Council Members lead charge to immediately open emergency shelter in the Garden Room

About 2 hours into the Whatcom County Council’s 1 p.m. meeting for their discussion regarding the possible opening of an emergency shelter, there was a wonderful and compelling public comment from one of our valued community members, that closed with asking the County Council (serving as the Board of Health at the meeting) what they were going to do about keeping people from freezing tonight, not sometime in the future.

Right after her comment Whatcom County Council Member Barry Buchanan spoke: 

“In light of Mr. Louws’s request that if we are going to do some business, that we get this in front of him soon I would like to make a motion.”

He continued:

“I would move that we respectfully request the Administration to open the Garden street, er, the Garden Center Annex room, or shelter, as we follow Bellingham’s decision on the permitting, as soon as possible! And when I say that, I don’t mean let’s put it off till Monday. Let’s open it today if we can. Let’s open it tomorrow morning if we can. Let’s get it open as soon as we can. That’s my motion.” 

Council Member Donovan immediately seconded Council Member Buchanan’s motion. 

Then Council Member Brenner asked if Council Member Buchanan could take a friendly amendment to say, “‘immediately’ and let them figure it out, and let the City figure it out. Not as soon as possible. That’s what we want.” Council Member Buchanan comfirmed, “That’s what we want.” 

All five Council Members deserve big thanks from all of us for what they did in passing that motion during the day today. But I am offering special gratitude to Council Members Buchanan and Brenner for their unswerving focus, despite much opposition from the County Executive office, to propose and amend the motion to open the Garden Room. 

P.S. Garden Room opened at 7 p.m. tonight!

Here’s the link to the audio of the meeting:


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