Agreement with WSDOT Paves Way for Wheeler Avenue Clean-up

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From the City of Olympia

An agreement between the City of Olympia and the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) will allow for the removal of accumulated trash and debris along Wheeler Avenue and enable the City to transition individuals living at the encampments there to sanctioned camping, shelter or housing.

Under the agreement, which passed the Olympia City Council on January 11, the City will coordinate the clean-up of the encampment, provide extended notice to individuals living there and work with case managers to ensure they have time to transition campers to alternative living options. The clean-up project will encompass the WSDOT right of way between Interstate 5 and Wheeler Avenue from Eastside Street SE to Boulevard Road SE.

Once the individuals at the encampments have been transitioned to other living options, the WSDOT will take steps to discourage camping at the site. These measures may include fencing, the removal of brush and timber, and efforts to harden the site through the addition of wood or other debris.

“This agreement is a major step forward in the relationship between the Washington State Department of Transportation and the City of Olympia for managing the impacts of unsheltered individuals living in the state’s I-5 right of way,” said Assistant City Manager Keith Stahley. “This agreement will provide the resources and clarity to allow us to more effectively manage this area while providing alternative options to the individuals living there.”

The City and the WSDOT will coordinate traffic control during the clean-up. Funding for the clean-up and the transitioning of individuals living at the site to other living options will be provided by the WSDOT.

With the City’s approval established, the agreement will go to the WSDOT for final signatures. Once that occurs, the City will prepare the project. Initial estimates have the clean-up starting this spring.

Keith Stahley, Assistant City Manager
City of Olympia

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