Janine's Little Hollywood

Syndicate content
A blog about the local news and events of and around Olympia, Washington.
Updated: 16 weeks 3 days ago

Olympia’s First Poet Laureate: Amy Solomon-Minarchi

Fri, 11/25/2016 - 8:02pm

Above: Amy Leah Solomon-Minarchi was selected to be Olympia's first poet laureate. About the position, Solomon-Minarchi says, “It’s not about me - it’s about uniting people in Olympia. I can do this because I care about Olympia and people’s stories….” 
In an interview with Little Hollywood, Solomon-Minarchi explores her role, youth and military life voices, current events, and the culture of Olympia
By Janine Gateshttps://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
The City of Olympia now has its first poet laureate, Amy Leah Solomon-Minarchi.
Based upon the recommendation of a city arts selection committee, the Olympia city council appointed Solomon-Minarchi to the new position on Tuesday. 
Solomon-Minarchi sat down with Little Hollywood on Friday to speak about the position, and share her thoughts about the meaning and purpose of poetry, youth and other voices that are not often heard, and the changing culture of Olympia. 
Even in an interview, Solomon-Minarchi’s words are eloquent, well-chosen, and quietly spoken, capturing powerful images. 
Solomon-Minarchi, an English, creative writing, and philosophy teacher for 11th and 12th graders at North Thurston High School, is also the advisor for the school’s “Write Club,” and advisor and publisher of the school’s literary magazine, “The Art of Words.”
She is also a choreographer at the school, designing and implementing dances with students for the school musical and Spring Arts Showcase productions. 
A member and student of the Richard Hugo House in Seattle, Solomon-Minarchi received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University, and received her master’s in teaching degree from The Evergreen State College in 2010. She has won many honors and awards.
Solomon-Minarchi grew up in New Jersey and has lived in Olympia for eight years. She is expected to fulfill her duties for two years and will receive a $1,000 stipend per year.
“Olympia’s diverse populations are at a serious crossroads in which no one dare cross the road. Let poetry be the place where we enter the crosswalk,” Solomon-Minarchi said in her application. 
She proposed a program called, “I Hear Olympia Singing,” in which she says she will build community through poetry, offering literary arts workshops with the schools that have the least resources and highest need for art programs and enrichment.
She also envisions writing contests and readings with outreach to Community Youth Services and Olympians at large to elevate perception and engagement in the growing downtown arts core. 
Her Writing the City program would hold open calls for short poems, a semi-annual public art display, and a monthly walking tour and writing series that will take students to rotating spaces around the city to practice capturing sensory imagery and sound.
Ultimately, at the end of her term, Solomon-Minarchi says she would work toward editing an anthology of poems that captures Olympia “in all its burgeoning flux that will celebrate the local and rich working history of Olympia and the new, five-story culture of artist lofts, convention centers and Seattle transplants buying property in cash, who look with wide wonder at the eclectic promise of growing roots here.”
Solomon-Minarchi was chosen out of 10 applicants by a committee of five individuals who met for one and a half hours to discuss the applications. Little Hollywood was at the October 27 meeting to observe the selection process.
When they arrived at their decision, they said Solomon-Minarchi, “….has an energy that sets her apart from the others…she’s youth focused and very approachable and accessible. Her poetry is so place-based….She’s someone who will grow the (poet laureate) program and engage us….good presence….Her Writing the City program is so cool….”
The suggestion to have a city poet laureate arose out of a committee referral in 2015 and proceeded through the city’s arts advisory committee to promote poetry as an art form and contribute to a sense of place. 
Stephanie Johnson, city parks, arts and recreation program staff, facilitated the nomination selection and recommendation process. Applicants were referred to by number, not name, while they watched submitted video presentations and evaluated application strengths and weaknesses. The applicants were winnowed down to Solomon-Minarchi and her alternate, Cecily Markham.
Johnson and the committee looked at the selection process paved by other cities such as Tacoma, Fresno, and Reno. Outreach was done through the city website, the city’s Arts Digest email list, the Olympia Poetry Network, and the Old Growth Poetry Network. 
Solomon-Minarchi’s poem, Suburban Danger, was one of the poems she submitted to the arts committee for consideration.
It was inspired, she said, by a brief brush with a speeding car while walking a baby and big dog through the crosswalk at 7th Avenue SE and Boundary, in Olympia’s eastside neighborhood.
Suburban Danger
Cars speed past pedestrians in crosswalkswhile babies stain Snugglies, dogs strain leashesdrivers yell, 900 points, and mean it.
Mount Rainier so majestic, could we climb it if the tsunami hits? Better yet seek the water towerpack the power bars, guzzle Powerade
and wait to be saved. Or if it eruptscould we outrun the lava flow in ourPrius? Would we run out of gas mid-flee?
If only my mother were here. We couldbe generations until the white wavesWash us out to sea, or the red hand claims us.


Above: Chum salmon make their journey back to spawn last week at McLane Creek Nature Trail in Olympia. Stream Team salmon stewards explained how baby salmon imprint on the water in their home stream. When they migrate back from their stay in the ocean, biologists believe they recognize the smell of McLane Creek by its distinctive smell.
Solomon-Minarchi was asked what she feels South Sound youth need to express, and what poetry might mean to them.
“Young people have a lot to share. They have a treasure trove of stories to tell. Poetry is an efficient way to get out their emotions. Students are working on how their voices have meaning, because, as they are growing and developing, at 16 - 17, this is the time they are playing with their voice. They are saying, ‘What does this mean?’ And once they graduate, they are just like little fish in a huge ocean. 
“What poetry might mean to them is finding a way to look around themselves, ground themselves, and face the emotions they are feeling and chronicle the new experiences they are having, whether it is college, a job, relationships…it’s all funny, strange, and new.
“They are also figuring out when to tell their stories, what’s relevant, and how much to share. You know, you’ve got students that just want to tell you every little thing, and others hold it all in and lock it up in a box. 

“The role of poetry, or a teacher of writing, is to give them space to be able to sort out those emotions together. They are in a community. They are not alone. Storytelling is powerful and the cultures that last have stories to tell, pass on, and are meaningful. Then there’s the question of how to tell the story. There’s not just one way….”
Asked what local or national poetry she appreciates, Solomon-Minarchi mentioned the art of Elizabeth Austen, a recent Washington State Poet Laureate, who wrote the chapbook, Every Dress a Decision, a finalist for the 2012 Washington State Book Award in poetry. 
She also mentioned the poetry of Brian Turner, a noncommissioned officer in the Iraq War.
Solomon-Minarchi says she will capture the voices of veterans, not because she is one, but because her husband is, and she wants to honor them with an open heart.
“For those who care for veterans, it’s not an easy job – there’s heartache, longing, uncertainty. I’d like to provide a counterpoint voice to say, ‘Hey, this is what it was like back home….”’
There’s also a place for Walt Whitman. “When I ask students to read his poetry, I get groans,” she laughed. “They ask, ‘How do I relate to him?’” Solomon-Minarchi says that is a valid response.
“I know that my love of poetry comes from the generative process of writing, and writing together with people, being able to see the same thing – going to Percival Landing and looking out onto the Sound. 
“My poem might be very, very different from the person sitting next to me, and yet we both share that experience and that brings us together. Part of what I want to do is have open-mic at the Olympia Farmer’s Market. It takes courage to say it in front of others and celebrate our voice in the moment.”
Briefly touching upon the city’s current events, Solomon-Minarchi said she was watching Tuesday evening’s city council meeting from home, and heard Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts’ comments about the Port of Olympia and the recent rail blockade of a Union Pacific train by protesters in downtown Olympia.
“Being in this position right now will be very interesting. We have stories, but we are also making stories together. There is fear in the unknown, and what kind of direction Olympia is going to go in….We see the tall buildings going up and we’re missing our small town….
“The culture will change, and there’s a lot of emotion about that, whether it’s anxiety about how that will play out, and whether we’ll be able to keep the things that make us different, like being able to go down to the railroad track at 4:00 a.m. and say, ‘This is not ok.’ This is real. Over the next two years, we want, through poetry, to capture the identity of Olympia, the changing of Olympia, and what brings us together.”
Above: Children and parent volunteers from Roosevelt Elementary School observe the salmon run at McLane Creek Nature Trail last Thursday afternoon in Olympia. A group of older children from North Thurston High School were also on the trail, and were being encouraged by a teacher to “....zoom out and sketch the greater ecosystem....”

Barb O'Neill's Family and Friends 47th Annual Thanksgiving Meal

Wed, 11/23/2016 - 6:34pm

Above: Rodney O’Neill greets friends as he carries on his mother’s legacy with Barb O'Neill's Family and Friends Thanksgiving event. Barb O’Neill started the meal for family and close friends out of her home in 1969. Eventually, it became a community event.
By Janine Gateshttps://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
Rodney O’Neill, 50, suffered a stroke on January 31, but says nothing could keep him and a whole lot of friends from pulling off the 47thannual Barb O’Neill’s Family and Friends Thanksgiving community meal. The event was held at First United Methodist Church on Wednesday.
“Without the community support and help of everybody, we would be sunk,” he said, crediting support from local nonprofits, the Washington Federation of State Employees Local 443 union, NW Realty and the Van Dorm family, and many more.
About his stroke that affected his right side, O’Neill said, “It happened so quickly -there were no warning signs.” O’Neill has worked hard to recover, and has progressed from using a wheelchair to walking with some difficulty. 
“It slowed me down but it definitely didn’t stop me. I have a purpose. I have been given the right tools to do what I do with knowledge, faith, and a genuine passion to want to help people….” he said, as well wishers and friends constantly caught his attention.
O’Neill estimated that about 150 volunteers turned out to assist with the meal, including a lot of high school students from Olympia High School and Timberline High School, who also provided musical entertainment.
Logistically, volunteers started planning on Tuesday at 8:00 a.m.
“Being prepared and working all day yesterday gave us an advantage,” he said. O’Neill was prepared to serve about 1,500 meals, but by 4:30 p.m., only about 550 meals were served. Each meal was deeply appreciated.
An evening dinner rush before 5:00 p.m. is typical, and volunteers were ready. Robert Johns, who has assisted with the Thanksgiving dinner for four years, wore a festive turkey hat as he stood behind the serving line, ready to replace empty serving food containers with hot, full ones. 
The total number of those served was down, perhaps due to the fact that the event was changed this year from United Churches in downtown Olympia to First United Methodist Church on Legion Way, in Olympia’s eastside neighborhood. 
The new location provides more room for folks to eat, sit, enjoy musical entertainment on a stage, and make new friends, or see old friends. O’Neill is confident people will find and get used to coming to the new location.
“It’s just amazing….Look, there’s no stress on their faces. They are happy to be here,” O'Neill said of the crowd. 
Not only were folks able to eat a traditional Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings, a resource room was set up to provide information about local social services, and a clothing room provided clothes, blankets, coats, and paper bags filled with soups and soap. The YMCA provided free shower passes to those in need. 

Providing enough clothes and warm coats for men is a perpetual need and donations are accepted year round.
Describing how he had worked on the meals by his mother’s side since he was little, O'Neill said that taking over the event was not as easy as he first thought.
“In the last three years of her life, it was like I was in ‘Training Day.’ It was always so intense with everything she was trying to tell me, and I was like, ‘OK, Mom, I got it, I got it,’ but the whole time, I didn’t have it.”
But by the looks of how shifts of volunteers were kept busy and smoothly rotated between stations, and plentiful, hot food, drinks and desserts were served with smiles, with friendly conversation heard throughout the church’s Great Hall, it would seem Rodney O’Neill has got it.
O’Neill’s Family and Friends will have a Christmas meal on Saturday, December 17, from 12 – 6:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, and provide toys and gift baskets.

For more photos and stories about Barb O’Neill’s Family and Friends, go to https://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand type key words into the search engine.

To donate food, gifts, gently used clothing, or supplies such as sleeping bags or coats, or to find out how you can get involved in this event or other community events sponsored by Barb O'Neill's Family and Friends, contact Rodney O'Neill at (360) 485-9931 or barbssoul@yahoo.com.

Olympia Police Chief Denounces Port of Olympia, Proppant Shipments

Wed, 11/23/2016 - 1:44am

Above: In an early Friday morning raid on the rail blockade, about 17 law enforcement officers moved several protesters back with flash bang grenades. This photo was taken at about 5:50 a.m. outside the Fish Tale BrewPub on Jefferson Street.
Longshoremen, City Offer Some Information on Raid 

By Janine Gateshttps://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
The Olympia city council chamber was packed to capacity with community members wanting to speak at Tuesday evening’s council meeting, or at least hear a detailed report about the rail blockade of a Union Pacific train that ended last Friday. 

Port staff was in the audience, as well as Thurston County Commissioner Bud Blake.
Instead, they first heard a stunning, tersely worded statement by City of Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts, who strongly denounced the Port of Olympia and its acceptance of ceramic proppants, stating, “Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.”
The train was blocked on November 11 by protesters taking direct action to prevent it from leaving the Port of Olympia with 15 cars of ceramic proppants. 

The Port of Olympia has had a contract with Rainbow Ceramics for several years to accept ceramic proppants from China, offload the cargo, and prepare it for rail transfer to North Dakota and Wyoming for use in the hydraulic fracking process for oil extraction.
The raid which began Friday morning at 4:00 a.m., was conducted by Union Pacific special agents, Washington State Patrol, Thurston County Sheriff’s department, and the Olympia Police Department. 

The train was able to leave Olympia under Washington State Patrol officer escort at 7:00 a.m. 

Above: City of Olympia Chief of Police Ronnie Roberts speaks to city council members Tuesday evening. “It angers me to have to put our officers in combat gear to face off with members of our community over something I don’t believe in myself,” said Roberts. 
Chief Roberts was invited to speak by Mayor Cheryl Selby at the outset of the council meeting, who gave a statement:

“Good evening Mayor and Council. I would like to take a few moments to share a few comments and thoughts that are on my mind.
I’m struggling to understand why the Port is not aligned with our community values we hold so dear. I care about our climate and our environment and the impact of products coming into our port for the sake of money. 
I do not agree with the confrontational behavior with police who are simply trying to protect the entire community. I understand these actions are based on fear and a sense of hopelessness with the system where they can’t make change. Where the people don’t trust the process, they will resort to other processes that will be more destructive and harmful overall. 
We are all facing uncertainty and concerned with where the county may be going. I am focusing on love and compassion for our community and a desire to be a steward of the land God gave us so it is available for all our children and grandchildren. 
I don’t want to be a part of this and I don’t want my department to be a scapegoat for the decisions the Port made or is making. They have choices and options should they choose to use them to eliminate proppants coming to the Port. 
Continued shipments will only erode more trust of our people and businesses and put our community at risk. If the Port has to accept any cargo, then price your services out of the market so vendors can go somewhere else where it is more acceptable. 
I’ve spent the last five years empowering our department to build trust and to build relationships with our community. I don’t want to lose these efforts. It angers me to have to put our officers in combat gear to face off with members of our community over something I don’t believe in myself. 
The Port is putting me between a rock and a hard spot and I don’t want to be part of it but I don’t have a choice to not protect our community. It is a mandate for police. 
I implore the Port to look for options that are compatible with our community values which have been stated by council. Part of the thing I talk with officers about is, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. 

Tonight, this is sage advice for the Port.

Thank you.
Cheers and applause from the audience erupted. It is unknown if council members knew what Chief Roberts was going to say.
Instead of responding to Chief Roberts’ remarks, or moving straight to a formal report about the raid, Mayor Cheryl Selby cheerfully moved on with the agenda, without comment, giving special recognition to Senator Karen Fraser. 
The missed opportunity caused some emotional whiplash, but was picked up somewhat when the agenda moved to public comment. Selby informed the audience that 33 people had signed up for public comment and not everyone would be able to speak at the first opportunity of the evening.
Keith Bausch, representing the members of ILWU Longshore Local 47, was the first to speak. About 10 other longshoremen were in the audience.
He expressed concern that had the protest been handled by law enforcement at the outset, the blockade never would have happened and the train could have left Olympia.
“Because of the delayed actions (by law enforcement), more radical elements were able to step in and take over the protest….We hope that plans will be put in place to stop future attempts to blockade rail movements before they get out of hand,” said Bausch.
Bausch said that the train was not going to North Dakota, that it is headed for Wyoming to be used for drilling natural gas wells.
“We need natural gas as an interim fuel to help wean ourselves off of coal and oil….There seems to be a belief that the fracking process is dependent on ceramic proppants. This is a false premise. The U.S. has an abundant supply of silica sand and the oil companies will use it if they can’t get proppants….Stopping this cargo here will have no impact on fracking in the U.S. whatsoever. However, it will impact the job opportunities and future registration for our local. It will reduce needed income for the Port of Olympia, it will also affect the ability of the port to market itself for future cargoes,” said Bausch.


Above: Chris van Daalen, in orange and yellow reflective jacket, observes the situation between law enforcement and protesters outside the Fish Tale Ale on Jefferson Street early Friday morning. Officers held the line while Union Pacific workers and law enforcement cleared the railroad tracks nearby.
Several speakers with first-hand experience visiting the blockade site said the protesters were polite, caring, and thoughtful.
Chris van Daalen spoke, saying he went down to the action to act as a peacekeeper. He was present during the raid, wearing a reflective vest. 
He said he is now involved with a new affinity group that will work to prevent future violence and find common ground and build community with the longshoremen, the police department, and others.
Pat Holm also spoke, and said she made many new friends there. She said that at age 80, she couldn’t risk taking direct action and block the tracks, but was appreciative of the young people who did. She said many protesters have bruises as a result of baton jabbing by officers.
“People were hurt. I feel really sad about that,” said Holm.
Christopher Donnelly spoke, saying that unnecessary force was used against the protesters and the city should ban the use of concussion grenades to suppress protests. He commented that law enforcement was taking surveillance video during the protest, but weren’t wearing body cameras during the raid.
After public comment, city manager Steve Hall spoke, reminding the audience that council unanimously passed a resolution in October in support of Standing Rock. Two years ago, council asked the Port of Olympia to reconsider cargo related to climate change.
Hall said he heard some things in public comment that were not true. He continued, making the following points, some based on his own observations: 
·        The Port has not yet changed its criteria for cargo.
·        Hall saw no injuries related to the clearing of the tracks – “this was my biggest fear that someone would get hurt.”
·        The Union Pacific railroad police asked for assistance from all local law enforcement (Washington State Patrol, Thurston County Sheriff's Department, and Olympia Police Department (OPD).
·        OPD’s main objective was to get people to leave the camp next to the rail lines so that Union Pacific special agents could clear the tracks. The city provided perimeter support so that more people did not get onto the tracks.
·        “In Olympia fashion, the Olympia police provided many, many opportunities for people to leave...Of the 30 or so campers, about 20 left without arrest.” Hall observed patience and lack of aggressiveness by OPD. Considerable aggression, taunts and objectionable language by the protesters was observed.
·        Arrests were handled very carefully  “with no scuffling that I observed.”
·        The issue of the closed track closure is complex.
·        Representatives of the city and Port of Olympia communicated with the protesters on multiple days.
·        The city advised the protesters that other cargo and equipment was also blocked.
·        The city told the protesters that local businesses including L&E Bottling, two metal companies, the independent locomotive operator was trapped, and others were not only inconvenienced, but losing work and work hours.
·        The manager of L&E indicated she would have to lay off 25-30 people at the plant this past weekend due to lack of product getting to them. “That means a lot of people who were counting on holiday wages will not receive them.”
·        Council members Jim Cooper and Clark Gilman, Mayor Pro Tem Jones and Port Commissioner E.J. Zita each talked with protesters about options to resolve the issue. All ideas were rejected by protesters.
·        Hall spoke with members of the group on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday by phone about ideas to avoid law enforcement. “As often happens, the individuals said that no one speaks for the group and all act on their own accord.”
·        The city offered to let the camp stay near the tracks after the train cleared, spoke about a press conference with elected officials in solidarity with the protest, and spoke about joint statements about the fracking sands.
·        The individuals the city spoke to rejected all these ideas and indicated they would not talk any further.
·        The tracks were cleared on Friday morning.
Hall also said that on Friday afternoon, he and Mayor Selby met with the owner of Rainbow Ceramics and told him that he needs to understand our community and the concerns of our citizens.
Hall said the mayor asked the owner about the environmental impacts of the product. The answer, Hall said, “was confusing.”
“I told him that he should expect protests in the future. If tracks get blocked, the city will do everything we can to avoid use of law enforcement. We are in a difficult spot but we will continue to do our job,” concluded Hall.
“We are not done talking to the Port,” said Hall. 
For more information about the Port of Olympia, ceramic proppants, the blockade of the Union Pacific railroad tracks in downtown Olympia, go to https://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand type key words in the search button.
The Port of Olympia website is www.portolympia.com

Editor's Note: The city issued a press release about the raid, conducted by multi-jurisdictional law enforcement, on November 18. An earlier version of this article said that the city had not issued a press release.

Olympia Rail Blockade Over, Proppant Train Leaves Port of Olympia

Fri, 11/18/2016 - 9:57am


Above: An early morning raid on the rail blockade camp in Olympia at about 4:30 a.m. The train, carrying several cars of ceramic proppants left Olympia at 7:00 a.m. 
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
While protesters screamed “Water is Life!” the rail blockade of a Union Pacific train in downtown Olympia was cleared by law enforcement in an early morning raid on the camp Friday morning. 
The train tried to leave last Friday with a shipment of ceramic proppants destined for North Dakota, to be used in hydraulic fracking.
The raid began at about 4:00 a.m. and was in full swing by about 4:30 a.m. with protesters drumming and chanting. Women were screaming.
Little Hollywood posted a 13 minute video of the raid on Facebook early Friday morning. Go to https://www.facebook.com/janine.gates12 or search Janine Gates Olympia to see it. 
Little Hollywood is still trying to determine if there were any injuries to protesters or law enforcement, and more. More information and videos will be posted as soon as possible. 

City of Olympia city manager Steve Hall was on the scene during the raid and said the city assisted Burlington Northern Police and State Patrol in removing the protesters and establishing the perimeter around the scene. 
Regarding the protesters, Hall he saw them confronting Union Pacific workers and block traffic. He said one of them jumped on the back of one of the vehicles. Citing safety concerns of having the protesters near the cleanup action, city police were actively pushing them from the scene.
Above: City of Olympia police and other law enforcement hold the line on the railroad tracks on Jefferson Street. This photo was taken at about 5:46 a.m.
Meanwhile, other protesters, about 20, continued to walk down the tracks, and turned over a Dumpster onto the tracks near Fish Tale Ale. About 17 police officers waited in formation, allowing rail workers to clear the tracks at the camp, and used two flash bang grenades to move the protesters north.
Above: Police put out fire set by protesters on Jefferson Street near the Olympia Dance Center.
Protesters then continued to run north and turn over trash cans and lit several on fire. Police put them out and the protesters ran up to the intersection on State Street, then ran west on State Street.
Above: Washington State Patrol escorts the train off Port of Olympia property and out of Olympia.
The train horn blew and the train came down the tracks escorted by many Washington State Patrol officers. 
At one point, as it was moving up the tracks between 4th and 5th Streets, a woman on the other side of the tracks directly in front of Little Hollywood ran in front of the train. A police officer was there and said, “Oh, no you don’t,” and held her back. Little Hollywood was filming at the time.
Little Hollywood encountered the perimeter of police tape on Legion Way and ran east on Legion Way and around buildings to get to 8thAvenue to see the train continue out of Olympia.
Above: As seen on Union Street, the train leaves Olympia at 7:00 a.m. for North Dakota, carrying ceramic proppants used in hydraulic fracking to allow for oil extraction. 
On 8th Avenue at the railroad tracks, Sky Myers of Olympia screamed at the train as it left, and State Patrol officers walked back in a group on the tracks towards Jefferson Street.
One of them said, “Now what?”
According to a city press release issued at 9:16 a.m., four individuals were arrested by Union Pacific Railroad Police. City of Olympia police arrested eight individuals for misdemeanor crimes that occurred within city jurisdiction as a result of the event.
Another source says that four are currently in the Thurston County Jail, and eight are in the Olympia City Jail at this time. 

Update at 10:11 a.m. - City of Olympia Lt. Paul Lower says there were no injuries that he knows of, to law enforcement and the protesters they have in custody. Also, a correction was made to the time the raid began. Lt. Lower says it started at 4:00 a.m.
For more photos and information about the rail blockade, ceramic proppants, the Port of Olympia, and more, go to www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand type key words into the search button.

Olympia Rail Blockade Negotiations Underway, Law Enforcement Meet at Port

Thu, 11/17/2016 - 9:59pm

Above: The Olympia rail blockade of Union Pacific tracks, as seen Thursday morning, started last Friday afternoon. Port of Olympia Commissioner E.J. Zita, City of Olympia councilmember Nathaniel Jones, and members of Olympia Stand met on Wednesday to discuss a peaceful resolution.
Law Enforcement Meeting Held At Port Office

State Legislator Writes “Economic Terrorism” Bill 

By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
The rail blockade of a Union Pacific train currently on Port of Olympia property in downtown Olympia continued into its seventh evening on Thursday. 

The train tried to leave last Friday with a shipment of ceramic proppants destined for North Dakota, to be used in hydraulic fracking.

The Olympia Stand blockade may be the longest disruption of a fossil fuel industry shipment in state history.

Negotiations to peacefully end the rail blockade are underway, but time may be running out for protesters. 

On Thursday afternoon, a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement meeting was held at port administrative offices. About 20 officers were present. No port personnel was present, nor allowed at the meeting.

Port of Olympia Commissioner E.J. Zita issued a statement to media Thursday evening:
“Yesterday, people from Olympia Stand met with liaisons from the City of Olympia (Nathaniel Jones) and the Port of Olympia (myself). We discussed how we could work together toward a peaceful resolution of the fracking train blockade. My top priority is the safety of everyone involved, and I think Nathaniel agrees. I will not presume to speak for Olympia Stand or the Port of Olympia.
Councilmember Jones has proposed a way forward, which Olympia Stand may consider, and which Port Commissioners need to discuss.
The soonest that the three Port Commissioners can meet to discuss this is next Monday, due to travel and family commitments. Port Commissioners are then scheduled to discuss cooperating with the City's proposal for a peaceful resolution.

Meanwhile, I hope that no law enforcement action will be taken against Olympia Stand.
Zita told Little Hollywood Thursday evening that she chanced upon the meeting, and was nicely, but firmly escorted out. She said she has no information about law enforcement plans.
“Economic Terrorism” Bill Proposed
Washington State Senator Doug Ericksen, a Republican legislator from the 42nd District representing Whatcom County, issued a press release Wednesday saying he has prepared a bill for next year’s legislative session that would create a new crime of “economic terrorism.”

Ericksen says Washington needs to take a firm stand against illegal protests that block transportation and commerce, cause property damage, threaten jobs and put public safety at risk. 
Whatcom County has seen its own share of recent blockades and protests. 

Over 150 activists blocked an oil train in Anacortes in May as part of the Break Free coalition, and in August, a BNSF coal train was blocked by Deep Green Resistance Seattle members for 12 hours. 

According to the Bellingham Herald, trains were delayed three hours on Tuesday by Bellingham protesters, who left at sundown. The newspaper reported that officers in riot gear used pepper spray and in one instance, a stun gun was used against protesters who refused to leave.
“I haven’t seen Senator Ericksen’s proposed language but it appears that he lacks a basic understanding of the First Amendment and the role of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in an open and democratic society,” Neil M. Fox, National Lawyers Guild of Seattle, told Little Hollywood Thursday evening. 
“Senator Ericksen’s suggested legislation makes me fear what is coming down the road once Donald Trump becomes president,” he added. 
The bill would create a class C felony when protests aimed at causing economic disruption jeopardize human life and property. It would not apply in cases of lawful and protected activities, such as strikes and picketing.
The penalties would apply not just to participants but also to those who fund, organize, sponsor or otherwise encourage others to commit acts of economic terrorism. Accomplices may be required to pay restitution up to triple the amount of economic damage.
The actual bill language is not posted on Ericksen’s website. Ericksen is chair of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee.
For more photos and information about the Olympia rail blockade, the Port of Olympia, ceramic proppants, and more, go to http://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.

Port Responds to Olympia Rail Protesters

Wed, 11/16/2016 - 9:45pm

By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
As the blockade of a Union Pacific train carrying ceramic proppants in downtown Olympia continues into its sixth evening, Port of Olympia executive director Ed Galligan issued a brief press release written and released late Wednesday evening:
“The Port of Olympia is continuing to monitor a blockage located on a privately-owned rail line outside of Port facilities, where protestors have essentially halted interstate commerce for Port and other local business customers (e.g. Mottman Business Park). 
“Given the location and nature of these impacts, any future response or resolution will be coordinated by appropriate local, state and federal authorities.  The Port’s top priority is to see this situation resolved peacefully and ensure the safety of all involved, including Port staff who have also been subject to intimidation via recent vandalism at the Port’s administrative offices.  
“The Olympian has reported that the Port’s involvement in the shipping of fracking sands is one of the stated reasons behind the current protest. While the Port respects differing opinions, it is important to note that Port Districts are regulated by the Shipping Act of 1984.  The act requires ports to move all cargos deemed safe and legal.”
It is unclear why Galligan would single out The Olympian newspaper as the sole source for his information. The protesters and other community members have made it abundantly clear to the Port that the shipping of ceramic proppants is one of the reasons for their protest. 

At least two commissioners have been in direct communication with the protesters, and all, including Galligan, have received letters from community members about the issue. 
Many concerned individuals were present and spoke at the port commission meeting on Monday night during public comment, and an autonomous group at the rail blockade issued a public letter to the port that was sent to the port and reprinted in a Little Hollywood article Wednesday morning. 
Commissioner Downing’s View
Little Hollywood asked the three Port Commissioners over the past weekend about the rail blockade. E.J. Zita’s statement was published in a previous article. Commissioner Bill McGregor has not yet responded.
Received on Wednesday, here is Port Commissioner Joe Downing’s statement about port cargoes:
As a Port Commissioner, I am bound by two things: the Shipping Act of 1984, and the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, both of which prohibit states or local agencies from interfering with interstate (and international) commerce.  On a more personal level, I will not act in conflict with the law of the land: 48 out of 50 states allow fracking, as does the federal government. Fracking in general has allowed the United States two very big dividends:
1)      We have less greenhouse gases from energy production, due to more reliance on natural gas, and less on coal;
2)      We are less reliant on Middle East oil, and that makes going to war over oil that much less likely – the last oil war in Iraq and Afghanistan cost 4,400 American, and 500,000 Afghan and Iraqi lives.
Not only that, but the public has implored the Port to improve its bottom line by making the Marine Terminal more profitable.  So, how can we decline cargo when we are uniquely positioned to accept proppant cargo from China, and to export logs grown from many different private land tracts?
I appreciate the citizens who come to Port meetings to voice their concerns.  I continue to believe that the great majority of people who live in Thurston County want me to a) use my best judgement in Port matters, and b) diversify, not divest, the cargoes of the Port.

For more information about the Port of Olympia, ceramic proppants, and the rail blockade, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search button.

Olympia Rail Protesters Issue Public Letter to Port

Wed, 11/16/2016 - 9:12am

By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
An autonomous group of protesters at the rail blockade on Union Pacific tracks in downtown Olympia has worked on a public letter to the Port of Olympia and issued it early this morning to Little Hollywood.
The communication is not from Olympia Stand.
The blockade has garnered the support and efforts of a revolving group of activists exhibiting different strengths and styles of communication and organizing efforts.
Under contract with Rainbow Ceramics, the Union Pacific train was leaving the Port of Olympia on Friday for North Dakota, where the ceramic proppants are used in the process of hydraulic fracking to allow for oil extraction from the earth.
While some are concerned and wondering whether or not the action is or is not expressed as an effort in solidarity with the water protectors in Standing Rock, there is no doubt they are working collectively for one purpose: to stop the shipment of proppants from leaving Olympia.
The letter is as follows:
Public Letter to the Port
“We, the residents of Thurston County, demand the Olympia Port Commission no longer allow oil fracking sand or any cargo related to the extraction of fossil fuels to enter our Port.”
1.     Institute genuine public involvement in all Port operations and policies based on the understanding that the Port serves all of the interests of  the residents of Thurston County
-         create a transparent operations environment-         open all operations, policies, communications to public inspection to the extent allowed by the law-         build respect and trust in the community as an institution by being honest in all internal dealings and in all interactions with the public and other governmental bodies.
2.     Improve the Port’s environmental record
-         create a vibrant waterfront with substantial public space and enhanced access to the waterfront-         shift to operations based on environmentally-sustainable products and actions-         engage in thorough environmental cleanup and restoration prior to development-         develop a sea-level rise adaptation plan that does not place an economic burden on the taxpayers
3.     Improve the Port’s economic development capability
-         concentrate on economically benefitting the larger community and small businesses by focusing on manufacturing, production and alternative energy and energy efficient projects-         openly evaluate projects to determine their economic effectiveness before committing public funds
-         enhance a recreation-based and restoration-based economy

For photos and more information about the rail blockade, ceramic proppants, and the Port of Olympia, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com, and type key words into the search engine. 

Olympia Union Pacific Rail Blockade May Qualify as “Terrorist Attack”

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:17pm

Above: The railroad blockade continued in downtown Olympia on Tuesday. Early Tuesday, at 6:00 a.m., the Union Pacific police department served notice to protesters to vacate the tracks within two hours. They did not do so and Union Pacific officers did not come back. 
Port, Union Pacific, Olympia Police Departments Involved

By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com

Editor's Note, November 16: Headline was changed from "Olympia Union Pacific Rail Blockade Qualifies as "Terrorist Attack" to "Olympia Union Pacific Rail Blockade May Qualify as "Terrorist Attack." Little Hollywood only cited one source for the legal information that was obtained from inside the blockade camp and provided to protesters on site. Little Hollywood appreciates the feedback.
The blockade of a Union Pacific train carrying ceramic proppants in downtown Olympia by protesters may qualify as a terrorist attack under federal codes and involves Port of Olympia security, the Union Pacific police department, and the City of Olympia police department.

Ceramic proppants are ceramic coated beads of sand created in China and used in the process of hydraulic fracking to allow for oil extraction. The train carrying the proppants from the Port of Olympia is destined for North Dakota's Bakken oil field. 

The evolving group of activists, collectively known as Olympia Stand, have created a camp on and near the tracks, and have increased their security measures. On environmental grounds, many are willing to risk arrest in a direct action to prevent the train from leaving Olympia. 

Climate scientists are clear that in order to stave off catastrophic climate change, 80 percent of fossil fuel reserves need to stay in the ground. 

In a press release issued November 13, the Olympia Stand group says it will continue to “fight the import or export of fossil fuel infrastructure until the Port of Olympia finds alternative uses for the marine terminal.”

Ports are considered separate municipalities, like a city or town, and have their own security force to protect port property. State law applies in ports, but some federal charges may also apply because ports are considered critical infrastructure of commerce. 
The Olympia Police Department has largely employed a hands-off approach, but officers have been seen in the area.

Little Hollywood asked the Olympia Police Department on Tuesday if it is cooperating with the Union Pacific Railroad special agents.

“We are working with Union Pacific Railroad police as well as working with other local agencies to ensure the city remains safe. Although the Union Pacific Railroad police department is the primary agency handling this matter and it is their jurisdiction right now, we recognize it is in the heart of our downtown and whatever comes of this will likely carry on to our city streets,” said public information officer Lt. Paul Lower.
“The group occupying the railroad tracks has put flyers up in a number of locations downtown Olympia which indicates they are unwilling to cooperate with anyone and will carry out their plan “by any means necessary,” using words such as “fight,” “attack,” and “fight back” to define what they mean. 
“The City of Olympia Police Department’s primary concern is the safety of our community. We are working hard to keep our community safe,” he added.
The encampment on the tracks has grown since the protest started last Friday.

Early Tuesday, at 6:00 a.m., protesters were served notice by two Union Pacific special agents based in Portland to vacate the railroad at 7thand Jefferson Street. Little Hollywood was told that one officer recorded the interaction with a camcorder.
Protesters were given a two hour warning and told to vacate by 8:00 a.m., however, railroad agents did not show up at 8:00 a.m.
There is a split in the railroad tracks between 7th and 8th Avenues in the area where the protesters are located. On Monday morning, protesters were contacted by another railroad company that operates a nearby track and were asked to untie a rope that was in the way of that railroad line’s property. 

The rope was anchoring a tent, and protesters untied the rope as requested without incident.
About that same time, a Port of Olympia inspector and a supervisor also showed up, along with Olympia Police Department officers, but there was no incident, and all officers left the scene.
Union Pacific Police Department History
Union Pacific has a police department staffed with more than 220 special agents, who are responsible for all Union Pacific locations across 32,000 miles of track in 23 states. 
Special agents have primary jurisdiction over crimes committed against the railroad and are certified state law enforcement officers with investigative and arrest powers both on and off railroad property in most states. They also have interstate law enforcement authority pursuant to federal law.
In 2014, the Union Pacific Police Department achieved accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) for complying with the highest law enforcement standards. Only 17 percent of U.S. law enforcement agencies have earned the CALEA accreditation.
The railroad police force dates to the mid-1800s, when the number of U.S. Marshals was insufficient to police the country's growing rail network. Members were called Pinkertons, named after their originator, Alan Pinkerton.
Today, each Class I railroad employs special agents across the country to protect the rail network.
According to the Civil Liberties Defense Center, railroad tracks, and usually the land extending up to 50 feet on either side, are private property of railroad corporations.

Railroad police have interstate jurisdiction and can investigate and enforce all state law crimes against railroad whether or not the officers are on railroad property.
There are special state and federal charges that may be brought against protesters interfering with railroads and trains.
Federal charges typically involve the use of violence, but many non-violent actions may face serious charges and is written in a 1992 code rather broadly as“terrorist attacks and other violence against railroad carriers and against mass transportation systems on land, on water, or through the air.”

Disabling, wrecking, or derailing any on-track equipment or vehicle, as well as making tracks, depots, bridges, tunnels, signals, warehouses, etc. unusable or unworkable also qualifies as a terrorist attack.
Also according to the Civil Liberties Defense Center, collecting information, surveilling, photographing, videotaping, or diagramming railroads or equipment to assist in any of this behavior may also qualify as a terrorist act, as does attempting, threatening, conspiring, or conveying false information about an attempt to do any of the above. 

All the above qualifies a Class C felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or fines.

State charges also exist for railroad-specific behavior in Washington, including obstructing or delaying a train. This is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. 

For more photos and information about the rail blockade, Olympia Stand, the Port of Olympia, and ceramic proppants, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com, and type key words into the search button.

Olympia Rail Protesters Given Notice to Vacate, Port Commissioners Respond

Tue, 11/15/2016 - 10:18am

Above: Community activists, collectively called Olympia Stand, continues its blockade of Union Pacific Railroad tracks in its effort to halt the transfer of ceramic proppants from the Port of Olympia to North Dakota, where the product will be used in hydraulic fracking process to allow for oil extraction.

Port Commissioners Downing, Zita Make Statements about Blockade at meeting Monday night
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
At about 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, two Union Pacific Railroad Company police served notice on blockade participants to vacate the railroad at 7th and Jefferson in downtown Olympia.
The notice of emergency abatement placed on the blockade site states to vacate the property or risk criminal trespass in the second degree.
The notice is partially handwritten, saying that further violations exceeding the notice are subject to violations. The term “ORS.164.255” is crossed out, which would be a first degree violation, and “second degree” is written in.
“The nuisances on this property include illegal camping, debris, scattering of rubbish, harborage for rats, unclean and unsanitary conditions, and therefore violates the property rights of the Union Pacific Railroad,” it states in part.
The notice does not give a time or date that trespassers must vacate the property.
Two members of the National Lawyers Guild arrived about 9:00 a.m. and identified themselves to Little Hollywood as observers.
At the same time, while standing outside the encampment, a white truck with two men inside drove by yelling, “Trump!” “Trump!” “Trump!”
Above: A Union Pacific Railroad notice of emergency abatement placed Tuesday morning at the railroad blockade site at 7th and Jefferson in downtown Olympia. The notice states that it is a notice to vacate the property or risk criminal trespass in the second degree.
Protesters, collectively called Olympia Stand, have maintained its direct action blockade of the railroad tracks since Friday afternoon. 
On Friday, a train hauling several cars of ceramic proppants was forced to return to the Port of Olympia’s marine terminal after being blocked by protesters at the intersection of State and Jefferson Street.
City of Olympia city manager Steve Hall was at the camp Tuesday morning on his way to work and got there just in time to see the railroad police put up the notices.
“I just hope there’s a peaceful end to this – I hope people don’t get in trouble at a higher level while being heard," said Hall. Hall said he spoke to the railroad police, who were vague about whether or not it was a felony to block a train.
“I’m hoping this is handled the Olympia way and people don’t get hurt,” said Hall.
Protesters have visually fortified their barricade at 7th and Jefferson with white plastic sheeting, but blockade activities can clearly be seen from Jefferson Street.
At last night’s Port of Olympia meeting, about 17 activists, in addition to those in the audience, peacefully showed up to make their presence known to the commissioners and stood in the back of the room during the public comment period.
Several spoke directly to the Port’s complicity in the degradation of the environment by accepting the ceramic proppant shipments from China and allowing transport to North Dakota to be used in the process of hydraulic fracking.
Zoltan Grossman, a professor at The Evergreen State College, urged commissioners to be on the right side of history.
A student of The Evergreen State College, Colleen Allen, said that many students care about their future.
“We care about the future – all we ask is that you care about our future too,” she said.
Above, left to right: Port of Olympia commissioners Joe Downing, Bill McGregor, and E.J. Zita at their regular meeting on Monday evening.
The commissioners briefly responded to public concerns, but did not dwell on the topic.
Commissioner Joe Downing responded by saying that he did not vote for Donald Trump and has had a sign on his car in support of Hillary Clinton for a couple months.
“I’m choked up, because things are going to get tough and I’m just seeing the handwriting on the wall….”
How that relates to fracking, he said, is that the community has to continue to have a dialog about energy production and port priorities. He said he has spoken directly with protesters and doesn’t personally see a connection between that conversation and the port's shipping of proppants to North Dakota.

“We need to have rail car safety…I don’t agree with blocking trains.…Make your voices known, and move on to the next issue, frankly,” said Downing.
In a statement provided to Little Hollywood on Monday, Commissioner E.J. Zita said:
“I asked last month to be informed of any movements of fracking proppants at the Port, but was surprised to learn of events last week.  I commend the Olympia Police Department for their hands-off response to peaceful protest.  Public safety and freedom of speech are high priorities. 
“Port Commissioners are responsible for setting port policy, and the executive director is responsible for carrying out that policy.  While the executive director may have played a key role in securing the Rainbow Ceramics contract to move fracking proppants through the Port, future decisions on this matter rest with commissioners.  We must weigh risks and benefits to people and the environment as well as to economics.
“The Port's Environmental Director has recently undertaken an assessment of our direct (Scope 1) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  I recommend that we also evaluate the indirect (Scope 2 and Scope 3) GHG emissions due to fracking proppants moving through the Port,” said Zita.
For more photos and information about the rail blockade, the Port of Olympia, ceramic proppants, and more, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com, and type key words into the search button.

Olympia Protesters Continue Rail Blockade

Mon, 11/14/2016 - 1:04am

Above: A group of community activists, collectively named Olympia Stand, continued its direct action blockade of railroad tracks in downtown Olympia over the weekend. One of the group's demands is for the Port of Olympia to permanently cease fossil fuel shipments through the marine terminal. This sign is at the blockade.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
An evolving group of community activists, collectively called Olympia Stand, continued its direct action blockade of railroad tracks over the weekend in downtown Olympia. 

In duration, it could be the longest, continuously occupied rail blockade in Washington State history. While attendance at the camp is fluid, there are at least 20 people on and around the track at all times. 
On Friday, a train hauling several cars of ceramic proppants was forced to return to the Port of Olympia's marine terminal after being blocked by protesters at the intersection of State and Jefferson Street. 

On Saturday, the blockade was moved a few blocks down the train tracks to the intersection of Jefferson St. and 7th Avenue. Activists have built a barricade of assorted materials on the railroad track using wooden pallets, signs, tents, and several couches.
One of the group's demands is for the Port of Olympia to permanently cease fossil fuel shipments through the marine terminal. 
The Port of Olympia has had a contract for several years with Rainbow Ceramics to receive proppants, which are created in China and delivered by ship in bags, destined to be used in the process of hydraulic fracking to allow for oil extraction in North Dakota's Bakken oil field.
Above: On Saturday, Nov. 12th, the blockade of the railroad tracks was moved a few blocks down the train tracks to the intersection of Jefferson St. and 7th Avenue. This picture is taken from 8th Avenue in downtown Olympia. Picture taken Saturday afternoon. 
What began as a couple of modest canopies with music blaring on Saturday has now morphed into an impressive tent community. People are still in good spirits, but by Sunday, the music was gone, not only out of respect for nearby downtown residents, but also to focus on the serious tasks central to their message.
Despite the cold, pelting rain and high winds Sunday evening, the camp's attendance swelled to about 75 individuals at about 7:00 p.m. for a facilitated group meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half. 

Under several secured tents and canopies, volunteers busily organized donated warm food, hot coffee, snacks, water, emergency supplies, and literature. The well-organized kitchen area includes food and water, and trash, recycling, and composting bins. 

Individuals are using proper restrooms at nearby businesses as needed. 
Above: Wooden pallets, debris, and couches under tarps are used to blockade the railroad tracks between 7th and 8th Avenue in downtown Olympia on Sunday evening.
Solidarity with Standing Rock
The action to resist the movement of ceramic proppants through Olympia had been planned by port militarization resistance activists for several months. Olympia community members have been upset about the transport of proppants through the Port of Olympia since 2012. 
Many at the camp are inspired by the water protectors of the Standing Rock Dakota Pipeline resistance. 
The group includes Kyle Taylor Lucas, who is also an organizer of the Salish Water and Land Protectors. 
The Salish Water and Land Protectors group is intended to create unity in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux in protecting their treaty rights, sacred lands, and Missouri River water.
Lucas, of Tumwater, is an Indigenous woman of the Tulalip Tribes and First Nations, Cooks Ferry and Lytton Bands of the Nlaka'pamux Nation of British Columbia.
A former Tumwater city council member, Lucas also served as executive director of the Governor's Office of Indian Affairs from 2003 to 2005. She currently has her own consulting business.
“Certainly, we Indians have been fighting for our land and water against corporate and government oppression all our lives, but we've taken an unprecedented collective stand to support the Standing Rock Sioux people. In so doing, we are extending our ancestor's teachings to protect and preserve our sacred lands and waters on behalf of future generations,” said Lucas, in an interview with Little Hollywood late Sunday.
“It is critical that we do this now as the North Dakota fracking industry's tentacles reach across the nation, including across the State of Washington, and right into Olympia where we refuse to be complicit in the dirty fossil fuels extraction industry.
“In taking direct action to disrupt the delivery of these fracking sands, we are answering the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's call to stand up to fossil fuels extraction industry in our region. We also stand in support of Native nations in the forefront of protecting traditional lands and water from the Bakken crude oil trains and oil terminals here in Washington,” said Lucas.
Above: The Port of Olympia marine terminal, bags of ceramic proppants, exposed, and under black tarps, and presumably, loaded in the train hoppers, as seen on Sunday evening. The cars are now connected to the train engine, which had been moved into place at some point since Saturday evening. 
For more information about the blockade, read, Protesters Stop Port of Olympia Proppant Train, at http://janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com/2016/11/protesters-stop-port-of-olympia.html posted November 11, 2016.

Protesters Stop Port of Olympia Proppant Train

Fri, 11/11/2016 - 8:11pm

Above: Environmental activists stopped a train hauling ten cars of ceramic proppants from leaving the Port of Olympia marine terminal in downtown Olympia on Friday afternoon. The train was forced to back up and detach its load. As of Friday evening, about 25 protesters remained on the tracks. 
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
A train hauling ten cars of ceramic proppants was forced to return to the Port of Olympia’s marine terminal after being blocked by protesters at the intersection of State and Jefferson Street on Friday afternoon in downtown Olympia.
Local activists began the blockade about noon, and moved onto the tracks to resist the movement of ceramic proppants through Olympia. 

At about 6:30 p.m. Friday evening, about 25 people were making themselves comfortable, having brought a couch and two chairs to the tracks, saying they were ready to spend the night on the tracks to make sure the shipment does not happen.
“It went really well. We were all sitting and standing here for two hours, and brought a couch out, put it on the tracks, and told them they’re not allowed to leave with the proppants, but if they drop off the cars back in the port, then the train can leave. After that, they went back with the train, detached the cars, and left in a car,” said an activist named Katie. 

“We’re not at the point that we’re building a tent city but we’re going to be blocking the tracks as long as we need to. We want the (train and port) workers on our side as environmental activists,” she said.
Above: Bags of ceramic proppants from China sit at the Port of Olympia's marine terminal in late October. Photo taken October 29, 2016. 
The Port of Olympia has had a contract for several years with Rainbow Ceramics of Texas and China to receive proppants, which are delivered from China in bags. For the purpose of hauling by train, the bag's contents are emptied into train hoppers.
In the process of fracking, the ceramic proppants, little beads made of sand with a ceramic shell, are hydraulically forced into the ground in order to prop open shale and allow for oil extraction. This process results in the environmental contamination of groundwater, induces earthquakes, and produces toxic waste. Oil extracted from the Bakken Oil Field is destined to travel through the Dakota Access Pipeline.
Organizers said the action was inspired by the water protectors at Standing Rock.
“We reject the Port of Olympia’s complicity in the occupation and desecration of indigenous lands. We demand the Port of Olympia permanently cease fossil fuel infrastructure shipments through the marine terminal. In lieu of acceptance of this demand, we will continue to oppose any transportation of fossil fuels through the marine terminal of Olympia,” said a press release.
Above: Idle train hoppers at the Port of Olympia marine terminal on Friday night.

Post-Election Reconciliation: Signs of the Times

Thu, 11/10/2016 - 8:14am

Above: In the spirit of peace, Glen Anderson, left, and Bob Zeigler each hold handmade signs at the northwest corner of Sylvester Park at Legion Way and Capitol Way on Wednesday afternoon in downtown Olympia.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
Glen Anderson of Lacey, a retired state employee and local community organizer with the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation, has dedicated himself to stand or sit every Wednesday during the noon hour at the corner of Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia with hand-made signs since March 5, 1980 – that’s 36 ½  years. 

If ever there was a presidential post-election thought expressing Glen Anderson's feelings on what continued for many to be a gut-wrenching, emotionally wild day, his message, “Be gentle with one another,” summed it up. 

Those powerful, few words, written on a handmade sign, offered passersby an ever-so-brief suggestion of how to treat each other, while adding a calming, implied reminder, perhaps, to breathe.

Between waving to pedestrians and drivers, some who honk in apparent appreciation or agreement, Anderson said he specifically chose this sign to hold, one day after the election of president-elect Donald J. Trump.

“The political system and political culture is full of blame, full of shame, and trauma. This year, it has lifted up stuff that was already there so vigorously – anti-gay, anti-Muslim and racist sentiments – that it caught people by surprise,” said Anderson.

Anderson said both major party presidential campaigns were based on fear.

“Both parties are quite broken. The remedy for blame, shame, and trauma is not through the electoral option. If you want change, you have to work at the grassroots. That means sitting on street corners and talking to people. It means connecting….”

At that point, Bob Zeigler, another retired state employee and local community activist who is concerned about the climate crisis and the activities of the Port of Olympia, arrived to hold a sign. 

The sign he chose amongst an inventory of pre-prepared signs: “Act from love, not fear.”

Anderson also hosts and produces a monthly show related to peace, social justice, economics, the environment, and nonviolence on Thurston Community Media (formerly Thurston Community Television).

Anderson said his December program, which will be taped next week, will feature four community guests who will speak about the theme of healing from political blame, shame and trauma.

His guests will be Liv Monroe, a certified communications specialist in nonviolence and compassion, Robert Lovitt, a local Buddhist, Keylee Martineau, a mental health counselor who works with at-risk young adults at Community Youth Services, and the Reverend John Van Eeewyk, a local priest and clinical psychologist.

The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation is also co-sponsoring the Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation’s 2016 Fall Retreat on Saturday, November 12, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Gwinwood Conference Center in Lacey. 

The theme will be “Interracial and Intergenerational Movement Building: Weaving Activism into Our Lives.”

The Fellowship of Reconciliation is a 100 year old pacifist organization founded at the beginning of World War I. 

For more information about the Fellowship of Reconciliation show, times, and how to access it through your computer, go to www.olympiafor.org/tv_programs.htm. For informtion about the 2016 Fall Retreat, or the organization's many activities, go to www.olympiafor.org or www.wwfor.org or contact Glen Anderson at (360) 491-9093 or glen@olympiafor.org
Above: Glen Anderson sits with his sign, “Create peaceful foreign policy,” at Percival Landing in downtown Olympia by The Kiss statue in October. Wind, rain, sleet, or snow, every Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.Anderson is there with many others, including the Artesian Rumble Arkestra street band. Anderson has many signs to choose from, and encourages individuals to participate. “Just dress for the weather and show up!” laughed Anderson.  

Future Uncertain for State Capital Museum

Wed, 11/09/2016 - 4:49pm

Above: The historic Lord Mansion, located in the South Capitol neighborhood in Olympia, has served as the State Capital Museum since 1942. Staff of the Washington State Historical Society informed the public on Monday that it cannot afford to keep the mansion as the state Capital Museum due to financial reasons. The mansion is currently closed to the public.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
There is new uncertainty as to the future of the State Capital Museum at the historic Lord Mansion in Olympia.
At a public meeting at the mansion on Monday evening, Washington State Historical Society (WSHS) staff said that it cannot keep the mansion as a museum due to financial reasons. About 50 were in attendance, many of them from the South Capitol neighborhood association. 


The Lord Mansion, located in the historic South Capitol Neighborhood at 211 21st Street, seven blocks south of the Capitol Building, was built in 1923 for banker Clarence J. Lord and his wife, Elizabeth. The building was designed by Olympia architect Joseph Wohleb. 
Lord was a powerful figure in the history of Washington State banking, served as Olympia's mayor in 1902-03, and was a staunch opponent of any attempt to move the state capital. After Lord's death in 1937, the mansion was donated to the state by Elizabeth Lord, to be used as a museum. It opened as such in 1942, and was closed in 2014.
Jennifer Kilmer, director of the Washington State Historical Society, told the group that the Lord Mansion will continue to be renovated and a leasing tenant will be sought whose mission profile fits well with their occupancy of the historic structure. The mansion is owned by the Society.

Kilmer was hired after the 2008 recession, and the Society's budget had just been cut 44 percent. Ever since, the Society has struggled to keep the museum open, and the Governor's budget writers have told her not to ask for more money because she will not get it.

Despite obtaining past capital project funding to upgrade wiring and plumbing, replace the roof, and make repairs, the Society can no longer afford to operate the mansion.

In consultation with the state Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, renovations include repairing and repainting the interior and installation of new carpeting. The renovations are ongoing. 

Kilmer said it would take several million dollars to bring the building to certified climate control standards for the storage and display of historic documents, pictures, and artifacts. Renting the mansion out, she said, would be the worst option, because the wear and tear would be significant. 
The Coach House, located behind the State Museum, will continue to be available for public rental.
“We heard the biggest concerns were the impact to traffic in the neighborhood, continued care and preservation of the historic structure (and surrounding landscaping), and the perceived absence of a local history center that will be created by this decision,” Erich R. Ebel, Washington State Historical Society marketing and communications director, told Little Hollywood on Tuesday. 
“Basically, we want someone in there who appreciates and cares for the building and whose business fits well with the neighborhood. The meeting (on Monday night) was the beginning of this community conversation, not the end…there will be additional information and outreach in the future,” said Ebel.
The Washington State Historical Society will use funding from the building’s lease to fund programs and displays on the Capitol Campus, either in the Legislative Building itself or another building nearby, such as the Pritchard Building.
Asked about future tenants, Ebel said the Society is not yet ready to begin the search for a new tenant as renovations are currently underway. The building is currently occupied by an employee who oversees the structure and handles public rental of the Coach House.

A change to the relevant Revised Code of Washington, substituting “Historic Lord Mansion,” for “State Capital Museum,” will be proposed for the next Legislative session to broaden the mansion's use beyond a museum. 
The Washington State Historical Society will continue to oversee maintenance of the structure and surrounding landscaping, including the native species garden named in honor of the late Delbert McBride, the museum's curator emeritus and an ethnobotanical expert of Cowlitz/Quinault descent. It features more than 30 species of native plants.
“The Washington State Historical Society takes its responsibility of being good stewards of state history very seriously,” said Ebel.
Above: As seen in May 2016, an inviting stone table and benches provide a place to rest and admire spectacular rhododendrons, native plants, and a pioneer herb garden at the historic Lord Mansion.


Editor’s Note, November 10: Clarifications made to this story, based on an email to Little Hollywood from Erich R. Ebel, Washington State Historical Society marketing and communications director: 
The meeting was in the mansion itself, not the Coach House. Also, the proposed legislation would change the name “State Capital Museum” to “Historic Lord Mansion.”
Also, Ebel comments: "There is a misconception that the mansion was donated explicitly for use as a museum. This is not the case. We’ve reviewed the transaction paperwork that was done at the time, and it only specifies that the mansion be used for the public good, possibly as a museum."
Little Hollywood appreciates the clarifications.

Black Alliance of Thurston County Celebrates Work, Progress

Sat, 11/05/2016 - 7:24pm

Above: Dr. Karen Johnson, center, acknowledged the collective power of many individuals at the second annual founding celebration of the Black Alliance of Thurston County at Risen Faith Fellowship Church on Saturday afternoon. Left to right: Nat Jackson, Dr. Thelma Jackson, Barbara Clarkson (hidden behind Johnson), Rev. Charlotte Petty, Clinton Petty, Crystal Chaplin, Andre Thompson, and, standing with the assistance of a walker, Bryson Chaplin.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
Community singing, thoughtful commentary, powerful testimony, and good food was plentiful at the second annual Black Alliance of Thurston County founding celebration at Risen Faith Fellowship Church on Saturday afternoon.
“It doesn’t take an awful lot of people to get a lot of work accomplished, but it does take a lot of heart,” said Dr. Karen Johnson, chair of the Alliance, who served as mistress of ceremonies for the event.
While the westside shooting of two, young African Americans, Andre Thompson and Bryson Chaplin, by an Olympia police officer in May 2015 was the catalyst for the group's formation, their work with law enforcement and the community has taken on a life of its own with a lot of effort and hard work by many individuals.
Special awards were given to Kathy Baros Friedt and Leslie Cushman, for their efforts organizing the Olympia Coalition for the Reform of Deadly Force Laws, the YWCA of Olympia’s Stand Against Racism efforts, Senator Karen Fraser and Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts, and Olympia High School’s African American Alliance, which has held several conversational meetings about race.
Lacey Police Chief Dusty Pierpoint, who was not in uniform, addressed community questions and concerns about the crisis training and psychological testing of police officers, progress regarding fair and impartial policing, and how training about implicit bias can be effectively measured.
In law enforcement for over 30 years, Pierpoint acknowledged that police officers are dealing with difficult, community issues.
“We, as law enforcement, are being tasked with things we should not be. We are not mental health professionals, we’re not drug addiction professionals, we’re not marital counselors, we’re not homelessness experts, but that is who gets called. We are being tasked with things that the community should be dealing with, and it’s not happening. That’s why 30 percent of our jails hold those with mental illness who do not belong there,” Pierpoint said to a round of applause. 
Pierpoint also gave recent examples in which officers have used de-escalation techniques when responding to a call, but described how those incidents don’t get recognized or acknowledged in the media.
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Erin Jones gave a powerful, personal talk about education and her first experiences with racism, and Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall spoke about voting and the importance of civic engagement. 
Hall assured the audience that vote tabulation is a safe and transparent process in Thurston County and across the country. She said there are nearly 175,000 registered voters in Thurston County, a record high. She also expects an 80 to 85 percent turnout rate in Thurston County. Ballots will start to be scanned on Monday. 
Part of the work of the Black Alliance resulted in the eventual passage of a bill that created the Joint Legislative Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force in Community Policing. That group's final meeting, which will include proposed recommendations to the governor, is November 21, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., John L. O’Brien Building, House Hearing Room A, at the Capitol Campus.
Among other activities, beginning in February 2017, the Black Alliance will collaborate with The Olympia Unitarian Universalist Congregation (OUUC) and The United Churches of Olympia to host a monthly film series and conversations about race. Films will be held the third Thursday of each month, 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., at the OUUC Sanctuary, 2315 Division St. NW, Olympia.
Perhaps the most poignant part of the afternoon, moving some to tears, was witnessing Bryson Chaplin standing, and then walking to the stage with the assistance of a walker, to be recognized with his family. Bryson still has the officer’s bullet lodged near his spine.
“This is a celebration of what faith and love and hope and determination can do,” said Johnson.
“I just want to say he came in a wheelchair, I prayed for him after church….Oh, give thanks up to the Lord for He is good,” praised Rev. Charlotte Petty.
For more photos and information about the Black Alliance of Thurston County, Karen Johnson, the Joint Legislative Task Force on the Use of Deadly Force in Community Policing, the Ad Hoc Committee on Police and Community Relations, Andre Thompson, Bryson Chaplin, and local groups working for racial justice, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand type key words into the search engine.
For more information about the Black Alliance of Thurston County, go to www.blackalliancethurston.org.
Above: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction candidate Erin Jones greets Drs. Sherman and Eve Beverly of Olympia at the second annual founding celebration of the Black Alliance of Thurston County on Saturday afternoon, where Jones gave a powerful, personal talk about education and her first experiences with racism.

Chambers Prairie Grange Rezone Passes Tumwater City Council

Fri, 11/04/2016 - 9:04pm

Above: Long shadows are cast across the Chambers Prairie Grange No. 191 on Thursday morning. The Tumwater City Council passed a rezone for the property, which stands at the crossroads of Yelm Highway and Henderson Boulevard. Owner Tom Schrader is now looking for a suitable local business that will honor the spirit of the rezone, and accommodate a community service in the 106 year old building.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
“Within Grangers, ideas are born, and in the Grange, they become a reality,” reads a slogan in a vintage Washington State Granger’s guide. 
That slogan takes on special meaning now as Tom Schrader moves closer to his dream of converting the vacant 106 year old building into a vibrant place of community once again. 
Schrader and his wife, Tiffany, purchased the property last year and have worked with neighbors to address their concerns regarding its future use and traffic.
City of Tumwater council members passed a comprehensive plan amendment at their October 25 meeting, changing the zoning of the Chamber Prairie Grange, located at 1301 Yelm Highway SE, from single family low density (SFL) to community service (CS).
Under the SFL zoning, the former Grange could have been torn down to build four to seven homes or duplexes, among other uses. The zoning change to community service limits how commercial the site could be developed and protects the property from becoming a gas station, a mini-mart, or a five story commercial building.
Several spoke in support of the rezone, including Dave Nugent, president of The Farm homeowners association, an adjacent subdivision.
Nugent addressed the council, saying The Farm board is so confident in Schrader’s dedication to the Grange’s future that a developer agreement is no longer needed. To determine the project’s impact, Nugent asked for the city's assistance in monitoring traffic patterns before and after completion of the project.
Lloyd Flem of Olympia, a retired professional planner who served on Olympia’s planning committee in the 1990s, said the rezone was a perfect example of adaptive reuse to preserve an important piece of the community’s history.
Schrader announced at the meeting that he and his wife would most likely not sell the property as planned, but select and help manage the business that ends up there.
“We are really happy for everyone - neighbors, friends, family, and community - that we can now do something on that corner that will be a place for the community!” said Schrader after the meeting.
Schrader has tried to garner the interest of local businesses in his idea to convert the building, while retaining its historic character, into a coffee and sandwich shop and meeting place, but has found it to be a tough sell without knowing whether the rezone would pass.
“I have spoken with a lot of local businesses - Batdorf & Bronson, Meconi's, Vic's Pizza, Olympia Coffee Roasters, Budd Bay Cafe, Dancing Goats, Starbucks, Cutter's Point, and Royal Bean Coffee. I have also been contacted by Wendy's, Carl's Jr., Taco Time, and Chipotle too,” says Schrader, who quickly added that he is not interested in those latter fast food businesses.
“There wasn’t much teeth in my sales pitch or delivery before, but now I can move forward,” he said.
Before any further physical change to the building can take place, such as putting on a cedar shake roof, Schrader needs to have a tenant in place, so that changes are made to fit the specific requirements of the new business.
“In the next few weeks, my wife and I will decide the best fit for the property and our community. It's an important corner, and I want to be known as a responsible and sensible person. I want to see people there, and have it be a happy place!”
The Washington State Grange came into existence Sept. 10, 1889 as a protest by farmers against intolerable conditions – against poverty, extortionate taxes, freight rates and mortgage interest, and government control of state government by selfish interests.
The Chambers Prairie Grange, No. 191 Patrons of Husbandry principal place of business was the hall, located on what was then called Route #2 in Thurston County.
According to its nonprofit articles of incorporation, the Grange’s purpose was to “educate along the lines of social, moral, and educational betterment,” and “to inculcate into the minds of the membership the benefits of cooperation.”
Little did Grangers know that decades later, Tom Schrader, with his infectious energy and enthusiasm, would be saving their most treasured asset - their building - to become a place of community, cooperation, and commerce once again.
For more photos, history, and current information about the Chambers Prairie Grange, Tom Schrader, the rezone effort, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand type key words into the search engine. Previous stories are dated November 29, 2015 and May 28, 2016.
Above: Tom Schrader holds a Grange piece of history: an old Olympia Federal Savings and Loan Association check register, found in the Chambers Prairie Grange building after he took ownership of it last year.

Olympians Stand with Standing Rock Water Protectors

Sat, 10/29/2016 - 7:07pm
Above: Benjamin Sitting Bull, Oglala Lakota Sioux, a sixth generation grandson of Sitting Bull, spoke to Olympians in solidarity with Standing Rock Water Protectors on Saturday afternoon in downtown Olympia.
Clothing Donations Accepted in Olympia for Water Protectors

By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
At the southernmost tip of Puget Sound, the direct descendent and grandson of Sitting Bull, Benjamin Sitting Bull, Oglala Lakota Sioux, spoke to Olympians on Saturday afternoon in downtown Olympia.

About 65 people gathered in solidarity with the water protectors blocking the Dakota Access Pipeline route at Standing Rock, North Dakota.

A harbor seal in Budd Inlet approached Percival Landing beneath The Kiss statue near Sitting Bull, also wanting to listen.
Sitting Bull lives in Olympia, and said that he is choosing to raise his two year old daughter, Josephine, here because it is safe and warm. As she sat on a little scooter wearing a monarch butterfly costume, he acknowledged the wide range of emotions community members are feeling about the tense situation at Standing Rock. 
....Those feelings are valid…. That’s why we’re standing up as indigenous people, because we’re called upon. Our grandparents that are no longer living - our elders - have tapped on us and come to us in our dreams and are saying, ‘Get up and say something to the people around you. These songs and these ways that are given to you – put them out in the public right now....’
As her father spoke, Josephine listened. When he began singing a prayer song, she closed her eyes, put her head back, and started bouncing to the beat of his drum.  
Although the protest in Standing Rock continues to be ignored by corporate media, a wide variety of social media sources and Native news sites feed constant, live streaming videos and disturbing updates. Reports of police brutality, including reports of intrusive bodily searches of the protesters, called water protectors, are rising.

The proposed 1,172 mile long pipeline would move 470,000 barrels of domestic crude oil a day through four states and run through the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, threatening water, the environment, and Native American burial and prayer sites.
Law enforcement has escalated their response and have arrested at least 141 protesters. Efforts by journalists to document what is happening is being hampered and criminalized.
A local prosecutor had charged Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! with rioting after her crew filmed an assault on protesters on September 3. A judge threw out the charges against Goodman on October 17.
Documentary producer Deia Schlosberg was arrested for filming protesters who broke into a pipeline valve station near Walhalla, North Dakota on October 11. She was charged with three felony conspiracy counts, and could face as much as 45 years in jail.
The Society of Environmental Journalists wrote law enforcement officials at the state and federal levels on October 19, objecting to the prosecution of journalists who have been covering the protests.
Recent visits by the Reverend Jesse Jackson and actor Mark Ruffalo and others have helped raise awareness of what is transpiring, and several Olympians have traveled there, will travel there, or are there now, experiencing police brutality.
Caro Gonzales of Olympia has been at Standing Rock since August as an organizer for the International Indigenous Youth Council, and was arrested and released on Friday. All her gear has been impounded.
“They snatched me while I was praying…then dragged me to the burial grounds to handcuff me and stomped on my arms till I dropped the tobacco offering and sage. They kept us in dog kennels. We were put in solitary and refused medical attention,” she wrote on social media.
She reports that she was charged with a felony and released. She is currently seeking anyone who may have video of her arrest to prove she was praying while taken away by law enforcement.
Amnesty International USA issued a press release on Friday saying they have sent a delegation of human rights observers to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, to monitor the response of law enforcement to protests by indigenous communities.
AIUSA also has sent a letter to the Morton County Sheriff’s Department expressing concern about the degree of force used against the protesters. The organization will also call on the Department of Justice to investigate police practices. 
Sitting Bull continued:
“....Don’t hold hatred in your heart for those officers (at Standing Rock) because that’s not what we do in the Sun Dance way. I want to say, turn that around on them, just hope that they start looking at their human consciousness that’s been stolen from them…that they may have a spiritual awakening, a personal experience. They might say, ‘What am I doing? What am I doing to this person, this human being that I’m pulling out of prayer, pulling his naked body out of the womb. What am I doing? What am I doing? I can’t do this anymore, for money….’ In that way, he might transition back to those birds, those trees. All the natural things around him might start talking to him again. The birds might say, ‘Hey, come back, come back and talk to us, stop what you’re doing. Let’s live together in hope....
Above: As rain clouds loom, Rebecca Cesspooch, Northern Ute, Nakota, of Olympia addressed the group gathered in Olympia on Saturday.
Lydia Drescher, California Band of Mission Indians, Tongva, of Olympia, has already been to Standing Rock and said she will leave again on November 20 to deliver much needed community donations gathered in Olympia.
There are three locations where individuals can make clothing donations. Although there was an initial abundance of clothing sent to Standing Rock, those items, including tents and teepees, have recently been taken away by law enforcement.
The request is being made now to donate earplugs, goggles, heavy socks, long underwear, gloves, and other warm items that are not too bulky.
A donation box is located at the Westside Co-op at 921 Rogers St. NW, but donations can also be taken to the Eastside Coop at 3111 Pacific Avenue SE. Other donation box locations are at The Longhouse at The Evergreen State College, and Traditions Fair Trade, 300 5th Avenue, in downtown Olympia.
Financial donations made at either branch of the Olympia Food Co-op will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1,000. In addition, the Co-op is asking patrons to “round up” their grocery bill to the nearest dollar or more to donate to the Standing Rock water protectors.  
Above: Rebecca Cesspooch, Northern Ute, Nakota, of Olympia, held an Honor Treaty Rights sign, addressed the group gathered in Olympia on Saturday.
“This is a long fight that has been happening. This fight is old. It never stopped. It’s been going on forever…It’s our turn now to be strong in the way our ancestors have been strong…It is our time to go back to the old ways. Now is the time to reclaim them because the Mother Earth needs you. Your ancestors are singing to you. Now is the time to unite and remember our ways….It will be hard…but we have to be strong. Talk to the land, talk to each other….Pray for accountability, pray for healing, justice, and long term systemic change. Pray. Take the time to remember the sacredness in you and around you. Love yourself unconditionally and love those around you unconditionally, even though we may not agree….Hold compassion in your heart…because that’s the only thing that will keep us strong and get us through this. All my relations….” said Rebecca Cesspooch, Northern Ute, Nakota, of Olympia. 

For more information, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe at www.standingrock.org and is accepting financial donations online that will go toward legal, sanitary, and emergency purposes.

Owls Occupy Old Brewhouse Tower in Tumwater

Thu, 10/27/2016 - 6:16pm

Above: On a tour organized by the Old Brewhouse Foundation in October 2014, City of Tumwater councilmember Tom Oliva, in dark coat, stands on the sixth floor of the Old Brewhouse tower, and looks up at the photographer who is in an upper loft of the tower under the copper roof. Owl droppings litter the floor. It is anticipated that the owls will be relocated before the tower undergoes temporary repairs, window closures, and weatherization this winter.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
Barn owls have occupied Tumwater’s vacant Old Brewhouse tower for years, but they will not rule the roost for much longer.
In a meeting last month of the Tumwater Historic Preservation Commission, commissioners approved, with conditions, a certificate of appropriateness so the city can begin temporary weatherization efforts of the tower.
The 110 year old Old Brewhouse is a historic landmark, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It has been on a watch list by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, and is also in Tumwater's Historic Brewery District.
Obtaining a certificate of appropriateness by the commission ensures that any alteration, demolition, or new construction to the historic site is consistent with the property's character. The step is also necessary to move forward with permitting. 
The commissioners took their time at the September 8 meeting to express concern for the owls, ask extensive questions about the types of materials to be used in repairs and weatherization, the methodology for anchoring a temporary roof, and the appearance of the temporary fixes.
One of the conditions for approval was assurance from staff that they would learn more about the barn owls and figure out how to relocate them before installing a temporary roof and sealing up about 55 windows.
Barn owls are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
After consulting with biologist Michelle Tirhi of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife after the meeting, city staff learned that they must place owl boxes elsewhere on the property in hopes that the owls in the tower will be convinced that they should go elsewhere.
Contacted by Little Hollywood, Tirhi said barn owls often seek out older, seldom used outbuildings for nesting, like barns and old buildings. Barn owls are done nesting for the season and this is a great time to construct and place nest boxes, and then seal them out of their current location.   
The boxes should be installed as close to where the owls currently enter and exit the building. 
Tirhi said she is hopeful the city or volunteers will continue to monitor the boxes so that they can be protected, repaired, or replaced over time, as needed, for the sake of the owls.
The City of Tumwater acquired the tower in an agreement with owner George Heidgerken in May. Heidgerken and his company, Falls Development LLC, owns the 32 acre area around the Old Brewhouse property, roughly bounded by Custer Way to the south, the Deschutes River to the west, Capitol Lake to the north, and the railroad to the east. 
As of this week, there is still no update on the placement of the nesting boxes.
“We’re working with George (Heidgerken) to get permission to install them on site in a variety of locations that are appealing to owls. Then, it will be safe to seal up the Old Brewhouse,” said assistant city administrator and brewery property manager Heidi Behrends Cerniway.
In the meantime, the building continues to deteriorate. In a process called “spalling,” bricks literally fly off the tower, as moisture causes the mortar to expand and contract with weather temperatures, thus dislodging the bricks. 
Behrends Cerniwey told the seven member commission that whenever she visits the site, new bricks are laying on the ground around the tower.
The city hopes to have the temporary protections and weatherization efforts complete by the end of the year.
Above: The southeast corner of the Old Brewhouse tower of the fourth floor shows a dramatic decay of bricks and exposure to the elements.
Regarding the appearance of the repairs, there will be no unsightly blue tarps, but a temporary roof is expected to stay put for one to four years while funding is secured for a permanent roof and window materials.
The windows could be boarded up with plywood from the inside, and perhaps shaped to fit the window, but some windows may have a clear weather resistant material instead, to allow in light. Some may stay open to allow for minimal ventilation. There is no electrical power or heating inside the building.
The city’s consultant, Cardinal Architecture, produced a detailed tower protection and renovation report in May. It estimated that a temporary roof structure would cost about $97,750, and temporary windows and door panels would cost about $21,250.
Because they will be temporary - immediate protections meant to reduce the rate of decay - the city says it will not go through a formal bidding process, and the work will be done with volunteer labor and donated materials.
This was another aspect of significant discussion, as commissioners did not want to find themselves in a situation similar to that of the City of Olympia when it attempted to use the donated services of Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldiers to demolish two blighted buildings on the isthmus in downtown Olympia last year.
One of those organizations donating services is the nonprofit Old Brewhouse Foundation.
Rob Kirkwood, president of the nonprofit, has already built four owl boxes, donated an additional owl box, and provides informal input on how to approach the project and what is needed to be done in terms of professional services.
The City of Tumwater will begin permanent restoration efforts as soon as funds become available through grants, capital giving campaigns, and other sources. The project, when complete, is expected to cost about six million dollars.
So far, the only funding the City of Tumwater has on hand for the tower’s restoration is $14,500, an amount earned from the Conservation Futures fund for trail easements that will be donated back to the city. Another $288,000 is coming through the city’s lodging tax funds.
“We’ve been doing our homework about a capital campaign, and working on a funding strategy to raise private and foundation dollars as a match for state grants such as the Heritage Capital Project Fund (HCPF). We did apply for a HCPF grant of $500,000 for the 2017-2019 biennium, but it requires a match of two to one to begin the first phase of restoration,” said Behrends Cerniway.
Above: Local naturalist Nancy Partlow of Tumwater holds barn owl pellets on a tour of the Old Brewhouse property and the tower in October 2014. Partlow documents and contributes many of her observations on a local blog, Bees, Birds & Butterflies, at www.olypollinators.blogspot.com and has known about the owls in the tower for many years.
“It's a perfect setup for them, protected, but with open and easy access to prey. Their nests are simply scraped together regurgitated owl pellets, which are the fur and bones left over after the rest of its prey has been digested. Nature's recycling at work, but also an interesting way for owls to raise young, on the remains of their victims,” says Partlow. 
For more interior and exterior pictures and information about the Old Brewhouse, Tumwater, the planned action for the historic property, George Heidgerken, Falls Development LLC, stop work orders, groundwatering monitoring, and other issues related to the property, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.comand type key words into the search engine.
For the benefits of owls in Washington and providing for them, go here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/owls.html
Owl nest box designs:  http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/projects/barnowl.html
Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a page on installing barn owl nest boxes: http://nestwatch.org/learn/all-about-birdhouses/birds/barn-owl/
For more about the Migratory Species Act, go to: https://www.fws.gov/birds/management/managed-species/migratory-bird-treaty-act-protected-species.php


Olympia Sea Level Rise Website Coming Soon

Wed, 10/26/2016 - 9:36pm

Above: When it comes to sea level rise, downtown Olympia is running out of time. Here, the waters of Budd Inlet reach the floorboards of the Olympia Yacht Club office at high tide the morning of March 10, 2016. Luckily, favorable weather conditions created a tide lower than expected, peaking at about 17.4 feet.
Sea Level Rise Language Clarified for Views on 5th Plans
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
In light of a possible redevelopment of downtown Olympia’s nine story “Mistake on the Lake,” also known as the Capitol Center Building or Views on 5th, Little Hollywood checked in earlier this week with City of Olympia's water resources director Andy Haub.
What progress has the Olympia City Council made about sea level rise issues since city staff dropped their sobering report about Olympia's vulnerabilities on the council last February?
The briefing by Haub and other staff last February was so frank, it caused one council member to throw into the conversation the consideration of abandoning downtown.
Council members have been updated on sea level rise issues informally since February, and adopted an ordinance on August 30 to raise finished floor elevations in downtown for new construction. 

Although the council’s Land Use and Environment committee hasn’t been updated on the topic since April, staff updated the city’s Utility Advisory Committee (UAC) on October 6. 

The UAC will be helping the city develop the scope of a sea level rise program plan. One goal will be to develop a formal community plan that prioritizes downtown investments. The city is working on establishing participation with the Port of Olympia and the LOTT Clean Water Alliance and looking at the sea level action plans of San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C.

“We continue to make progress in 2016 and the plan is on schedule to begin in early 2017,” said Haub.

Haub also said that an interactive sea level rise webpage on the city website is scheduled to be up later this week. 

The link will be: www.olympiawa.gov/SeaLevelRise.

“The webpage will include a map of downtown. Folks can select various levels of sea rise and see how it affects downtown, degree of inundation, buildings affected, street impacts, and so forth. It should be helpful,” said Haub.

Above: High tide at Percival Landing earlier this month, with the nine story Capitol Center Building, the proposed Views on 5th, in the background. 
Language Clarified for Views on 5th Plans

The community is in need of a sea level rise primer specific to Olympia. 

Recent verbiage used by staff in a meeting to describe how the proposed Views on 5th project must be raised to 16 feet, for example, caused confusion for readers of Little Hollywood.  Admittedly, Little Hollywood didn’t do a good job of explaining that the reference didn't mean 16 feet above the street, and added a note of clarification to the story.

Developer Ken Brogan showed city staff his preliminary plans to redevelop the nine story building and a nearby one story building at last Wednesday’s Site Plan Review Committee meeting. The one story building would be converted to a three story building. 
The elevation reference was in relation to mean sea level, and in the case of the vacant nine story building bordered by 4th Avenue and 5th Avenue, and Simmons Street and Sylvester Street near the Heritage Park Fountain, the sidewalk is 12 feet above sea level. This means the project would need to accommodate a four foot sea level rise.

This analysis is in keeping with the city’s projection of about four to eight feet of sea level rise in downtown Olympia by 2100. 
“....The construction of the project must be designed so that the lowest occupied floor is raised to 16 feet elevation. Alternatively, the applicant can dry flood proof the exterior walls to ensure flood proofing is accomplished with barriers or panels that close entrances, should there be a flooding event,” said Tim Smith, principal planner for the City of Olympia, in an email to Little Hollywood.

The 16 foot elevation is an incremental step toward preparing the city for sea level rise and adds one foot to the minimum finished floor elevation required by the current flood prevention ordinance for properties within Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) mapped flood hazard areas. This would be two feet above FEMA’s coastal flood elevation, 14 feet, for downtown.
Parking is proposed under the new one story building, but not three stories. Smith says there is about a six foot differential shown on Brogan’s preliminary plans with regard to the lowest parking floor elevation.
“Staff believes it is very possible to design a foundation or other structure so that it is impermeable to water intrusion and the effects of buoyancy. The design for these considerations will be addressed and calculations performed by the soils and structural engineers based on the conditions and as these elements come together,” said Smith earlier this week.
“If water were to infiltrate or seep into the area, pumps could be used to remove the water. We see this often on a much smaller scale when we have a sump pump in a basement or subterranean garage with a hillside condition that may have a water infiltration issue.”


Above: The Oyster House restaurant prepared for the high tide on March 10, 2016 with a wooden barrier and a few sandbags.
Downtown Strategy
Many other downtown issues are ongoing through processes that have separate timelines and decision tracks.
Another city sponsored Downtown Strategy open house will be held on Saturday, October 29, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, at the Olympia Center at 222 Columbia Street NW in downtown Olympia.
The public can review proposed actions related to housing, transportation, business, and urban design. Staff will ask participants about their priorities for what should be the most immediate actions the city should take within the six year implementation period.
A final draft report will be released later this year, leading to its adoption by the city council by the end of 2016.
“As we mapped and evaluated the downtown land uses, we were struck by how much critical infrastructure and how many emergency transportation corridors are encompassed by our relatively small downtown. 

“We all concluded that downtown needed to be protected in its entirety, or not at all. It’s all or nothing,” explains a descriptive flyer produced by the city for the Downtown Strategy process.
For more photos and information about the staff report to council in February, sea level rise, king tides, and flooding issues in downtown Olympia, Andy Haub, the Downtown Strategy, and more, go to Little Hollywood, www.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com and type key words into the search engine.
For more information about the Downtown Strategy, contact Amy Buckler, Senior Planner, City of Olympia, at (360) 570-5847 or dts@ci.olympia.wa.us
A full description of the Dowtown Strategy goals and process can be found at http://olympiawa.gov/community/downtown-olympia/downtown-strategy


Above: Ryan Kang, general manager of The Governor Hotel, speaks with his tablemates at a Downtown Strategy meeting for developers and businesses on April 28, 2016 in city council chambers. Other businesses at his table represented the Port of Olympia, Ron Thomas Architects, Big Rock Capital, Olympia Federal Savings, Petworks, Prime Locations, Rants Group, and Adroit Contractors. 

New Plans for Olympia’s “Mistake on the Lake:” Residential, Restaurant, Gym, Pool

Wed, 10/19/2016 - 9:55pm

Above: Looking north from the switchback trail on the State Capitol Campus toward downtown Olympia, Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains, a vacant, nine story building stands in the middle of the view. Local developer Ken Brogan says he is under contract to purchase the former office building and proposes to redevelop it into a mixed use residential apartment complex.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
Ken Brogan soon hopes to be the new owner of the nine story building in downtown Olympia, best known by critics as The Mistake on the Lake, and has a full set of plans for it. 

Others have been working for years toward its possible demolition to restore the original, open scenic view north to Budd Inlet and the Olympic Mountains.
Brogan met with city staff on Wednesday morning to discuss redevelopment of the two parcel site, which includes the nine story building and another vacant, one story building. 

The nine story building is also known as the Capitol Center Building, and The Views on 5th.

The proposed development would convert the nine story building to a mixed use project containing 136 apartment units, and a 6,364 square foot restaurant and café. 

The one story building nearby would be rebuilt into a new three story structure with an underground parking structure for residents, administrative offices, a rooftop swimming pool, and a fitness gym along the frontage of 4th Avenue, which would be open to the public.  It is uncertain if the pool would be open to the public.

The parcels are bounded by 4th Avenue West, 5th Avenue SW, Simmons Street SW, just south of Bayview Market, and Sylvester St. SW, which is next to the Heritage Park Fountain.
Built in 1965 and vacant for over ten years, the blighted nine story building has had a long and tortuous history, and at this rate, despite its location, is old enough to be of interest to historic preservationists for its mid-century architecture.
Homeless individuals currently sleep in and around the buildings and windows are often broken. Brogan, who has not yet taken ownership of the property, said that he and his team spend “everyday” trying to figure out what to do about the situation.
Above: Local developer Ken Brogan speaks with City of Olympia building official Todd Cunningham on Wednesday morning.
Nicole Floyd, city senior planner and manager for the project, led the discussion among key staff who took turns asking high level, clarifying questions, discussing codes, requirements, and concerns involving building, engineering, fire, urban forestry, and public works standards. 

Brogan submitted his plans to the city on September 28 and has not yet filed a land use application.
Among other comments, staff said a traffic impact analysis would be required, and the project would need to conform to the new Low Impact Development standards that will take effect December 1. Brogan said he anticipates submitting an application after that date and would comply with all current standards.
Staff expressed subtle and not so subtle enthusiasm about the project.
“It’s an exciting project, and an opportunity to clean up the area down there,” started city building official Todd Cunningham, who also admitted that the project was a complicated one. 
The building's height is non-conforming and is grandfathered into an area that has a current height limit of 35 feet, however, the structure cannot be enlarged or expanded in size.
There will be opportunities for public involvement throughout the land use process, which will start with a neighborhood meeting after Brogan submits a land use application. The project will be subject to State Environmental Policy Act review, which will be led by city senior planner Cari Hornbein.
Causing confusion for some is the fact that previously submitted plans for the building to be converted into a hotel are vested.

“The previous land use approval was for a hotel, which is still vested. That means an applicant can move forward with building permits to convert the existing building to a hotel. The new proposal is not vested. The applicant must file a new land use review application which must be approved by the city before building permits can be issued and the project constructed,” explained Tim Smith, principal planner for the City of Olympia, after the meeting.
The area is zoned Waterfront Urban – Housing. Smith says that no portion of the property is within shoreline jurisdiction.
Above: Waterfront indeed. A relatively tame storm surge from Budd Inlet spilled over onto Sylvester Street in downtown Olympia in March 2016, reaching 4th Avenue and the Oyster House restaurant. The nine story Capitol Center Building and another vacant building proposed to be redeveloped are in the flood zone. City officials told developer Ken Brogan on Wednesday that he will have to plan to accommodate a 16 foot sea level rise.
Jerry Reilly, chair of the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, attended Wednesday’s meeting.
In an interview with Little Hollywood, Reilly praised the city’s purchase and demolition of two nearby, blighted buildings, in its effort toward the creation of a great civic space on the isthmus.
He is also pleased with the passage of last year’s ballot measure to create the city’s Metropolitan Park District that enabled the city’s purchase of Kaiser Heights, a wooded parcel near Ken Lake, and the LBA Woods. However, Reilly said he would like to remind councilmembers that a leading argument for the MPD’s passage was to also make more feasible the removal of the nine story building.
“Eleven months have gone by since over 60 percent of Olympia voters approved the creation of the Metropolitan Park District. One of the key selling points of the MPD was its potential to make more likely the removal of the Capitol Center Building.

“We may be on the verge of an historic missed opportunity to purchase and remove this building. The building is now at the bottom of its market value. The question now, most often heard from people regarding this building is, ‘Why was it allowed to be built in the first place?’  The question in the future may be, “Why didn't we remove it when we had the chance?
“The people of Olympia intensely dislike this building. They have told us this on many occasions, through an initiative signed by nearly 5,000 registered voters, a Trust for Public Lands poll, the Elway poll, and the positive vote for the MPD. If redevelopment proceeds, we will endure this Mistake on the Lake for another fifty years. Time is running out,” said Reilly.
As for Brogan’s designs, Reilly called them “interesting,” but questioned why he would want to remodel a building built on fill in a floodplain susceptible to liquefaction.
Little Hollywood’s attempts to speak with Brogan were somewhat unsuccessful.
After asking Brogan a few questions, he discontinued speaking with Little Hollywood after twice asking, “Do you support the project or are you opposed to the project?” Further conversation was apparently conditional on my response.
Little Hollywood responded, “If you read my writing, I try to be fair and offer new perspectives. I have fans on both sides of the issue. I tend to stick to the facts and let other people’s comments provide balance,” and suggested he read my articles.
Brogan did say that he thinks the nearby 123 4thAvenue building is a big compliment to downtown Olympia, and if given the opportunity to pursue his project, he would use local contractors.
Above: The interior of the Capitol Center Building is fully gutted. The windows on the first floor are often broken and a source of easy entry into the building.

For more interior photos and information about the Capitol Center Building, aka The Mistake on the Lake or The Views on 5th, hotel plans, the isthmus, scenic views, Jerry Reilly, the Olympia Capitol Park Foundation, the city’s Downtown Strategy, king tides and sea level rise, go to Little Hollywood and type key words into the search button. 
Story Clarifications, October 20: The original article made it sound like the underground garage would be under the nine story building. It would be beside it, as part of the three story building. Also, in preparation for sea level rise to 16 feet, the elevation is in relation to mean sea level, and the sidewalk at that location is about 12 feet.

Needed Repairs Overdue At Our National Parks

Thu, 10/13/2016 - 10:41am

Above: Over 20 members from the Olympia, Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett chapters of The Mountaineers volunteered their time for several hours on Mt. Rainier National Park’s Paradise area trails last Saturday. The group used shovels and brooms to reclaim edges of paved trails covered with mud and gravel, took out rebar and rope guidelines along meadow trails, and placed erosion control checks along the newly repaved Skyline Trail.
By Janine Gateswww.janineslittlehollywood.blogspot.com
While blizzard-like conditions swirled high on the Muir snowfields at Mt. Rainier National Park, over 20 members of the Olympia, Seattle, Tacoma, and Everett chapters of The Mountaineers worked several hours on trail maintenance at 5,420 feet last Saturday.
Under the direction of National Park Service trail maintenance staff Kevin Watson and Kenny Allen, the group finished the day by placing erosion control rocks and fill at regular intervals, about every four feet, along the steep, newly repaved Skyline Trail.
The rocks, called checks, if angled properly, help water flow in neat rivulets over, not under, the pavement, which would cause unintended erosion and unwanted culverts.
Just as their work was done, the rain started pouring and the checks quickly demonstrated their purpose. The Mountaineers cheered, satisfied that their efforts were effective.
“Burying the checks is one of the most time-consuming projects,” said Allen, who helped supervise the volunteers with good humor. After years of volunteering at projects along the Columbia River Gorge, this was his first season as a National Park Service trail maintenance crew member. 
Allen said more fill will be placed along the trail within a couple of weeks.
Above: Newly installed checks and fall colors on the Skyline Trail above the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center at Paradise, Mt. Rainier National Park.
If only tackling Mt. Rainier National Park’s list of deferred maintenance projects was so easy.
The National Park System celebrated its centennial in 2016 with lots of well-deserved praise and 307 million visits last year, but with increasingly unreliable funding from the U.S. Congress, all eyes are now on the next 100 years.
It would appear that H.R. 3556, the National Park Service Centennial Act introduced last year, is stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives this 114th Session, and with it, hopes of securing funding to finance, preserve, and maintain access and public safety at the park system's 413 sites.
With 10,000 miles of roads, 18,000 miles of trails, 1,500 bridges, and more than 60 tunnels, the National Park System is $12 billion in the hole in deferred maintenance projects, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts.
Deferred maintenance is the cost of maintenance which was not performed for at least a year from when it should have been or was scheduled to be.
Of the $12 billion, nearly six billion is transportation related, with $2.4 billion considered to be critical, high priority repairs for roads, bridges, trails, wastewater treatment and electric systems, and historical buildings, among other assets.
“Our national parks are a proven economic generator - $16 billion. These deferred maintenance projects are more than just a broken park bench,” said Marcia Argust, director, of Restore America’s Park, a dedicated program of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Argust briefed members of the Society for Environmental Journalists on the topic last month in Sacramento.
Above: Half-Dome at Yosemite National Park. Yosemite has $560 million in deferred maintenance projects, with more than $271 million related to access and transportation. According to the National Park Service, for every dollar invested in the NPS, $10 is returned to cities and towns. Park visitors spent an estimated $16.9 billion in gateway communities in 2015, supporting 295,300 jobs and $32 billion in economic activity nationwide.
Based on the park system's 2015 fiscal year numbers which were released in February 2016, Pew is creating 45 deferred maintenance case studies, including one on Washington State’s Mt. Rainier National Park. 
Using the park's numbers and asset categories, Mt. Rainier National Park has nearly $287 million in deferred maintenance costs - $286,949,885 to be exact.
With current boundaries at over 236 million acres, most of Mt. Rainier National Park's costs are, by far, for paved roads, about $194.9 million, followed by buildings, road bridges, electrical systems, trails, parking lots, landscaping, and water and wastewater systems. The park was established in 1899.
The last push to improve our national park system was during the creation of the National Highway system and the Mission 66 project after WWII. Congress gave money for facilities after huge lines for bathrooms and other inadequate assets resulted in public outcry.
Congress has the responsibility to provide safe national parks, and Pew is working to obtain dedicated annual funding through the Highway Trust Fund, $268 million a year, to address the park’s transportation issues. It is a fund reviewed every five years. It is also looking for policy reforms to prevent the backlog from escalating.
“People have expressed concerns about logos added to Mt. Rushmore, but there are more realistic options for private/public partnerships. We’d like to see corporations donate time and technology,” said Argust.
The site in need of the most finances for repairs is the National Mall, which needs an estimated $900 million. The Memorial Bridge in Arlington needs an estimated $250 million.
The worst case scenario is a total loss of access to a national park, monument, or site due to deferred maintenance and public safety issues.
The Atlanta birth home of Martin Luther King, Jr. was closed in August for floorboard and structural issues. The house was built in 1895 and it is unclear when the repairs will be completed.
Above: California’s Kings Canyon National Park visitor area at Grant Cove. The asphalt sidewalks and paths are in such disrepair that staff offer to assist park visitors and their luggage to cabins using golf carts. The total for Sequoia and Kings Canyon deferred maintenance projects is $162 million.