The Puget Sound Partnership, a new state agency, will be located in Tacoma. The only part of the division of state government that will actually be located in Olympia is the headquarters:

…Governor Chris Gregoire today announced that the Puget Sound Partnership will open an office in the City of Tacoma’s Urban Waters marine research center on Thea Foss Waterway. The satellite office will operate in close proximity to Tacoma’s environmental services division labs and UW-Tacoma research labs.

Satellite? Won’t the Tacoma office include the agency’s executive director, and some 30 people?

Yes and yes.

But it appears officials are tip-toeing around a provision of the state constitution that requires the headquarters of state agencies to locate in the capitol. That usually means Olympia, but Tumwater and Lacey qualify, too.

Thus, the “headquarters” of the Puget Sound Partnership will likely remain in Olympia. But only on paper. In this case, the satellite will be larger than the mother ship.

Why the location yoga? Historylink:

Some state agencies began simply drifting away from Olympia; as early as 1899 the Board of Health moved to Seattle. After World War II ended in 1945, the trend of agencies leaving Olympia accelerated. By the mid-1950s, 13 agencies had moved their headquarters to Seattle. Once again the matter ended up in front of the Washington Supreme Court. On August 3, 1954, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that state agencies must headquarter in Olympia. “The decision, a new and stunning climax to the century-long fight by Olympians to be the center of state government, was written by Justice Charles T. Donsworth” (The Daily Olympian). In a 33-page decision, the court wrote: “We feel certain it was the intention of the framers of our state constitution and the people … that the whole of the executive department should be located in the seat of government” (The Daily Olympian).

The case was controversial enough to generate a written dissent. The four dissenting justices argued that the capital question was one for the Legislature, not the court, to decide.

Good legal rundown here.

30 jobs worth suing over? Well, no.

But, what would stop state agencies from leaving northern Thurston County all-together and just keep a one office “headquarters” intact in the state capital? How much of the PSP’s work do you think will actually get done in Olympia?