Community Indicators: Safe Rating

Family walking around Capitol Lake with Dome in background

Measuring Our Progress with Community Indicators

Community Indicators are a way for us to track and share progress on our community's vision within each of our five focus areas. Data for the indicators may be impacted by City initiatives or actions, but are also influenced by the broader community.

For each indicator, the gauge highlights progress toward our goal, and areas to learn more or focus more attention. Right now, the goals are general (ex. increase). Over time we expect to identify more specific targets, where appropriate.

You can explore each of the indicators by focus area below, or view them all at-a-glance on our Community Indicators Dashboard (PDF).

Two teens showing of vegetables in community garden

Community Safety & Health Indicators

Citizen satisfaction with their involvement in City decision making

2017 2018 Goal rating
75% very or mostly satisfied 75% very or mostly satisfied
(2017)
Increase Green

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."

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.

In 2017, the City added online 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 includ 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

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.


Man waving out of window in Downtown

Downtown Indicators

Citizens rating Downtown as safe (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
(2017 data)
Increase Red

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.

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.

  • 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.

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


Man shopping for produce at Olympia farmers Market

Economy Indicators

Condition of City infrastructure

2017 2018 Goal rating
B-minus B-minus Increase Yellow

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.

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.

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.

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.


Two children holding trees in planters in Priest Point Park

Environment Indicators

City-owned sites with contaminated soil cleaned up (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
22% 20% Increase Yellow

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.

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.

The City of Olympia owns ten 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 - 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 seven of the City's remaining eight contaminated sites. The seventh site, the City's Maintenance Center, is scheduled for an assessment in 2019. Portions of three of the City's seven 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. The City will be seeking grants in 2019 to help complete additional assessments.

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.


Man and three children biking on neighborhood path

Neighborhoods Indicators

Residents rating their neighborhood as safe (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
98% (day)
86% (night)
98% (day)
86% (night)
(2017)
Increase Green

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.

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.

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.

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