In the absence of new leadership, this publication will join the large graveyard of independent local media outlets. In mid-September Editor/Publisher Meta Hogan stated on Olympia Power & Light’s Facebook page that she had “decided to offer the paper — whole or in parts — to whoever wants to continue the work. If you know anyone who might be interested, please have them contact me.”
The seven-year-old paper had described itself as offering “actual local news” but functioned more like a pint-sized Seattle Weekly. In other words, Power & Light wasn’t a community newspaper with boots-on-the-ground reporting like the deceased Olympia News or Janine’s Little Hollywood blog. Instead, Hogan offered a variety of features and commentary mixed in with a few news stories. The editorial voice tilted left-green and championed locally owned small business. Political coverage focused mainly on Olympia proper.
If Power & Light does not come back to life we hope that its archives return to the web because they include superb analysis about Olympia politics by former co-publisher Matthew Green.
Olympia Power & Light –– Free distribution
“The pattern of the results also followed tradition. In Olympia, the most liberal voters live in the neighborhoods close to downtown, especially in the northwest neighborhood around the Olympia Food Co-op, in the northeast around Bigelow Park, and in the South Capitol and Governor Stevens neighborhoods. Ten of Hankins’ twelve best precincts were in these areas. More conservative voters (there are some; Mitt Romney won 25% in Olympia) live in subdivisions further from downtown, especially in the southeast areas around Olympia High School. Hankins’ fourteen worst precincts were all either in the southeast or in other conservative outskirts of the city. In short, unsurprisingly, liberal voters elected liberal candidates.”
— Matthew Green, “Election Analysis, Part II: What Happened in the Olympia City Council Races?” (Dec. 4-17, 2013)
“Much of the focus was on downtown. Developers discussed the higher costs of building there, because the filled soil requires deep piles, and because compact lots require parking garages. ‘It’s difficult to make a pro forma work in our market, with 100 foot piles and structured parking,’ said architect Wells, ‘which is why most of our residential market is three-story walkup with surface parking. We don’t really have the land to do that model in downtown.’ They also said the rents property owners receive in downtown are not as high as in larger cities or nearby malls. Lower rent ‘makes it hard to make things pencil out here,’ said Horn.”
— Matthew Green, “Why did Olympia Planning Commissioners hold secret meetings with developers? And why do they think it’s no big deal? Part 1 of 2” (April 9-22, 2014)