History, politics, people of Oly WA

Month: July 2012

Epic storms and hidden histories edition (Olyblogosphere for July 17, 2012)

1. Assemblage has another one of those hidden histories of Olympia. This time, murder on Butler Cove.

2. grsshpprkm has a pretty epic take on the storm on Friday. From hours into minutes:

3. Elaine over at epersonae is back bike commuting:

Yesterday…I went a little crazy. I had PT in the morning, and decided to take the Xtracycle “just in case” I wanted to ride further towards work than usual. I rode ALL THE WAY in, 10 miles altogether from PT, with a stop at a grocery store for water & baby wipes. I was exhausted but euphoric. Riding home was somewhat more stressful. Google Maps recommended a different route coming home, and it looked feasible. However: the trail part was bumpy & buggy; I had to make a left turn across a five-lane, 45MPH road; a lot of it was bike lane on a fast busy road; I had to cross another major arterial at a crosswalk at a complicated intersection; and I hit a stretch so steep that I walked about 3 blocks. Coming up the hill the other side of downtown I was going so slow I realized I could walk faster than that. Sigh.
Still, I’m glad I did it. I know it can be done, and I know I’ll do it again. (Almost certainly NOT taking that route home again. C made a suggestion that sounded good that I’ll try next time.) Hopefully by the end of summer I’ll be riding more of the route more regularly.

4.  Not the first time someone has taken a photo of the titular cross street. But, its nice every time someone does.

This is not a Thumbs Up Experience edition (Olyblogosphere links for July 9, 2012)

1. This is Olympia. This is not a Thurston County Thumbs Up production, though it is tourism related.

2. Its fun to read the run-down of the local issues suggested to someone who hasn’t been paying attention trying to write an English paper. But, I would tend to agree with this guy.

3. Andy at Thurston Pundits (a conservative blog, to say the least) writes why he likes George Barner for county commission.

Basically I think he’s coming from an assessment that government at all levels has overstepped its bounds and is now stepping on more people than its helping. While a lot of Democrats are running away from their party to keep their office, I have a degree of certainty that this not a calculated power grab because he’s likely going to be running against the local Democrat machine on this run, and that is a strong machine here in Thurston County.

4.  I like taking random drives through the countryside. So, this video by rtpwyk is nice.

5. Given the now dead Olympia Views’ commentary on the Cooper Point Journal (implosion, Kafkaesue, sucks), Seth Vincent’s self eval on his time as CPJ staff adviser us super interesting.

Zine Review of Funwater Awesome #1 through #4

The author’s fiancé drew the covers of #3 and #4. Very much worth pointing out.
Funwater Awesome #1 through #4
By Zach Mandeville 
About ten years ago, I was thinking about the recent construction of commercial lots in Yelm. Actually, everywhere. I remember laments about strip malls, Safeways, surrounded by parking lots, people saying the construction lacked character.

I wondered if that was an inherent quality or if character grew over time. From Zack’s point of view, the architecturally plain setting of strip malls and apartments in West Olympia are alive with his memories and emotions.

Funwater Awesome, while centered on Tumwater, is a long reflection of a young person’s attachment and relationship with urban northern Thurston County. While Zach speaks almost solely as the local being “Funwater” (Tumwater), his stories and essays are seamlessly set throughout the contiguous Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater community. His introduction and construction of characters

It’s shocking to me how much Zach reminds me of Douglas Coupland. Actually, almost the exact opposite of Douglas Coupland, a mirror image. Alex and the Giants from Funwater Awesome #2 seems the flip in mood and telling (while maintaining the same fresh style) of the doom and dread of Coupland’s Life after God. Zach’s father character in Giants could practically be Scout in the final story of Coupland’s God, years after submerging himself in the forest stream pool.

Funwater #3 and #4 (release simultaneously in summer 2009) show a lot of promise not just for the zine series, but for Zach as a writer.

The fiction elements are the opening chapters of what I hope is still a forthcoming book length book called My Brother! This work maintains the hopeful Coupland-esque elements of Funwater #1 and #2, but enough hand holds to keep a story going for the length of a book.

I’ll leave you to read the non-fiction parts of #3 and #4 when you either buy the zines or check them out from the library (information on that below). But, they’re a great mix of actually useful information and history for any resident of Tumwater. But, I’ll at least offer the best selection from the non-fiction portion of  #4:

Tumwater was born then, as they built their homes along the Deschutes River. Funwater was born when someone put a decorative curtain across a knothole in their log.

Also, one last note. Zach’s fiance (wife now?) drew the cover of #3 and #4, very much worth pointing that out. They’re great.

Here is also a nice one minute zine review of #2.

Funwater Awesome #1
To buy: zachboyofdestiny *at* gmail *dot* com
To borrow:

Funwater Awesome #2
To buy: http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/3141/
To borrow:

Funwater Awesome #3
To buy: http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/3142/
To borrow:

Funwater Awesome #4
To buy: http://msvalerieparkdistro.com/zines/funwater-awesome-4
To borrow:

What I really would like: Sckavone Stadium and the NW Indy Baseball League

I’ve spilled more than a few pixels in the last few weeks whining about how Olympia doesn’t have a real baseball or soccer stadium. I’ve presented options for $4 million stadiums.

But, you know, in the end, what I really want is one small $600,000 stadium to call my own.

I was down in the Portland area in the last few days, and I was able to take in a few innings of a Northwest Independent Baseball League (which I wrote about earlier here) game between the Portland Titans and Royals at Schavone Stadium. Schavone is a nice little park.

View Larger Map

Built in the early 1990s for what would today be $600,000, Sckavone sits on the site of an 1940s era wooden stadium with the same name.

Walking to the stadium through the park setting.

Sitting high in the cinder block grand stand, on aluminum bleachers.

A little better view of the grandstands and what is probably an average crowd at a NWIBL game. What you can’t see from this view is the press box up behind the grandstand and the lights. I’d imagine anything much more than this would be a full feature minor league stadium. Sckavone would, I imagine, be a proper home to a West Coast League standard team.

It was also nice to get out to a NWIBL game. The two teams I watched were obviously amateur level, but a good amateur standard. It was unmistakably hard-ball, with a handful of better than average players. It was certainly worth the time and price of admission (free). I could imagine regularly getting out to these game if I lived in the area.
But, where to put something like this around here? 
  • Where the old Steven’s Field used to be (currently hosting two softball fields with lights)? 
  • The Lacey RAC
  • Olympia, Capital or some other HS?
  • Yauger?

Why don’t we worry about the South Sound Mall as much as we do downtown (and I want a soccer stadium!)

This is a post born out of this question at Mark’s Notes on the State of Olympia blog on what places in Olympia (and I assume broader urban North Thurston) are too empty for my tastes.

The almost empty parking lot in the north west corner of the mall is a forgotten little pocket of Lacey. It used be to where the Woolworth’s backed up into that side of the mall. I also remember Olympic Comics starting on that side.

Anyway, its empty now, except for maybe people learning to ride motorcycles on Sunday, the parking lot is a waste of impervious surface, reflecting the dead commercial nature of that part of Lacey.

It is also now left without its only lasting civic contribution, as the host of Lacey’s July 3rd Fireworks.

The owners of the mall seems to realize the lost potential back there. Coincidentally, they also own a few properties in the residential neighborhood right next door in Olympia. And, in 2008 CDC proposed to the city to redevelop that neighborhood into a south Tumwater-like collection of state office buildings.

The proposal didn’t get picked up by the city, but I’m sure the need is still there. It wasn’t that solid of a proposal, not even a project. Just a request for a designation that could mean state office buildings would be built there at some point.

But, for me, obviously, the best and highest use of the space would be a soccer stadium. Nothing fancy, 2,000 seats would make me more than happy.

But, what gets me about the empty back corner of west Lacey, is that while it remains very paved and very empty, no one seems to care. We wring our hands over anything relating to downtown, but this part of Lacey is all but ignored.

PCO Wars! (also update on PCO history project)

I haven’t gotten very far on my PCO history project, only up through the 1940s with 2010 as a bookend. If I was to come up with a conclusion so far, I’d say compared to today, there have been decades of high participation in the PCO process, much higher than today. But, you can find years when our average now wasn’t out of the ball park.

What I do find striking is the years when every single PCO slot had at least one candidate. Competitive races were somewhat rare (though sometimes as high as almost 70 percent), but the full ballot implied a desire on the parties’ behalf to have as many PCOs as possible.

Anyway, seems like this year on the Republican side, the PCO races are of high interest across the Northwest again. Here are some links noting the PCO battles that are going on between Ron Paul supporters and long time Republicans.

Ridenbaugh Press: The Precinct Wars.

In Twin Falls County, the Republican Liberty Caucus ran a slew of challenges to often-veteran precinct officers, and won almost a third of the seats. The mainstream party leaders expressed relief that the challengers hadn’t won a majority, but they’d better not count on the fermet to ease off soon. Many races were competitive; one was decided by a coin flip.

Spin Control: County awash in PCO candidates

In theory, Democrats and Republicans should each elect a PCO for each of Spokane County’s 314 precincts every two years, although in many years the parties often go begging for willing candidates, and when they find one, there’s no contest for the job.

Not this year. In 105 precincts, about a third of the county’s total, there will be contested elections. Almost all, 101 races, will be for Republican positions. In one precinct, a South Hill precinct near Roosevelt Elementary School, both parties have contested PCO races with two Democrats and three Republicans.

Clark County Politics: My Mistake: a FOUR way race in the 620 precinct.

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