The “Jungle” to become Olympia city property

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The Olympia City Council approved the purchase of land on which a homeless encampment has appeared at 3210 Pacific Avenue SE. The city plans to continue to enable camping and provide homeless services to the people living there.

Olympia Assistant City Manager Keith Stahley announced during the regular council meeting last night that the city bought two of the Bourgault properties at $237,000 or $35,111 per acre. The smaller lot measured 1.31 acres, and the other covered 5.44 acres, which totals to 6.75 acres of land area.

The land faces Pacific Avenue and is contiguous with other properties that face Martin Way. Together, several clusters of camps on these properties are known informally as “The Jungle” among its residents and neighbors.

Aside from providing homeless services to the community, the city also plans to use the property to extend Ensign Road, potentially connecting it from Martin Way to Pacific Ave. Under the Olympia Comprehensive Plan, Stahley explained that the proposed connection serves as a commercial collector road to provide residents with easier access to medical facilities as well as ease the traffic congestion from the Lilly Road and Martin Way area.

Stahley shared that the city purchased the property from Bonita J. Bourgault and Cherise E. Tyler, co-trustees of the Paul A. Bourgault Credit Shelter Trust.

In addition, the Assistant City Manager also shared that it had little to no developable area since a substantial part of the property is impacted by the wetlands.

Providing Homeless Assistance

Aside from purchasing property to provide housing solutions, Home Fund Manager Cary Retlin also presented a resolution proposing an inter-local agreement between Thurston County and the city of Olympia. The proposal covers contracts for clean-ups of several homeless camps.

Retlin shared that while these sites were not owned by the city, their primary goal was to ensure the health and safety of folks in the homeless camps. These camps include the area along the Deschutes Parkway, Wheeler Ave., and The Jungle.

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