Emmett O’Connell has a piece about the possibility of merging Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater. When I lived in North Thurston County, it always seemed like something that ought to happen, but I only lived there for a few years, so not enough to really understand the ins and outs of the local political culture.
Emmett gives some examples of mergers not working and links to another piece about different politics. Fair enough, but the city cultures never felt that distinct to me. I’ve mentioned it before, but here in Seattle when I ride my bike across city lines to, Shoreline or Lake Forest Park for example, it feels like it’s a different city at the border. I’ve had that feeling in New England crossing from a small exurban Mass town to a small exurban New Hampshire town. It never felt that way to me on a bike or a bus going from Olympia to Lacey or Tumwater (I didn’t drive when I lived down there, but being in a car can mute that sort of thing, sometimes).
They seem to be doing fine as three separate cities. But I’ve always though they might do better as one.