project is examining potential barriers in City codes and fees to building a greater variety of affordable housing types.

Olympia is a member of the Community Investment Partnership (CIP) with partner  governments and agencies  to address basic health and human service needs.

Olympia's Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program invests in housing rehabilitation and acquisition projects to provide affordable housing and other services to homeless individuals and families.

The City is  participating in a pilot project sponsored by the Association of WA Cities to conduct a series of community conversations toward implementing the Action Plan to address reducing poverty through a more inclusive economy.

How do we measure progress on this?

The annual point-in-time (PIT) census of homeless individuals is conducted by Thurston County each January. It is conducted in collaboration with cities, housing and social service providers, homeless shelters, faith-based organizations, and other partners. Our goal is to reduce the number of homeless individuals in the County.

Participation in Parks, Arts and Recreational Activities (Hours)

244,570 (2015) 250,301 (2017)
Increase
255,300 (2018) Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department (OPARD) offers over 100 unique classes, programs and activities to help expand participant's horizons, hone an existing skill, discover hidden talents and meet personal wellness goals. Recreation programs build community, improve individual health, and support the local economy. 

What influences this indicator?

There are positive and negative factors that influence this indicator. Those that OPARD controls include providing relevant recreation activities, high program quality and effective marketing strategies. Influences that we have less control of include the local economy, service competitors and public safety concerns.

What are we doing about this?

In 2015, the City of Olympia contracted with the Learning Resources Network (LERN) to conduct an audit of the Recreation Division. This data-driven program review analyzed participation trends, existing staff models, marketing strategies and the current revenue philosophy. Using national benchmarks, LERN also provided a series of recommendations to consider for implementation. These included an increased emphasis on marketing and new programs and minor staff re-structuring to centralize daily tasks and create efficiencies. Staff are already implementing many of these recommendations.

How do we measure progress on this?

Beyond participation hours, the department utilizes the following measures to identify progress: Percentage of new activity offerings each year; Participant repeat rate; Activity cancellation rate; Ratio of brochures distributed/actual program participants; Cost recovery percentage; Activity quality rating (survey); Customer survey rating (survey).

Percentage of Total Calls which are Mental Health Related

Fire/Medical: 13.7% (2017)
Police: TBD
Fire/Medical: 13.7% (2017)
Police: TBD
Decrease TBD Red

Residents who have Nearby Access to a Source of Healthy Food (%)

47.8% (2017) 47.8% (2017) Increase TBD Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

Healthy food retailers are considered important components of healthy, thriving communities. Limited access to supermarkets, supercenters, grocery stores, or other sources of healthy and affordable food may make it harder for some community residents to eat a healthy diet. Lack of access to healthy food is an economic, health and social justice issue. The number of households within a 1/2 mile of healthy food is also an indicator of how well our land use and development patterns are reducing the reliance on long automobile trips to help residents meet their daily needs.

What influences this indicator?

The private market has a significant influence on where food stores locate and their ability to operate profitably. However, the City can also look at where these type of land uses are allowed, and if current development regulations promote the locating of food stores or other food sources in areas where they are needed.

What are we doing about this?

In 2018, the City will take a closer look at the regulations that guide development in neighborhood centers. Neighborhood centers are centrally located areas in neighborhoods that are zoned to include smaller-scale commercial businesses, like a food store, cafe or bakery, or other services that cater to neighborhood residents. To date, few new small businesses have been able to open in these areas, so the City will look at what possible changes might be needed to support the desired types of businesses to locate in these areas.

The City Parks, Arts, and Recreation Department runs a program for residents to join one of two community gardens. Encouraging community members who don't have access to space to grow food, to enjoy the benefits of healthy, fresh food and being part of a community.

Changes are being considered to the zoning code to allow for more housing options in residential neighborhoods. Often, referred to as 'missing middle' housing, allowing for more townhomes, duplexes, and other types of housing in traditionally single-family areas puts more residents within closer proximity to existing food sources.

How do we measure progress on this?

This indicator is measured by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software to determine the number of households within a ½-mile walking distance on a sidewalk, street, trail, or path to existing grocery stores, supermarkets, farmer's markets, specialty food stores, convenience stores, or food assistance programs.

Emergency Fire and Medical Response Times

10.00 min. or less in 9/10 calls (2016) 9:53 or less in 9/10 calls (2017)
Decrease 9/10 calls in 6:00 (min/sec) or less Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

In fire and emergency medical situations the response time, or the time it takes from recognition of a problem to the arrival of city resources capable of intervening in the situation is critical. Shorter response time generally correlate to better outcomes.

What influences this indicator?

The location of fire and emergency medical resources when a call for help is initiated (station location, number of stations and availability of the assigned unit), the size of response area and the traffic congestion encountered enroute to a call for service directly impacts the response time. The total number of requests for service can influence response times. If a unit in a particular area is already engaged when another request is received response time is increased.

What are we doing about this?

The Olympia Fire Department reviews the specifics of all of our calls

  • number
  • location
  • type of calls
  • reaction time (the time it takes firefighters to get into their response vehicle and safely begin to respond)
  • drive time.

Information from this review is analyzed for changes/improvements in:

  • process
  • station location
  • number of available units
  • type of unit responding to calls

How do we measure progress on this?

Total number of responses and response time data is reviewed monthly. Our goal is to maintain the response times Olympian’s currently receive even with the increase in demand for service. October 1 to September 30 data.

How Safe do Residents Feel in Olympia?

92% reported feeling safe (2017) 92% reported feeling safe (2017) Increase TBD Green

 

Downtown

Baseline Most Recent Goal Target Status

Sales Tax Revenue

$1,472,227
(2016)
$1,545,680
(2017)
Increase 1.5% Annual Increase Green

Why is this indicator important?

A strong revenue base and a vital Downtown that provides a strong center for Olympia's economy are goals established by the community in the Comprehensive Plan. Sales Tax is one of the most prominent revenue streams that the City relies upon to deliver services to the community. Monitoring sales tax Downtown helps us to evaluate trends and so that we can better target our Economic Development efforts in a way that benefits businesses Citywide.

What influences this indicator?

A robust economy where businesses are thriving drives sales tax revenue in our community. Sales tax is a volatile source of revenue that ebbs and flows with the overall economy.

What are we doing about this?

n 2015 the City hired an Economic Development Director to work on retention strategies for existing businesses and recruitment strategies to bring new businesses and corresponding revenue to our community. Those efforts have produced new companies like Dick's Sporting Goods, 222 Market, 123 4th Avenue, and 321 Lofts to name a few. A continued focus on Economic Development, along with Public Safety and Housing initiatives will aid the City in its efforts to keep Sales Tax revenues stable over time.

How do we measure progress on this?

The data for this indicator is based on businesses that belong to the Parking and Business Improvement Area in Downtown. These businesses represent about 10% of the overall Sales Tax generated in Olympia. Measuring this portion of the revenue will aid us in identifying trends and tracking our Economic Development efforts.

Housing Mix (Market Rate to Low Income Ratio)

43% market rate 
57% low-cost in (2015)
57% market rate
43% low-cost in (2017)
Increase
(market-rate)
TBD Green

Why is this indicator important?

The City’s Comprehensive Plan targets 1/4 of the city's forecasted growth into downtown. This equals 5,000 new downtown residents living in approximately 2,500 to 3,500 new residences over the next 20 years. Most new downtown residences will be provided by private development. Providing an increased variety of housing choices will increase vibrancy, pedestrian activity, and support for local businesses.

What influences this indicator?

The most influential factors on the amount of market rate and low-income housing are demand and cost. Increased market demand will increase market-rate housing construction. Increased demand, or need, for low-income housing may increase public subsidy of housing affordable to people with low incomes. Increased demand can also increase land values and therefore housing costs. Higher construction costs downtown are also a major factor.

What are we doing about this?

The City's Downtown Strategy includes numerous recommendations to encourage a range of housing development, including a development incentive Tool Box. Many of these recommendations have already been put in place and are being used to develop new market-rate housing units. From 2013-2017, 289 market-rate housing units have been constructed downtown. An additional 540 units are under construction or in the City's permit review process.

The Downtown Strategy also recommends adopting a comprehensive housing strategy to maintain an appropriate mix of housing to fit the changing demographics and incomes of people in downtown.  It also includes numerous recommendations to ensure housing, businesses, entertainment venues, trails and open space coexist  to create a vibrant, active downtown.

The City also continues to work with partners to support housing that is affordable for people with low-incomes, as well as related services. In 2017, this included helping to fund the Billy Frank Jr. Place housing project on city-owned property, and the Providence Community Care Center with City Community Development Block Grant funds. City staff also participated with many partner organizations in drafting a 5-Year Plan to address homelessness for Thurston County. The Olympia City Council has placed a ballot measure before voters in 2018 to establish a Home Fund for additional construction of affordable housing for those with low incomes.

How do we measure progress on this?

We track the number of low-cost housing units in downtown Olympia that are subsidized and unsubsidized with public funding, and compare to the number of market-rate housing units. The current goal is to increase the overall number of housing units, and increasing the proportion of those units that are market-rate housing.

Peak Hour Weekday Parking Occupancy (%)

69% (2015) 77% (2017) Maintain Between 70-85% Green

Why is this indicator important?

Maintaining a balance of parking for customers, residents and employees is a strong contributor to a vibrant downtown, and is a priority in Olympia's Downtown Strategy. A 2015 survey of downtown businesses identified the availability of convenient parking as one of the top two issues for their customers.

What influences this indicator?

Peak hour parking occupancy is influenced by: the number of people visiting, living and working downtown; the number and location of  parking spaces on-street and in private and public parking lots, as well as their cost and length of time available; and convenient alternative ways to visit downtown, including bicycling, walking and transit.

What are we doing about this?

The City of Olympia manages on-street parking and several downtown parking lots. Short-term parking is prioritized for on-street parking in core retail areas, so these spaces are primarily available to downtown business customers.

Long-term parking is provided on streets near the edges of downtown, as well as public and private parking lots, to serve employees and visitors who choose to spend most of a day in downtown Olympia. Residents in older buildings without internal parking may obtain permits to park on-street or in City-owned parking lots.

Parking for residents has typically been provided within new residential developments, though it is not currently required.

The City enforces parking rules on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Private parking lots generally enforce their rules throughout the week.

The City is updating its Parking Strategy in 2017. The update will address all aspects of parking in the downtown and other areas of the City.

How do we measure progress on this?

The City conducts visual counts of on-street parking occupancy every three months. Counts are conducted four times per weekday. The peak time for parking is the last count each day, at 4:45 p.m.  Maintaining parking occupancy between 70 and 85% has been shown to be optimal for efficient use of on-street parking.

Retail/Office Vacancy Rates (%)

2.2% (2017) 2.2% (2017) Maintain 5-7% Green

Citizens Rating Downtown as Clean and Safe (%)

78% Daytime
37% Nighttime (2017)
78% Daytime
37% Nighttime (2017)
Increase Increase Red

Why is this indicator important?

Downtown Olympia is an economic and social hub in our community. The City has and will continue to invest in the Downtown to encourage market-rate housing, new specialty stores and boutiques, and to attract visitors to places such as Percival Landing, the Hands on Children’s Museum, and our many theatre and art venues. Visitors to Downtown experiencing a clean and safe environment Downtown are more likely to continue working, living, and playing Downtown.

What influences this indicator?

Visitors views on safety revolve around their experiences Downtown, including the presence of law enforcement, waste bins that are not overflowing, clean, accessible walking routes, proper illumination, lack of graffiti, and a sense that there is a place for everyone.

What are we doing about this?

In the fall of 2017, voters approved a new Public Safety levy that will provide additional walking patrol officers Downtown, a new mobile mental health outreach unit, and new Code Enforcement resources. Our Waste ReSources utility recently launched a new Downtown shared compactor to help businesses with better options for waste disposal. The City employs two Downtown Ambassadors to assist visitors in finding shops and services, as well as a Clean Team that aids in graffiti removal, trash pick up, and assistance to business owners who need it.

In 2017, the City partnered with Providence in launching a Downtown Community Care Center to help connect houseless individuals with direct services.

In the Spring of 2018, the City has placed a Housing Levy on the ballot with the goal of providing affordable housing and resources to the most vulnerable in our community.

Through input provided from the Downtown Strategy, the City is planning future infrastructure upgrades to improve driving, walking, and biking Downtown.

All of these efforts are aimed at helping to provide a Downtown that is safe and welcoming for all.

How do we measure progress on this?

Data for this measure is obtained through a community survey that is conducted every two years.

Community-wide Arts Venues or Special Events

72 Venues
19 Events (2017)
72 Venues
19 Events (2017)
Maintain Increase Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

The number of arts venues and special events represents the ability of this community to support arts events and businesses, to the extent which those entities are solvent and thriving. Arts contribute to a vibrant quality of life.

What influences this indicator?

This indicator is influenced by: reasonable rents; affordable rehearsal space; sufficient marketing to attract audiences; and persons with knowledge and skill in business practices.

What are we doing about this?

The City has embarked on the ArCH project to assess and strategize around the health of arts, cultures and heritage. This is timely as in 2017, Olympia lost two performing arts venues - the Midnight Sun and Obsidian - as well as the Canvas Works, which was a destination for sewing and handwork supplies.

How do we measure progress on this?

We annually count the number of known arts venues and events in downtown.

Number of Historic and Cultural Sites

TBD TBD Increase TBD TBD

 

Economy

Baseline Most Recent Goal Target Status

Gross Local Production

$11,815,037,000
(2015)
$12,262,436,000
(2016)
Increase TBD Green

Number of Arts-related Businesses

410
(2010)
333
(2017)
Increase TBD Red

Why is this indicator important?

Arts-related businesses are those that host or support the creation, displaying, or sales of art, such as theaters, galleries, supply stores, or work spaces. These businesses and the creative people they employ stimulate innovation, and play an important role in building and sustaining economic vibrancy.

What influences this indicator?

A number of factors influence whether arts-related businesses locate and flourish in Olympia, including: the perception of Olympia as an arts community, the affordability of artist's housing and studio space, the general health of our downtown, and the local and national economy. The City can play a support role in influencing many of these factors.

What are we doing about this?

While the City has no direct ability to directly influence this indicator, they are able to help shape an environment that is conducive to attracting arts-related businesses.

The City's recent investments in arts infrastructure such as the Washington Performing Arts Center's facade and the Hands On Children's Museum structure as well as ongoing investment in public art helps create strong arts anchors in Olympia. This demonstrates the City's support for the arts and contributes to a creative, vibrant community. The non-profit Olympia Artspace Alliance continues to work toward the community goal of artist live/work housing, And Olympia's bi-annual Arts Walk celebrates the arts as a defining characteristic of our community.

How do we measure progress on this?

These numbers are part of the Creative Industries report assembled bi-annually by the national organization Americans for the Arts. Analysis of Senate District #22 numbers annually will provide a snapshot as to the economic health of arts-related businesses in our community, which we hope will continue to grow and strengthen over time.

Jobs that are Living Wage or Higher (%)

91.46% (1 adult)
83.29% (2 adult/2 children) (2017)
91.46% (1 adult)
83.29% (2 adult/2 children) (2017)
Increase TBD Yellow

Business Owners Rating Olympia as a Good Place to do Business (%)

TBD TBD TBD TBD TBD

Condition of City Infrastructure

B-minus (2017) B-minus (2017) Increase B or better Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

Maintaining Olympia's infrastructure in good condition is vital to the health, safety and economic vitality of the community. Our community relies upon our infrastructure for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, safe and reliable drinking water, and the protection of public health, property and the environment. Read our Report Card for City Buildings and Report Card for City Infrastructure for specific information.

What influences this indicator?

The condition of City infrastructure is influenced by age, expected life, level of maintenance, degree of use, and many other factors. The level of financial investment in maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement of aging infrastructure is critical.

What are we doing about this?

The City's goal is to maximize the life of our infrastructure at the lowest cost while meeting our citizen's expectations for service. We do this by:

  • Maintaining an inventory of all city infrastructure
  • Regularly rating the condition of all infrastructure
  • Implementing efficient preventative maintenance programs
  • Implementing rehabilitation projects to extend the life of assets
  • Replacing infrastructure at the end of its useful life
  • Continually looking for lower cost, innovative solutions

Despite our best efforts, some areas do not have sufficient funding to maintain the amount of assets we currently have. The most notable areas are in street maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair"), bridge maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair") and building repair (overall rating of B with much lower ratings in older buildings). In response, the City continues to explore revenue options, further efficiencies where feasible, and pursuit of grant funding.

Continued decline in the condition of these assets will result in more costly repairs in the future. 

How do we measure progress on this?

Each category of infrastructure is inspected, rated and scored on a regular basis. The rating is converted to a letter grade, A - F (A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=poor, F=unacceptable). The overall grade is an average across all infrastructure categories.

 

Environment

Baseline Most Recent Goal Target Status

Tons of Solid Waste Going to Landfill (lbs/capita)

4.3 lbs / capita / day (2006) 3.13 lbs/ capita/
day (2016)
Decrease 5% reduction
by 2020
 Green

Why is this indicator important?

The amount of garbage disposed to landfill is a reflection on the City's effort in moving toward zero waste. It can be an indicator of better recycling and composting decisions, better purchasing habits, and less overall consumption. In essence, it is a measure of wastefulness.

What influences this indicator?

Solid waste sent to the landfill is influenced by citizen and business purchasing and disposal habits. It is also influenced by the City's collection system, and education and outreach programs. A strong or weak economy may also influence disposal behaviors.

What are we doing about this?

The City of Olympia provides its own garbage and recycling collection services through its Waste ReSources Utility with an emphasis on recycling and composting convenience. The City provides education, outreach and technical assistance to its citizens and businesses. In 2015 the City adopted a new six-year plan for managing its solid waste.

The Utility will continue to promote successful programs such as:

  • GrassCycling
  • 3rd Grade Eduction
  • Multi-family Outreach
  • Business Technical Assistance and Waste Assessments
  • Saturday Drop-off Site

Key strategies outlined in the 2015 Plan include continued work toward City-provided commercial recycling services and a middle school education program.

How do we measure progress on this?

Solid waste tons (garbage, recycle and organics) hauled by the City are tracked daily and recorded in monthly and annual totals by the utility. The Utility has a robust set of historical data going  back over 20 years. These data are valuable in analyzing trends and helping plan new strategies.

Compliance with Drinking Clean Water Standards (%)

100% (2015) 100% (2017) Maintain 100% Green

Why is this indicator important?

Safe drinking water is critical for the community and natural environment. This involves protecting groundwater and promoting water conservation, as well as ensuring that our drinking water meets federal and state standards. Olympians recognize that the water they use comes from groundwater supplies that need to remain plentiful and unpolluted by our “above-ground” activities. The City’s Drinking Water Utility aims not only to preserve the supply of this resource, but to keep it clean – both for us and for the plants, fish and wildlife that also depend on it.

What influences this indicator?

What we do "above-ground" can greatly impact in a negative way, the quality of the groundwater, therefore, being good stewards of our environment protects our drinking water system. Learn about ways to protect groundwater, such as natural yard care and proper disposal of used oil and other harmful products on our Groundwater Protection page.

What are we doing about this?

The City does the following to influence water quality:

  • Monitoring of surveillance wells to detect any contamination before it reaches our production wells.
  • Weekly compliance monitoring to ensure we meet or exceed state and federal standards.
  • Offer programs to change behaviors that threaten groundwater quality, and that raise awareness about aquifers and the need for groundwater protection.
  • Encourage water conservation through a variety of rebates, incentives and giveaways.
  • Maintain our infrastructure so there are fewer instances of contamination from water main breaks or leaks.

View our current Water Quality Report

The City ranked 11th in the nation, for our size, in pledging to conserve water. Our goal is to reduce indoor water use by 100,000 gallons per day by 2020. We are on track with water savings of  36,547 gallons per day in our first two years.

How do we measure progress on this?

Over the course of any one year we monitor approximately 160 different water parameters, sampling on a weekly basis. We obtain 100 percent compliance with state and federal regulations. We also monitor water use through water meters and design programs to encourage less water use by customers.

People Walking, Biking and Riding the Bus (%)

22.3% (2015) 22% (2017) Increase TBD Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

The City is trying to make it easier for people to walk, bike and ride the bus. By using our cars less, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When people walk, bike, and ride the bus, they can save money, and improve their own health as well as the health of the environment. As a community, when we drive less, our streets last longer, and because there is less traffic, we don't need to widen them as much. As we grow, if more people walk, bike and use transit, we can build a more sustainable city that is clean, safe and inviting.

What influences this indicator?

The City improves our streets to make it more inviting to walk, bike and ride the bus. We build sidewalks and bike lanes, make crosswalks safer and make it easier to get to bus stops. If we thoughtfully design our streets, neighborhood, and shopping areas with people in mind instead of cars, we can influence a person's decision to walk, bike or ride the bus.

What are we doing about this?

To influence this indicator, the City is doing the following:

  • Developing a Transportation Master Plan defining the improvements needed to our streets for all modes
  • Shifting developer fees so that they fund bike, pedestrian and transit improvements
  • Repairing downtown sidewalks
  • Improving Capitol, Franklin, Washington and Legion for all modes of travel
  • Implementing the Greening Capitol Way Project
  • Updating Engineering Design and Development Standards
  • Reviewing designs and inspect infrastructure installed by private development
  • Developing transportation education and incentive programs
  • Building Bike Corridors
  • Reviewing and updating development regulations to promote living and working on major streets with quality transit, pedestrian and biking opportunities
  • Building a 26th Avenue NE sidewalk
  • Building an Ensign Road pathway
  • Building a Fairview pathway
  • Prioritizing buses at traffic signals

How do we measure progress on this?

Each year we count bicyclists, pedestrians, cars and transit riders passing through 11 points throughout the city on one day in March.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Metric Tons)

541,498 (1990) 579,000 (2014) Decrease 108,300
metric tons 
 Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

Global warming is already having significant and harmful effects on communities, our health and our climate. In Olympia, sea level rise, extreme weather, and food insecurity are just some of the risks we face. By reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, we do our part to reduce the severity of impacts here in Olympia and across the globe.

What influences this indicator?

Citizen and business efforts on energy and water conservation, waste reduction, alternative transportation, and green purchasing all influence our community’s greenhouse gas emissions. Policy decisions at all levels of government (such as regulation of carbon emissions, vehicle fuel efficiency standards, etc.) also have a significant impact.

What are we doing about this?

The City has already taken significant steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from municipal operations. Actions taken in recent years include:

  • Converting all streetlights and traffic signals to LED
  • Energy and water conservation retrofits in City buildings
  • Solar panels on City Hall, Farmer's Market and Library
  • Adding 6 electric vehicles to the City fleet
  • Purchase of green power
  • Use of biodiesel in City trucks

In 2015, the City also signed on the Compact of Mayors.  As part of the Compact, the City has committed to the following:

  • Year 1 - Community scale GHG inventory (complete), Report on climate hazards
  • Year 2 - Establish reduction targets (complete), Climate change vulnerability assessment
  • Year 3 - Develop climate action plan

The City is also participating in the regional Thurston Thrives Clean Energy and Climate Workgroup led by Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT).  

How do we measure progress on this?

The City and Thurston Climate Action Team (TCAT) collaborate on an inventory of community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. We use data from Thurston Regional Planning Council, Puget Sound Energy, LOTT and others to complete the inventory.

Preserved Green Space for Public Use or Environmental Benefit

3.5 acres per 100 residents (2017) 3.5 acres per 100 residents (2017) Increase TBD Green

City-owned Sites with Contaminated Soil Cleaned Up (%)

22% (2017) 22% (2017) Increase 100% Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

We measure and report on this indicator because properties with contaminated soil or groundwater can harm human health and the environment. Soil or groundwater on previously-used properties may be contaminated by oil or gas products, chemicals, or other contaminants that leaked or were disposed of improperly by previous property owners, businesses or residents. These contaminants can remain present in the soil for many years, or move through the soil in groundwater - sometimes reaching streams or Puget Sound - affecting the health of humans, fish, plants and wildlife.

What influences this indicator?

The process of cleaning up historically-contaminated sites is governed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and WA Dept of Ecology. Federal and state laws and rules set standards for cleanup of each type of contaminant. Previous property owners responsible for contamination can be liable for the cost of cleanup, which can be very expensive. Site cleanup can involve years of work to identify and clean up contaminants.

What are we doing about this?

The City of Olympia owns nine sites with known soil or groundwater contaminants from previous uses of those properties, or nearby properties whose contaminants flowed under the City-owned sites in groundwater. Two of those sites - currently occupied by Olympia City Hall and the Hands-On Children's Museum - have been certified by Ecology as cleaned up to required standards.

The City has completed assessments of historic documents and some on-site exploration to assess the contamination on six of the City's remaining seven contaminated sites. The seventh site, the City's Maintenance Center, is scheduled for an assessment in 2018.

Portions of three of the City's six assessed sites have been cleaned up. Additional funds are being sought to clean up the remaining portions of those sites. The City's Downtown Strategy recommends collaborating with private property owners to seek grants for cleanup of downtown properties.

The City has a consultant that performs detailed research to identify previous property owners that may be responsible for past contamination. When evidence clearly identifies their responsibility, that party pays for cleanup costs.

There are also privately-owned sites in Olympia that have known contaminants. When owners of these properties apply for permits to dig or build on their properties, they are required to work with Ecology to clean up the property to required standards before receiving permits.

How do we measure progress on this?

We measure the percentage of City-owned sites that have been fully cleaned up per required standards. The City also works with owners of contaminated properties to clean up those properties through the land use and building permit process. However, information is not available to identify all properties in Olympia that may be contaminated.

 

Neighborhoods

Baseline Most Recent Goal Target Status

Residents Rating their Neighborhood as a Desirable Place to Live (%)

85% excellent or
very good (2014)
85% excellent
or very good (2014)
Increase TBD Green

Why is this indicator important?

Satisfaction with their neighborhood is an important aspect of residents' satisfaction with their community. Understanding how residents feel about the desirability of living in their neighborhood helps us understand if improvements are needed in particular neighborhoods.

What influences this indicator?

This indicator is based on a statistically-valid survey of Olympia residents. Respondents may be influenced by many factors regarding their neighborhood's desirability, potentially including cleanliness, safety, friendliness of neighbors, location, amenities, schools, parks, traffic, proximity to services, and others.

What are we doing about this?

Olympia's Comprehensive Plan identifies subareas of the City in which neighborhoods can work together to focus on priorities for their neighborhoods, and furthering the community’s plan for those areas. A subarea plan was completed in 2016 for the Northeast Olympia Subarea. In 2017, the second subarea planning process was launched for the Eastside Subarea.

The 2017 Capital Facilities Plan was the first to be informed by a meeting with the Northeast Subarea planning committee, resulting in prioritization of the 26th Avenue trail project, which is currently in design.

Other notable neighborhood improvements projects are:

  • 22nd Avenue sidewalk
  • Acquisition of LBA Woods parkland

How do we measure progress on this?

A 2014 city-wide survey asked respondents to rate their neighborhood, overall, as a desirable place to live: Excellent, Very Good, Satisfactory, Fair, or Poor. 85% rated their neighborhood Excellent or Very Good. In 2017, a city-wide survey asked respondents to rate Olympia as a place to live. 75% rated it as Excellent or Very Good.

Percentage of City Located within 1/2 Mile of Park or Open Space

56.6% (2015)  60.3% (2017) Increase 90% Yellow

Why is this indicator important?

This indicator highlights the importance of easily accessible green spaces and the community and environmental benefits they provide. Having a park or open space within a short distance from one's home provides a convenient place to exercise, to take the kids to play, to walk the dog, or to experience a bit of nature within the city. It gives people an opportunity to visit their local park or open space without having to drive. Parks and open spaces serve as community gathering places, as well as contribute to a neighborhood's character and sense of place.

What influences this indicator?

This indicator is primarily influenced by the number and location of parks and open spaces within Olympia's inventory. It is also influenced by the location of park access points in relation to the city's street network. Both of these influences are factors the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department incorporates into its long-range planning and acquisition strategy.

What are we doing about this?

The 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan calls for the acquisition of ten new combination neighborhood parks/open spaces.

The plan calls for a total of 417 acres of land acquisition. Five acquisitions totaling 343 acres are planned for by 2021.

The City is also exploring creating new park access points in cases where this will make the park walking-distance to substantially more residences.

How do we measure progress on this?

Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software, we annually map our park system to determine what percentage of the City is located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space. Each year, through acquisitions and development of new park access points, we strive to increase the percentage of the City that is within a 1/2 mile.

Households within Recognized Neighborhood Associations (%)

59.8 % (2017) 59.8 % (2017)
Increase TBD Green

Residents Rating their Neighborhood as Safe (%)

98% Daytime
86% Nighttime (2017)
98% Daytime
86% Nighttime (2017)
Increase TBD Green

Why is this indicator important?

Olympia values safe and welcome neighborhoods for those who live and work in the city. The future of our community is dependent on our children and families, and the neighborhoods where they live and play. In order to preserve and enhance the quality of life in Olympia, neighborhood safety is essential.

What influences this indicator?

A feeling of safety and security in and around the neighborhoods of Olympia is enhanced by the partnership and presence of law enforcement, the responsiveness of the City to criminal and code concerns, and safe routes to schools and City centers.

What are we doing about this?

The Olympia Police Department is committed to the community and safe neighborhoods. School Resource Officers provide a regular presence in the schools in our communities and ensure safe roadways and walkways in and to our neighborhoods. The Department's Community Policing programs also focus resources on communication, neighborhood support, and public information keeping our citizens who live and work in Olympia connected, educated, and informed about community safety.

In the fall of 2017, Olympia voters passed a Public Safety Levy provided funding for a Neighborhood Liaison team that will work directly with neighborhood leaders to identify and resolve ongoing issues that impact safety and quality of life such as nuisance and abatement issues related to problem houses. This allows for a comprehensive community approach to community safety with a priority on neighborhoods and families.

The 2017 Public Safety Levy also provided funding for an additional Code Enforcement Officer that will work closely with the Police Department and neighborhoods to address community and safety concerns.

How do we measure progress on this?

Data for this measure is obtained through a community survey that is conducted every two years.

Households within 1/2 Mile Walking Route to Meet Daily Needs (%)

69.5% (2017) 69.5% (2017) Increase TBD Yellow