BTC and COB park safety root issues remain unaddressed / Letter to Bellingham City Council

Click on the image of a YouTube video still frame picturing former Bellingham Police Department detective, Al Jensen, to access the recording of the April 12, 2021 Bellingham City Council Parks and Recreation Committee meeting

April 12, 2021 Dena Jensen

Subject: Failing to address root issues at your April 12, 2021 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting

Dear Bellingham City Council:

I listened to your April 12, 2021 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting from this afternoon. Your discussion was related to information in a staff memo from today that stated in part:

“Bellingham Technical College (BTC) has documented many incidents that have occurred at and around the Perry Center. Incidents range from physical attacks, threats and aggression towards students and employees to used drug needles left in front of the building, tents set up next to the building, people sleeping in vehicles and in the doorway of the main entrance to the building, garbage, and human feces in the area near the building.”

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Sunrise Bellingham Climate Action Group Calls for Rep. Larsen and Washington Senators to Commit to Creating Good Jobs for All / Press Release, Sunrise Bellingham

April 5, 2021 Press Release, Sunrise Bellingham

Event Date: April 7th, 2021.

➡️‼️RESCHEDULED DUE TO WEATHER ‼️⬅️Good Jobs for All Rally @ Taylor DockThis Thursday, April 8th, 4 – 6pm. Here is the link to sign up for the action:  https://www.mobilize.us/sunrisemovement/event/381

Bellingham, WA — The Sunrise Movement, which includes the Sunrise Bellingham Hub, is demanding a Green New Deal that guarantees a good job fighting climate change and making a safer, healthier society to anyone who wants one. We are calling on Senator Murray, Senator Cantwell, and Representative Larsen to take the Good Jobs for All Pledge. The pledge is a commitment to invest $10 trillion to create at least 15 million good jobs over the next decade, with 50% of funds going to communities on the frontlines of our economic, environmental, and public health crises. When we say “good jobs” we mean jobs with safe workplaces, family-sustaining wages and benefits, and protection of workers’ rights to organize.

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Sweep of unsheltered community members from Port of Bellingham property / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the still frame picturing Port Commissioner Ken Bell at his desk from a YouTube video of the Port of Belliingham’s March 16, 2021 Port Commission meeting to access the final public comment period of the meeting shortly before the meeting adjourned

March 21, 2021 Dena Jensen

It seems that the Port of Bellingham would benefit from hearing more from all of us here in Whatcom County about the motivations for our desire of them to help contribute solutions to our friends and neighbors sleeping outside and getting swept by police officers in Bellingham and at WWU.  Apparently they were also swept from Port of Bellingham property at Laurel and Cornwall on the day that COB swept folks from Geri Field. Contact information is at the bottom fo this post. 

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Serenity Outreach Services strongly condemns City’s decision to sweep Geri Field homeless encampment / Press Release, Serenity Outreach Services Bellingham

March 15, 2021 Press Release, Serenity Outreach Services

“Serenity Outreach Services is open to the public to share, and learn from one another, as we endeavor to find solutions together, with the common goal being to cooperatively end homelessness.” Click the graphic, with a blue marine background with a heart-shaped tentacle logo with a green house in its center, to access their Facebook page.

Serenity Outreach Services strongly condemns the city’s decision to sweep the Geri field homeless encampment. We feel the homeless encampment sweeps must be addressed as it relates to us as a nonprofit, as community members, and as tax-paying individuals. The sweep goes against recent CDC guidelines, Whatcom County Health Department guidance, and the recent 9th Circuit Superior Court Ruling.

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Our community members in crisis must not be treated as expendable / Letter to the Homeless Strategies Workgroup

Click the graphic to access Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting materials webpage

March 4, 2021 Dena Jensen

Dear Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

I really appreciate the questions and points raised in recent letters sent in by Carmen Gilmore and Arrissia Owen Turner, and I hope the workgroup will use these to help cement focus and progress on primary goals. 

I also call for one of the primary goals of this workgroup being that of addressing the needs of unsheltered community members in crisis, and feel it will become easier and quicker to make progress on this goal by staying grounded in an approach that views people falling through the cracks of existing solutions – or lack of them – as unacceptable. 

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The goal is to marginalize no one: email to Whatcom and Bellingham leaders / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the graphic to access material available on the City of Bellingham website presenting the City’s view of events surrounding the 1/28/21 sweep of Camp 210

February 19, 2021 Dena Jensen

Here is an email I sent this morning:

Subject: The goal is to marginalize no one

Dear Mayor Fleetwood, Bellingham City Council, Bellingham Parks and Recreation Department, and Homeless Strategies Workgroup Members:

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Solutions needed to help heal the community: Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting 2/19/21

Click the graphic image of the 2/19/21 Homeless Strategies Workgroup agenda to access the agenda and other meeting materials on the Whatcom County website.

February 18, 2021 Dena Jensen

Whatcom County Homeless Strategies Workgroup meets tomorrow, Friday, February 19, 2021, 1:30-3:00 p.m. Here is the Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/91936129280?pwd=QmZYaVdFMm1SZW5hcmpBdHcyVHkxQT09

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Thoughts on the Camp 210 Sweep / Commentary by Kai Rapaport

Police presence at Camp 210 Sweep. Photo Credit: Kai Rapaport

February 5, 2021 Kai Rapaport

[Author’s Note: I am not a representative of Camp 210, but a concerned community member and volunteer; mistakes are my own]

Dear Bellingham,

This message is a plea to our Mayor Fleetwood to stop the sweep of our houseless neighbors at Camp 210, in their new location by Puget and Fraser near Civic field Friday at 4pm. This article is also an invitation to the community to support our houseless neighbors in voicing their concerns about this sweep. 

I understand this message is long so I can summarize it now:

Please contact your Mayor, principally; your health department; the parks department; your City Councilmembers; and encourage your organizations to denounce this sweep. Sweeps do not solve houselessness, they only move our houseless neighbors.

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RE winter emergency sheltering efforts in Whatcom County prior to the 2020 cold weather season

Click the graphic to access a recording of YouTube video of the March 30, 2020 Whatcom County Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting. This was the first virtual meeting of the workgroup after the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States

The City of Bellingham and Whatcom County Government have been increasingly focused since the cold weather season has hit, on putting out information about their housing and sheltering efforts. There is no doubt that they have been making efforts to create low income housing and to sustain and enhance some sheltering solutions. But a significant challenge being faced right now by our community is a failure of our government agencies to respond effectively to hostile weather emergency sheltering needs, especially during a pandemic. 

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Whatcom County Council continues discussion of racism as a public health crisis / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the graphic to access video of the October 27, 2020 Whatcom County Council Meeting. The discussion of racism as a public health crisis begins at about 04:14:30 on the video

November 1, 2020 Dena Jensen

For those who didn’t get to listen to the discussion of the resolution Affirming Racism is a Public Health Crisis at the October 27, 2020 Whatcom County Council meeting, here is a little information on that.

First, here are some details I am aware of because my partner, Sandy Robson, called Whatcom County staff to find out why notice of discussion of the resolution seemed to not be available on the County website.

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