Tumwater seeks renters' voices, below-median income earners, others in shaping comprehensive plan update


Tumwater is looking to include more renters, below-median income earners, BIPOC individuals, and other groups in future public outreach activities in preparation for its 2025 comprehensive plan update.

Planning Manager Brad Medrud briefed the city’s Planning Commission last week about a community survey that identified topics of interest to the community. The survey also sought how community members preferred getting notified about the comprehensive plan update process.

Medrud emphasized that the survey was non-scientific, that city staff didn’t seek specific groups and that anyone was free to respond to the survey by checking the website. The manager also likened the survey to a litmus test to determine which people they are hearing from and whom to reach out to more.

City staff have data from the Thurston Regional Planning Council (TRPC) showing the actual composition of Tumwater so that they can compare the demographics of the survey respondents to the actual makeup of the city.

According to the staff report, 69% of the respondents were homeowners, while only 11% were renters. The remaining percentage answered N/A when asked whether they owned or rented their home. In contrast to data from TRPC, only 58% of Tumwater residents are homeowners, while 42% are renters.


More than half of the respondents earned more than $100,000 per year in terms of household income. The median household income in the city is $77,849, and 62% of residents earned below $100,000 from 2017 to 2021, according to TRPC data.

In terms of race and ethnicity, three-fourths of the respondents identified as White or Caucasian, which reflects TRPC’s data.

Other demographic data of the survey showed that around 42% of the respondents have resided in Tumwater for less than ten years and that 63% were holders of at least a bachelor’s degree.

The report noted that staff have started reaching out to non-profit groups, schools, realtors, renters, and groups to participate in stakeholder discussion as staff develops the housing element of the comprehensive plan. City staff will also try to seek the voices of single individuals with no children, those 18-34 years old, and seniors.


The survey found that among nine pre-selected topics, respondents believed that public safety, housing costs or rent, and homelessness were the most critical issues in the city. The survey also revealed that respondents wanted to comment on affordable housing, economic development, and transportation discussions the most.

The survey also asked for the respondent’s views on the city’s performance, quality of life in Tumwater, and strategies they would like the city to pursue.

The survey was opened in November and closed in February, attracting 975 respondents, an immense improvement from the 120 respondents of a similar survey for the city’s 2015 comprehensive plan update.


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  • FirstOtter

    Does this mean that landlords are not allowed to add their opinion?

    I've been a renter several times, having been military, and owned several homes. When I rented, I cared for the residence as if it were my own. I had no problems, therefore, not once, did I have a landlord refuse to return or keep the damage deposit.

    But when I rented my own home out as I was being transferred to Germany, three families cycled through the house. My manager had to evict the first couple as they split up and the woman refused to pay rent. The second woman, who worked for the WA F&W moved here from Wisconsin, paid the first months rent then refused to pay another sent, because my manager refused to allow her convicted for sexual assault boyfriend to move in without a background check. She also kept her two unhousebroken dogs in the house despite the rule saying no dogs. The woman squatted for six months until she found a house to buy. And she made far more money than I ever hoped to.

    My third set of renters kept the house relatively clean, but tried to change the lease with my manager. while I was still in Germany. They showed her a form they'd forged saying I'd agreed. to them doing a 'rent-to-own' lease. She refused, IT was not and is not for sale. Their reasoning was 'we really like this place." Well, so do I and it's my house, I want to live it in again as I'm now retired.

    So my opinion of most renters is not very good.

    When the government casts landlords as 'greedy' and 'making money off poor people', they 're playing to the public. They refuse to accept that we have to live, too, landlords have to pay property taxes on two homes, not just one, taxes are always going up, maintainence on the proeperty and insurance. Among many other things.

    I bet I'm not the only home owner who rented the home out for whatever reason. I have heard reall horror stories. And it's why I am like so many other landlords these days. I won't ever rent it out again. I'll burn it down before I do that.

    Thursday, April 4 Report this