The Artesian Commons Park has been closed down by Paul Simmons on August 24, 2018. The “No Sit no Lie” ordinances are being more rigorously enforced than usual. We are going to help be one of many moving parts to mobilize community support to reopen the Comma\ons Park and show Olympia City Council and City management where we stand–in favor of people having access to public space and against the displacement and mistreatment of Houseless people, poor people, and the working class.
The Park is widely used by our neighbors and friends who are Houseless. They charge their phones there, they socialize, they can actually sit down without fear of harassment by Olympia City Police. A few people who make trouble or cause a disturbance is NOT a valid reason to close down the Park to everyone.
Read the City’s position on closing the Artesian Commons Park here.
See: Why should we help the Houseless in our community?
Action: Rally to Support Opening Artesian Commons Park on 4th Ave.
When: September 11, Monday
Time: 5:30-9:30 pm
Where: Olympia City Hall
601 4th Ave E
Olympia, WA 98501
5:30 pm: We are going to rally at Percival Landing and march to City Hall.
6:30 pm: We will be at City Hall. There will be a really really free market and free food from food not bombs.
Bring protest signs and banners, come to speak during public comments if you feel inclined to, and support people in favor of reopening the Artesian Commons Park.
Facebook event here.
Action: Bring Usable Items for Houseless at Rally.
Also please bring resources for a really really free market–where people give resources to and take resources from a pile of free stuff. Please bring stuff for the houseless community in particular from clothes, to socks, to tents, to tarps, etc.
Can’t attend on September 11 or want to make your voice heard loud and clear?
Action: Call or Email Olympia City Mayor, City Manager, Parks Director.
Upset about the devestating Houseless crisis in our town and people dying in our streets?
Contact the persons of interest who are making the problems worse by closing the Artesian Commons.
Cheryl Selby, Mayor of Olympia, 360.753.8447 (City Council office); email@example.com
Steve Hall, City Manager; 360.753.8447; firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Simmons | Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Director
360.753.8462 | email@example.com
Jay Burney, Assistant City Manager; 360.753.8740; firstname.lastname@example.org
Kellie Purce Braseth, Strategic Communications Director; 360.753.8361; email@example.com
Susan Grisham, Executive Assistant; 360.753.8244; firstname.lastname@example.org
Connie Cobb, Claims Manager and Records Coordinator; 360.753.8451; email@example.com
Latest News on Houseless Crisis in Olympia:
Just Housing has published this on Facebook on Sept. 7, 2018:
Three National Legal Advocacy Organizations opposing continued encampment sweeps has delivered a letter to the City of Olympia
This morning, The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, Columbia Legal Services, and the Homeless Rights Advocacy Project submitted a joint letter to the city of Olympia urging them to discontinue sweeping encampments from public property without providing people with safe and legal alternatives.
Read the letter here:
Campaign to End Anti-Homeless Security Contracts Launched by Olympia Solidarity Network
Olympia Solidarity Network
September 5th, 2018
The Olympia Solidarity Network (OlySol) has initiated a campaign against downtown Olympia businesses that contract with the private security contract firm, Pacific Coast Security (PCS). PCS operates nightly security patrol services to contracting businesses in an effort to displace and criminalize homeless people using alcoves and alleys as living space. Approximately 30 OlySol members and supporters delivered demand letters to the offices of both Harlequin Productions and Orca Construction/Cooper Realty. The demand letters outlined the unethical nature of the criminalization of homelessness that PCS engages in and calls for an immediate cancellation of all PCS contracts. The demand letter specified that if these businesses do not cancel their contracts within 14 days, further action will be taken. Additionally, approximately two dozen other downtown Olympia businesses that are known to contract with PCS, but aren’t currently being directly targeted in a campaign, were also delivered letters. These letters explained that OlySol was targeting two neighboring businesses and that if other businesses in downtown don’t stop contracting with PCS, any one could be the subject of a new direct action campaign.
Pacific Coast Security is headquartered in Tacoma, WA and provides services throughout the south Puget Sound region. PCS (like other private security forces) is distinct from but complementary to state-operated police departments. PCS guards have the power to trespass people sleeping or sitting in alcoves and alleyways but must call upon Olympia Police Department (OPD) to perform arrests of trespassed individuals. The recent increase in contracts between downtown businesses and Pacific Coast Security has been encouraged and facilitated by the Olympia Downtown Alliance (ODA). ODA is a self-described “business advocacy” organization whose actions constitute a significant political force for gentrification in the city. While ODA doesn’t directly financially subsidize contracts, the group provides technical assistance and other conveniences that incentivize businesses to contract with PCS. Disturbingly, nightly patrols by PCS guards have been effective in driving many homeless people out of the core of downtown and into encampments on the periphery of downtown, or further into the city’s eastern and western neighborhoods. Out of downtown, homeless residents have a harder time accessing necessary services.
The PCS contracts highlight the current contradictory trends regarding responses to homelessness in Olympia. On the one hand, as Olympia gentrifies there is strong pressure from the city government and business owners to displace and criminalize the hundreds of homeless people who call Olympia home. On the other hand, persistent direct action and mutual aid organizing from homeless solidarity activists has forced the city government to concede on some issues. Recently, a relatively progressive city council passed resolutions to open limited legal camping sites and allocate funding for a day center and other services. As minimal as these reforms are, they have provoked outrage among Olympia’s local ruling class, hence business owners increasingly utilizing PCS security services. Moreover, the city government is experiencing internal conflict on the question of homelessness. Many city council members are generally supporting more progressive legislation, while the unelected city manager and other city bureaucrats maintain highly reactionary positions and implement repressive and criminalizing measures. This internal political conflict came to a fore recently when Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Director Paul Simmons made the unilateral decision to shutter the Artesian Commons, a local park and important home and hang-out for street youth in particular. Read more about the park closure decision and resistance to it here: https://itsgoingdown.org/olympia-anger-grows-as-city-comes…/. Finally, these tensions are exacerbated by increasing homelessness in the region, fueled by skyrocketing housing costs, low wages and an erosion of social services.
As conflicts over homelessness and access to public space heighten, OlySol is well equipped to intervene in the broader homeless solidarity movement in Olympia. With a track record of successfully combating stolen deposits, wage theft and refused repairs, a consistent capacity to mobilize community members, and politicize working-class people in the process, OlySol can help advance a viable, direct action-based strategic approach within the movement.
The Olympia Solidarity Network (OlySol) is a volunteer network that uses direct action to combat landlord and employer greed and abuse. We collaborate and organize campaigns with tenants and workers who have specific grievances against their former or current landlords and employers, such as stolen wages or denied deposits. By deploying direct action tactics (be it a picket, poster campaign or office occupation) against abusive landlords and bosses, OlySol can help win relatively immediate housing and workplace improvements for tenants and workers.
If you would like to keep updated on the Pacific Coast Security campaign, get involved in OlySol or want to learn more, please contact us!
Why should we help the Houseless in our community?
The way we treat the most vulnerable and needy shows our kindness or lack of.
The Houseless include military veterans, disabled, abused, women, young people.
Most of our Houseless were born in Western Washington.
What if it was your sister, friend, relative?
Many of the Houseless have unmet medical needs.
It’s the right thing to do.
With half of Americans not able to meet their basic expenses for housing and food, more people will be joining the Houseless.
You would want someone to help if you were in trouble and needed a hand.
They are people, just like you.
Many of the Houseless have left abusive family members or partners.
You have the time and money.
You can make a difference.
It makes you feel good!
The next person may not choose to help. It’s up to you.
Houseless appreciate it and it gives them hope.
Houseless can’t change their lives without you.
Good things happen to you when you do good for others.