Letters to the Editor

Missing Middle is good for environment, communities, and schools

As current homeowners and past renters, we’re concerned about the lack of housing and issues of affordability in our town. The Missing Middle proposals will make our community more livable for the many types of folks who make Olympia great.

Many of the things we all love about Olympia — our beautiful natural spaces, artistic dynamism, entrepreneurial spirit, and high levels of civic engagement — rely on the energy and creativity of diverse communities. Over the past 10 years, we’ve see the rental market get tighter and tighter in our neighborhoods. Rents are too high, student rentals have turned into single-family homes, and our housing options haven’t kept pace with growth.

We can’t let unwarranted prejudice against renters or fears about people of diverse incomes changing the character of our neighborhoods win the day. This will only increase sprawl and further degrade our environment by expanding outside the urban growth boundary and off transit lines. We should respond to these housing trends by creating more flexibility in our neighborhoods for tiny homes, multi-family units, and ADUs.

We’ve long been supporters of more dense neighborhoods. And though the Olympia School Board does not have an official position on these proposals, as school board members, we’re personally even more convinced that diverse housing is essential to the health of our communities and schools. Our college students, new educators, elder school volunteers, and single-parent families need affordable housing, and we all benefit if they continue to call Olympia home.