Olympia organizer works to improve ‘Missing Middle’ options

On Thursday, Nov. 7, Dani Madrone will be speaking on the panel Making the Case for More Neighbors: Strategies for Passing “Missing Middle” Housing Legislation. Dani has worked on environmental recovery, sustainable transportation, farmland preservation, and climate change. She also hosts a podcast called The Olympia Standard, aimed at improving public discourse in her community.

Dani lives in Olympia, WA, where she works with Olympians for People-Oriented Place on issues related to urban density. In this capacity, she organized support for Missing Middle housing, and an ordinance adopted by the city at the end of 2018. 

For the panel, Dani will share how Olympians for People-Oriented Places supports local housing initiatives. The following is a teaser of her thoughts on the importance of addressing the “Middle Middle.”


Better Conversations Through Engagement

By Dani Madrone

Dani Madrone

Dani Madrone

Have you noticed a theme at public meetings? Those who are most passionate, available, and knowledgeable of the process hold the strongest voice. Many are led to believe that a community is only divided on the issues of the day. But we must remember the largest constituency: those who have yet to be engaged. The “missing middle,” if you will.

In Olympia, the dominant voices on issues of housing have traditionally been those who are opposed. Concerns about views, traffic, and change overshadowed those of scarcity, displacement, and access to opportunity.

Olympians for People-Oriented Places formed to promote positive public engagement on issues of population growth, urban density, and the evolution of our unique identity as a community.

When Olympia turned to Missing Middle housing, we were ready. For two years, we organized to bring a significant part of the community a resounding “yes!”

We formed a group of “unlikely friends” to show common values among those who are often at odds: environmentalists and builders, renters and homeowners, and people across the generation spectrum.

Then we created a message that bridged social, environmental, and economic needs. We brought forward the stories of people who need this type of housing. And we made sure to have fun and build friendships along the way.


Thanks Dani! Be sure to attend Build Small Live Large this November 7th to hear more from the panelists.

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