Homegrown business leaving town for lack of space?

July 1, 2013 

BOO: NO OFFICE SPACE?

We’re sad that a 45-year-old South Sound business employing 200 people is relocating to Pierce County. Olympia’s own Dr. Angela Bowen founded the Western Institutional Review Board in 1968, making it truly a local enterprise despite being sold in 2007 to East Coast private equity groups.

The company said it could not find suitable commercial space to consolidate its workers spread between two Olympia-area campuses. That’s curious. Olympia and Lacey have been accumulating a glut of vacant office space during the Great Recession, causing commercial rates to plummet and leaving property owners desperate for tenants.

It’s disappointing to lose a large employer for that reason.

YAY: GREEN POWER GRANTS

Tumwater residents can help the city win two $20,000 solar energy grants and do the environment a good turn. To win one of the grants, Tumwater needs at least another 42 homeowners to sign up for Puget Sound Energy’s green power program. That will get them to the required 100 new enrollments – 450 residents are already on the program.

Tumwater is competing with four other cities for a second grant, which goes to the city with the highest percentage of new enrollments. It’s a win-win-win. Homeowners help the environment, the city wins a grant to install solar systems and Tumwater reduces its energy bill.

BOO: DISPARAGING TEACHERS

Shame on state legislator Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas for saying if teachers don’t like their pay, they should look for another job. Nice. She made no intelligent contribution to the debate over fully funding K-12 basic education.

On her Facebook page, Pike also chided teachers for having summers off, Christmas breaks and generous benefit plans. Playing the martyr, she whined that she “chose to work a career in private-sector business so that I could be one of those taxpayers who funds your salaries and benefits.”

What’s most disturbing about Pike’s comments? She serves on the House Education Committee.

YAY: SUMMER CONCERTS

Good weather is ahead of us (where else could it be?). That means Lacey’s 17th annual outdoor concert series is underway at Huntamer Park in Woodland Square Loop. The series features lunchtime and Saturday night performances, as well as Tuesday evening children’s programming. Check out the complete lineup here: theolympian. com/2013/06/24/2596913/outdoor-films-concerts-set-for.html.

YAY: MORE SEEKING JOBS

A rising South Sound unemployment figure would normally indicate a cause for concern. But more people were encouraged to seek employment by several months of a declining unemployment rate, ironically sending the May figure higher. Such a positive outlook could provide a little extra nudge to an improving economy.

It’s helpful, too, that South Sound leaders didn’t overreact to the news that 4,500 troops will be moving out of Joint Base Lewis-Mcchord over the next several years. The reduction comes as deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down, but will leave JBLM with nearly twice as many soldiers stationed here than before the wars.

YAY: IT’S CANADA DAY!

Our Canadian neighbors are celebrating their national holiday today. So let’s toast our northern friends who invented the Stanley Cup, make beer cases large enough to fit hands with mittens and whose elections last only six weeks.

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