Government for the people: solidarity rally, Cornwall landfill, Cherry Point occupy local officials during the week ending June 12

Estimates for attendance at the Peaceful Solidarity Rally in Bellingham on June 6 ranged from 5,000 to 7,000. City of Bellingham officials at the council’s June 6 meeting acknowledged the work of organizers and thanked attendees who came to listen, learn and show support. (Amy Nelson photo © 2020)

By Mike Sato

Bellingham City Council

Solidarity rally: City officials praised organizers and participants of Bellingham’s Peaceful Solidarity Rally on June 6 at Maritime Heritage Park.

Police chief David Doll told the council that the department is reviewing its use of force policy, civilian oversight, and issues related to armed civilians in downtown. He said use-of-force statistics and policy are online at the city’s website and that he would provide an analysis of the use-of-force policy to the council.

Councilmember Hannah Stone said she would like to bring to the council an initiative discussed last August called Join Hands Against Hate which was aimed at condemning acts of violence against minorities and people of color in the community. She also would like council consideration of an ombudsperson program as part of the city council to assist with the complaint process.

Central Library: Tiger Construction submitted the lowest bid of $1,413,879.60 and was awarded the contract for the Library Central Branch Remodel and Renovation Project. The council also passed an ordinance to increase the project budget total to $2,350,000 to include painting and carpeting and improved climate actions (LED lights and window improvement.)

Climate policy: The city’s Climate Policy Approval Process moved forward with city staff presenting the first and second tier filtering results that reduced 145 items to 14 items based on legislative, funding, and planning factors, as well as an estimation on return on investment. Ten items from the areas of energy efficiency, transportation, renewable energy, and land use are proposed for Tier 1 and four items for Tier 2. Analysis will begin on Tier 1 items and further research conducted on Tier 2 items. The full staff presentation can be viewed here.

Bellingham planning: The Planning Commission will have its first meeting since early January on June 18 at 7 p.m. for board training, including an overview of roles and responsibilities in review of development permits like the upcoming Cityview Apartment project. Commission members are Ali Taysi, Mike Estes, Steve Crooks, Phyllis McKee, Scott Jones, and Makenzie Graham. Links to view the virtual meeting are found here.

More of the summary of the June 8 city council meeting is at this link. The Bellingham City Council will meet again on June 22.

— Port of Bellingham Commission

Cornwall Avenue landfill: The City of Bellingham has requested that the Port of Bellingham increase the estimated effect of sea level rise from 29 inches to 50 inches in the preliminary engineering design for the cleanup of the Cornwall Avenue Landfill site. Port commissioners at their next meeting on June 16 will vote to authorize its executive director to enter into an interlocal agreement to charge the city $62,000.

To participate or view the commission meeting on June 16, click here.

— Whatcom County Council

Cherry Point: The June 2 virtual public hearing on the interim moratorium on new or expanded facilities for shipment of fossil fuels drew comments on the proposed ordinance from 44 people.  After numerous motions by councilmembers to amend the ordinance failed by 3 to 4 votes, the ordinance was passed on a 4-3 vote and the moratorium was extended for another six months.

South Fork Trail Park Connector Trail: The council at its June 16 meeting is asked to approve a resolution allowing Whatcom County Parks and Recreation to apply to the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office for a $500,000 grant. The proposed project will construct a five-mile multi-use trail at South Fork Park, near the town of Acme.

The trail would connect a newly constructed trailhead located at the historic Galbraith Farm to Overby Farm and Nesset Farm, all historic homestead properties of the South Fork community. It would offer hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians a truly unique trail experience, planners say. All of the county-owned properties have long histories, beginning with indigenous peoples’ use of the area from thousands of years ago to non-native settlement beginning in the early 1800s. To highlight this history, and current land management efforts occurring in the South Fork Valley, interpretive elements would be integral to the trail experience.

The county council will next meet on June 16. Committees meet at 9:30 a.m. and the council as a whole at 6 p.m. Instructions on how to participate or view are here.