Olympia's neighborhood associations offer many benefits to residents

Which neighborhood association's boundaries do you live in? Here's a link to the map.


Have you ever wondered if you lived within the boundaries of a neighborhood association in the city of Olympia?

Lots of people don’t realize they are within the boundaries of an RNA (Recognized Neighborhood Association). There are actually more than 30 RNAs in Olympia (some are also HOAs - Homeowners Associations).

Neighborhood associations provide many things, such as an opportunity to meet your neighbors, participating in fun activities or maybe a place to express neighborhood concerns. Most RNAs have a website, Facebook page or sandwich signs that advertise what’s happening in your neighborhood.

The Eastside Neighborhood Association usually has some type of activity happening monthly. In 2023, they did a meet and greet at Beerwerks, a doughnut crawl (like a pub crawl but at our great bakeries such as Twister Donuts, Left Bank Bakery and Oly’s Malasadas), block parties, an annual picnic, a talent show, a speaker on homelessness and an emergency information meeting, to name a few.

The City of Olympia offers the RNAs matching grant opportunities each year. The Eastside RNA has used these for a variety of things such as a mural, tree plantings, a community cider press and materials to make sandwich boards for advertisement of meetings and events.

Neighborhoods also give back to the City. For example, the Eastside RNA realized the military was going to sell the Armory and went to the city council to give them this information and suggested acquiring it for the benefit of the community. The council then started the process of purchasing the Armory for Olympia’s citizens and the art community. As the city recognizes, vital and active neighborhoods benefit the entire city.

On the City of Olympia’s website, there is a map of all the RNAs and you can see which one you live in. If you find you don’t live in one, anyone in the City or Urban Growth Area can apply to start one. The application is on the City’s website. Just by living within an RNA boundary, you are welcome to participate in RNA activities. You don’t have to pay dues (although RNAs can always use your support). They welcome everyone, whether you rent or own and whether you are low, moderate or high income.

Besides the RNAs, there is a CNA (Council of Neighborhood Associations), which meets monthly with delegates from the RNAs, city staff and usually a city councilperson. The purpose of the CNA is to listen to and discuss presentations about current and future developments within the city and for RNAs to network with other RNAs. This information is then taken back to the people who live in the neighborhoods. It is a great way to stay informed.

Hopefully, your interest has been piqued, and you will check out the RNA you belong to!

Here's a link to that map!

          ~ Karen Sweeney, Olympia 

Editor's Note:   Lacey and Tumwater also have neighborhood associations and we look forward to publishing their stories, too. 

The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not necessarily those of  The JOLT's staff or board of directors.  You're free to post your response, below.  Otherwise, if you have something to say about a topic of interest to Thurston County residents, send it to us and we’ll most likely publish it. See the Contribute your news button at the top of every page. 



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  • BobJacobs

    Well done. Thanks to the author and illustrator.

    We need more neighborhood associations. They make the city more vital.

    Bob Jacobs

    Tuesday, January 2 Report this