Regarding permitted RV encampment parking / Letter to Mayor Seth Fleetwood and Bellingham City Council

Click the screenshot of text from the Fox 13 article, Olympia the first to permit free RV encampment parking on public street.

May 27, 2022 Dena Jensen
Here are a couple quotes from the Fox 13 article, Olympia the first to permit free RV encampment parking on public street.

“Olympia law says if an RV stays in one spot for more than 24 hours, it can be ticketed and towed. A requirement of the Ensign Road permit is for its occupants not to move—unless they plan to leave the area permanently.”

“Kondrat said there is very limited supply of overnight shelter space and services she and her four-person team can offer.

“The permitted parkers can have their sewage tanks pumped out by the city once a month. There will be multiple port-a-potties and dumpsters along the road.”

Below is the email I sent tonight to City of Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood and Bellingham City Council Members:

Sent: Friday, May 27, 2022, 06:56:28 PM PDT

Subject: Regarding permitted RV encampment parking

Dear Mayor Fleetwood and Bellingham City Council:

I am sending along a May 26, 2022 Fox 13 article I just read this morning related to the City of Olympia’s permitting of free RV parking encampment on a street in their City. This approach seems to avoid some of the challenges that have been raised about other types of safe parking arrangements, while providing for more stable temporary shelter than tents. The article provides a number of details about the requirements for permitting and what actions result in permits getting revoked.

It seems that this type of permitting would reduce the need for spending money to destroy structures and belongings of people who, in turn, have to expend resources to replace them. Also, it would be good to assess whether there is potential for making the permitting available to other types of vehicles besides RVs.

Permitted parking encampment would also offer a consistent place for outreach workers and outreach volunteers to contact these community members who are often in need of some of the services that are available locally, while actual shelter or housing is not abundant enough and/or the type of accommodations that some people can access. 

I heard Whatcom County Executive Sidhu, near the beginning of the Whatcom County Council meeting on May 24, 2022, repeat a statement he has made publicly before, that homelessness is not the result of local government policies. However, the current approach to parking enforcement in the City of Bellingham is an example of combined policy and practice that is contributing to many people suffering the shelter they have procured for themselves being constantly under threat or being taken from them, so that they have to scramble to come up with another way to shelter themselves and get critical supplies. 

I call on you to look into permitted parking encampment and other innovative ways that community members can work together to get people in a stable location inside a structure that can withstand the weather, and where those community members can be available for other services until you have ample transitional housing or permanent housing to make available to them. I also call on you to talk to people with lived experience to help yield successful rules and resources that will uphold and sustain permitted parking encampment. 


Dena Jensen

Birch Bay, WA

This email was sent to the following addresses:

To: <>; <>; Hannah E. Stone <>; Kristina Michele <>; Michael W. Lilliquist <>; Hollie A. Huthman <>; <>; Daniel C. Hammill <>; Lisa A. Anderson <>

Cc: Satpal Sidhu <>; <>; Health <>