HOMELESSNESS

Lacey City Council shares their concerns on the Martin Way RV proposal

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During yesterday’s work session, the Lacey City Council expressed their concerns about the proposed transfer of recreational vehicles  (RVs) from Ensign Rd. next to Providence St. PeterHospital to Carpenter Road on the edge of Lacey.

In a draft letter to Thurston County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), the city council shared their expectations for the proposed relocation.  While the site is outside of the city limits, Lacey made it clear that they wanted the county to ensure that the following measures are taken:

  • The location must have security, on-site services, and case management
  • Existing jurisdictions must strictly enforce rules on public property to prevent environmental degradation
  • Camping ordinances within Thurston County must be uniformly implemented
  • Private properties must be protected from trespassing
  • The county must collaborate with the state to enforce interstate right-of-way from unsafe encampments.

The proposal includes the relocation of 20 vehicles and is considered a temporary measure to help clear up the parking spaces for hospital staff and medical providers.   

In the discussion, Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder explained that the letter was intended to share the city’s expectations for the proposed relocation. “It is important that we start to outline not only to Thurston County but to our regional partners as well, what Lacey’s philosophy is when it comes to dealing with our homeless population and what Lacey expects going forward.”

City Manager Scott Spence added that providing “on-site services are important if we are going to provide a temporary and a safe area, we need to have services like counseling if there is [a] need for drug or mental-health access services.”

Ryder also recognized that providing these services is costly. However, Councilmember Lenny Greenstein said that while it might be more expensive upfront, it is still necessary to provide a long-term solution. The mayor agreed, “I want to do it right than to do it cheap.”

Since the location is outside of the city limits, Spence is unsure whether the Lacey Police Department can respond to emergency calls there. However, he believed that it is necessary to ensure that proper security measures are taken.

In addition, the council members agreed that it is necessary for jurisdictions to strictly enforce existing rules and ordinances. The city manager believed that without proper law enforcement, “we are back to square one.” Councilmember Carolyn Cox also suggested that  the city of Olympia must enforce parking rules along Ensign Road.

Councilmember Cynthia Pratt agreed. She added that it’s not just Olympia, but it should be a joint effort of the entire region to enforce the law consistently, “otherwise we’re just shuffling people from one section to another.” 

The city was originally scheduled to host a town hall on Thu., Oct. 14 regarding the proposed RV relocation. While the event was postponed, the city staff has yet to announce a new date for the town hall.

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  • DalePutnam

    The conditions Lacey wants the county to agree to appear reasonable. Will be interesting to see if Olympia will agree to them.

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