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    Meet Nathaniel

    8BB8B780-26A1-40F7-A413-0ABE8396B472.jpegNathaniel Jones joined the Olympia City Council in 2012 and has served as Mayor Pro Tem from 2012 through 2018. He is Chair of the Thurston Regional Planning Council, and past-Chair of InterCity Transit.  Nathaniel holds a seat on the Thurston Economic Development Council and the Thurston Thrives Coordinating Council. He has lived around the country and around the world.

    Nathaniel’s wife, Kathleen is a Nurse Practitioner with Kaiser Permanente, who has delivered thousands of babies and supported new fledgling families in our community.  Kathleen and Nathaniel moved to Olympia in 1991 and raised two daughters in local public schools.

    With graduate training in Community and Regional Planning, Nathaniel’s professional career has included leadership positions in public and non-profit agencies involved with community development, public transportation, and public facilities. He has recently retired from state service after managing the infrastructure of the State Capitol Campus for many years.  

    In 2017, after six fruitful years, Nathaniel stepped down from the Board of South Sound Habitat for Humanity. And it was in 2017 that he led the successful campaign to expand public safety services in Olympia. Nathaniel is a member of the five-state Safe Energy Leadership Alliance, which shapes public policy for the transport and use of fossil fuels in the northwest, and he has led economic development efforts throughout Olympia.

    Professional Background –

    Transportation Planner
    Development Director for Seven-County Non-Profit Agency
    Capital Program Director for Public Agency
    Infrastructure Manager for State Capitol Campus

    Civic Involvement –

    Chair, Thurston Regional Planning Council
    Member, Olympia Council Land Use & Environment Committee
    President, Olympia Transportation Benefit Board
    Member, Thurston Thrives Coordinating Council
    Member, Thurston Economic Development Council
    Member, Thurston Urban Growth Management Committee
    Olympia Council Liaison to Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee
    Member, Safe Energy Leadership Alliance
    Olympia Mayor Pro Tem (2012-2018)
    Member, Olympia Council Finance Committee (former)
    Chair, InterCity Transit Board (former)
    Chair, Olympia Revitalization Committee (former)
    Olympia Council Liaison to Heritage Commission (former)

    Accomplishments –

    • Passed Public Safety Levy and launched Police
      Crisis Response Unit and Neighborhood Liaison Officers
    • Launched Police Walking Patrol, Ambassadors, and Clean Team in Downtown
    • Comprehensive Plan for Olympia completed
    • Friendly parking meters installed Downtown with pay-by-phone and expiration alert
    • Economic Development Director hired and set to work
    • Cleanup of derelict isthmus properties completed
    • Chehalis-Western Trail completed – missing link now connected
    • 500 units of new market-rate Downtown housing completed and more underway
    • Neighborhood matching grants getting results
    • “Olympia on Ice” and Pump Track demonstrations are smashing success
    • Launched Office of Performance and Innovation
    • Additional shelter beds opened and working well, including Pear Blossom Place and expanded Salvation Army
    • Percival Landing rebuilt and new boat moorage added
    • Sunrise Park and Decatur Woods Park renewed
    • Sustainable Thurston plan adopted
    • Washington Center renovated
    • Passed Home Fund ballot measure to construct supportive housing
    • Opened Plum Street tiny home village
    • Opened homeless mitigation site at Thurston Avenue and Franklin
    • Launched faith community tiny home project
    • New drinking water source flowing
    • West Bay and 22nd Avenue sidewalks completed
    • Municipal Arts Plan adopted
    • Shoreline Master Program completed
    • Adopted rules to encourage in-fill housing
    • 22nd Avenue & Boulevard Road round-about completed
    • Morse Merryman Road & Boulevard Road round-about completed
    • LED streetlights saving money and saving energy
    • New fire engine delivered
    • Joint Sea Level Rise Plan completed
    • Transportation Master Plan launched
    • Added solar panels to Library
    • LBA Woods Park, Kaiser Heights Park, and Zahn park properties acquired
    • West Bay heron rookery protected
    • State Avenue and 5th Avenue reconstructed Downtown
    • Development review process streamlined
    • Alley lights and murals installed
    • and much more
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  • Latest from the blog

    A strategy begins by connecting good ideas

    Olympia Mayoral Candidate Nathaniel Jones is calling for a set of actions to boldly reduce homelessness.  He says that current response efforts are weak and inadequate, and are not making progress against homelessness.  These views align with those of Congressman Denny Heck, who recently commented on homelessness by saying, “Regardless of your political views, we must face the facts, what we are doing is not working.'' New direction is needed if we expect to respond effectively.   Jones has produced a set of action plans to reduce the growing number of homeless people and families in our community. He has drawn upon the successful experience of towns around the country to propose a series of new strategies- because what we’ve been doing is simply not working.  These strategies, along with a new regional mitigation site, set a new direction for ending homelessness as we know it. Last week Jones committed to Olympia joining the ‘Built for Zero’ movement, which is transforming communities around the country and actually ending chronic homelessness. “The current lack of coordination and performance measures in local services needs to be addressed. Built for Zero,” says Jones, “Is exactly what we need.  I strongly advocate for this model because it will bring results.” After learning of the State’s first Safe Station for opioid treatment, Jones found wide support for a low-cost approach to expand access to treatment.  Substance abuse is just one of the many causes of homelessness. “With greater access to outpatient treatment, we can achieve real results,” Jones said. Generally, we pay for a product or service when it is delivered.  But our current homeless response services do not operate this way. Paying for Success just makes sense- This week, Jones announced support for a 2020 pilot project to invest in organizations that can achieve specific outcomes - moving people from homelessness into housing.  Instead of paying for a set of services, we pay for results. Some suggest that outreach to homeless people is best achieved with a police presence.  This is just not the case. Our neighbors without homes often live in fear of being discovered, evicted, or worse. Authority-based outreach doesn’t work to foster a positive connection and move people back into the community.  Reaching people where they are, and eliminating fear, will work. In the past, Olympia’s outreach workers paved the way for this. “Now we must support ‘Alternative Outreach’ as our most effective tool, says Jones.   Finally, Nathaniel Jones recognizes a simple fact-  Winter is coming. We have less shelter beds in place now than one year ago. Proposed renovations and expansions have not happened, resulting in significant reductions.  We have less beds available, and many more people in need. We must act now to partner and open a daytime warming center before winter arrives.  Jones says, “These cost-effective actions will turn the tide on homelessness.  Innovation and building on the success of others will deliver an effective response.  Our current direction is more-of-the-same. These strategies bring accountability and clear focus to the single largest problem facing our community.”
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    A Living Wage is a Fundamental Right. A Regular Schedule is Essential for Quality of Life.

    On Wages, Nathaniel Jones says, “As mayor of Olympia, I will do everything in my power to make Olympia’s minimum wage $15.00 by January 1, 2021. For all workers, period.” If this can be done statewide, by working with other Washington cities in the 2020 legislative session, great. If it can be done by partnering in a county-wide approach, outstanding. But if Olympia must go alone, then Jones will introduce legislation to raise the local minimum wage to $15.00 by January 1, 2021. Across the country, 28 million workers are working for a minimum wage. About 25% of them are teens. Most are women. And nearly 30% of them are raising a family. Because of the negative impact of low wages on the local economy, 46 local governments have implemented minimum wage laws. Extensive analysis has shown that higher minimum wages do not reduce employment.  This is the case in Seattle and Tacoma, and across the United States. In Olympia, many jobs are part-time. To make ends meet, workers take on more than one job. Many employers are fantastic and accommodating, making schedules work for employees and for business. Other employers, however, offer short notice on shift changes- this makes working a second job nearly impossible. This is harmful to workers, to productivity, and to families. It must stop. “I will join with others to lobby the legislature in 2020,” says Jones, “Pushing to enact predictive scheduling Statewide. If we do not succeed, I will introduce legislation to be adopted locally.” Our workers deserve better. “With a commitment to predictive schedules and a $15 an hour baseline, we go a long way toward supporting our economy’s most precious resource, our workers,” says Jones. “We must move forward to address economic insecurity now.”
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