Frequently Asked Questions


Abandoned Vehicles - How do I report?

ON PRIVATE PROPERTY: To report an abandoned vehicle that is on private property, call the City of Olympia Code Enforcement office at 360.753.8487, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

ON PUBLIC PROPERTY: To report an abandoned vehicle on public property, call Parking Services at 360.753.8017 during regular business hours. If the abandoned vehicle is presenting a safety hazard; such as blocking an intersection, call central dispatch (CAPCOM) at 360.704.2740, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

NOTICE: When reporting an abandoned vehicle, be aware that the abatement process for vehicles that are not presenting a safety hazard takes time. By law, the legal owner must be given a reasonable opportunity to move the vehicle before it can be towed. This involves posting a notice on the vehicle, making attempts to contact the owner and allowing a prescribed time period to pass before ordering the vehicle towed and impounded.


Animals - What do I do about stray or threatening animals?

Contact Animal Services, 360.943.3604, or visit their website. In case of human life-threatening emergencies involving animals, call 9-1-1.

Animal Services is funded jointly by the Cities of Lacey, Olympia, and Tumwater, and Thurston County.


Birth and death certificates - Whom do I contact?

The City of Olympia does not maintain birth and death records. In Washington State, to request a copy of a birth or death certificate, contact:

Washington State Center for Health Statistics

PO Box 9709

Olympia, WA 98507-9709

Phone: 360.236.4300

Building Permits - What are the requirements?

Building, or construction, permits are required for most construction in the City. Plumbing, electrical, and mechanical permits may also be necessary and are separate from the construction permit.

Residential Building Permits

Commercial Change of Use Permits 

Business License - Do I need one?

Anyone engaged in any business within the Olympia city limits is required to obtain a City of Olympia license. Visit the Business License page for more information.


Code Violations - How do I report a code violation?

File a complaint with the Code Enforcement Office by calling 360.753.8487. A Code Enforcement Officer will be assigned to investigate the complaint. Some common complaints that code enforcement officers handle are inoperable vehicles, trash and debris accumulations, rights-of-way encroachments, hazardous buildings, and zoning violations.


Crime - How do I report a crime or share information about a crime with the police?

If you have information about a crime, contact the police by calling:

9-1-1 If your information is about a crime that is in progress and immediate police attention is required. When you call 9-1-1 in Olympia and the rest of Thurston County you will reach CAPCOM (Capitol Communications), a countywide Enhanced 9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point and Dispatch Center for all police, fire and Medic One departments in the County.

360.704.2740 - If your information is about a crime that occurred in the City of Olympia within the last hour or two, but where emergency police response is not required. This is the non-emergency phone number for the CAPCOM dispatch center.

360.753.8300 - If your information is about a crime that occurred in the City of Olympia more than an hour or two in the past, and emergency police response is not required. This is the main phone number for the Olympia Police Department.

360.493.2222 - If you wish to provide your information anonymously thorugh Thurston County Crime Stoppers.


Domestic Partner Registry - Where do I find the application?

The Olympia City Clerk's office maintains a Domestic Partner Registry. Registration is voluntary and does not create any new or different legal rights or responsibilities or any contractual relationships or obligations between registrants.


Fireworks - When can I discharge?

Consumer fireworks may NOT be sold or used in Olympia at any time, including the 4th of July and New Years. A majority of voters approved the year-round ban on fireworks (Olympia Municipal Code 9.48). This includes fireworks purchased at sales booths in other communities and at tribal stands. Novelty devices such as snakes, glowworms, and party poppers are permitted; however sparklers and all other types of fireworks cannot be sold or discharged in Olympia at any time. Permits may be obtained for professionally operated public fireworks displays, such as the annual Lakefair fireworks show, by contacting the Fire Marshall.


Garage Sales - Do I need a permit?

Permits are not required in the City of Olympia if garage sales are conducted within the following restrictions:
  • No more than two garage sales per calendar year on a residential premises and no more than one per calendar month on an apartment premises.
  • Sales cannot exceed four consecutive days.
  • They cannot be held less than four months after a sale has been conducted on the same premises.
  • Sales can only be conducted between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
  • Goods may not be displayed on a public street, sidewalk, alley, or other public place.

For information, call the City of Olympia Community Planning and Development Department at 360.753.8314.


Garbage and Recycling - What is the pick-up schedule for residences?

Residential garbage and recycling is picked up on alternative weeks, Tuesday through Friday. We collect Monday through Friday all year long - even on holidays. If your collection day falls on a holiday, we may come earlier than normal, so be sure to have your cart out by 6:00 am. Weekly pick-up schedule.


Graffiti - Who's responsible for what? Where do I report graffiti?

PRIVATE PROPERTY: It's the property owners' responsibility to clean up graffiti.

SIDEWALKS: Cleaning and maintaining sidewalks is the responsibility of the adjacent property owner.

GRAFFITI IN DOWNTOWN OLYMPIA: Call the Olympia Downtown Association, 360.357.8948 to report graffiti in downtown Olympia. The City of Olympia contracts with the downtown association to remove graffiti in the downtown.

OLYMPIA CITY SIGNS AND LIGHT POLES, GARBAGE/RECYCLE CANS: Call Olympia Public Works at 360.753.8333.

POWER (ELECTRIC) BOXES AND POLES: Call Puget Sound Energy (PSE) at 888.225.5773.

CITY OF OLYMPIA PARKS: Call the Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department 360.753.8380.

STATE OF WASHINGTON BUILDINGS AND PARKS (including Heritage, Marathon, and Sylvester Parks): Call Larry Kessel with State General Administration at 360.725.0015.

TO REQUEST A FREE NEIGHBORHO0D GRAFFITI REMOVAL KIT (for City of Olympia registered neighborhoods and block watch programs only): Call Olympia Public Works at 360.753.8333.

TO REPORT SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY: Call 9-1-1 if an emergency, or call the police non-emergency dispatch number at 360.704.2740.

Additional information about graffiti removal.


Home-Based Businesses - What are the requirements?

For information about home-based businesses, call the City of Olympia Community Planning and Development Department, phone 360.753.8314.


Marriage Certificates - Where do I get one?

Marriage certificates in Thurston County are issued by the Thurston County Auditor's Office. Check the Thurston County Auditor's website for information; or call their 24-hour recorded message line, 360.786.5407.


Parks, Arts & Recreation Classes and Activities - How do I register?

You can browse and register for programs and classes. Questions? Call Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Department, 360.753.8380.


Property Taxes - Where do I pay? How are they determined?

The Thurston Conty Treasurer calculates and sends out property tax bills. Check the Thurston County Treasurer's website for information, or call the Treasurer's office during regular office hours, 360.786.5550.


Street Closure - How do I request a street closure for construction, events, or block parties?

Before making a request, please review the Street Closure Request Process.

To request a street closure for a neighborhood block party, contact Michelle Sadlier at 360.753.8031.

For information about requesting street closure for community events, please refer to our Community Events Permits page.

Construction related street closures should fill out a Street Closure Request Form.  


Utilities - Where do I call to turn on utility services? What if I have an emergency with my City utility services?

  • The City of Olympia provides drinking water, garbage/recycling, sewer, and storm water services for City of Olympia residents.
  • To start or cancel service, for water disconnection, or to inquire about your bill. Call 360.753.8340.
  • For after hours emergency City utility service (after 5:00 p.m. and on weekends/holidays). Call 360.753.8333.
  • Gas and electric service in Olympia is provided by Puget Sound Energy.