Part One – The race to displace: reviewing parking enforcement videos for obstacles to services for those in crisis

Edited body cam still frame in black and white of a car with rear door open showing the car interior and a person in jeans and socks laying under a long sweatshirt on the back seat. There is some graffiti on the door and seat-backs and one white athletic shoe next to the person on the seat. Some identifying material in the original image is removed.

April 22, 2022 Dena Jensen

Preface

On March 14, 2022, a presentation was given on RV parking code enforcement by Bellingham Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Lieutenant Claudia Murphy to Bellingham City Council’s Committee of the Whole. This presentation was given about three and a half months after City of Bellingham had initiated rigorous parking code enforcement following the lifting of the statewide ban on evictions.

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Weeks, and weeks, and weeks of parking and sheltering predicaments / Letter to Bellingham and Whatcom County officials

Screenshot of Bellingham Police Department Lt. Claudia Murphy’s 12-30-21 body cam still frame showing a road and parked vehicles covered with snow, blue sky overhead, sun low toward the horizon, and the silhouettes of a person in a hat with their dog

April 10, 2022 Dena Jensen

Sent: Sunday, April 10, 2022, 06:06:37 PM PDT

Dear Bellingham City Council, Mayor Fleetwood, Whatcom County Council, and County Executive Sidhu:

Over the last week or two, I have been reviewing body worn camera recordings of Bellingham Police Department’s Public Information Officer, Lt. Claudia Murphy related to City of Bellingham’s increase in parking enforcement during the current pandemic. 

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No room at the inn: current homeless strategies in Whatcom County / Noisy Waters Northwest

February 13, 2022 Dena Jensen

What’s encouraging

Three years have passed since the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County governments held a joint discussion that broached the subject of advance planning for severe weather shelters without action being taken to do so. But on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, Whatcom County Council finally authorized an interlocal agreement between the two government bodies to provide winter shelters during severe weather emergencies.

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Chapter Four: The City Council Members – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates / Noisy Waters Northwest

October 19, 2021 Dena Jensen

From Introduction – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates : 

Materials that were responsive to a number of recent public records requests obtained from the City of Bellingham, and one request from Whatcom County, provide insights into notable communications strategies of existing City staff, the mayor’s office, and some City Council Members regarding many of the winter’s events related to homelessness. On some of these matters, communications were being coordinated between the City and County executive branches.

Based on information contained in those materials, an important question arises regarding future actions of folks newly stepping up to run, or those continuing on to serve their community in public office: will they take action to eliminate government approaches that view or portray individuals and community organizations serving people in crisis as adversaries?

Chapter One: The County Executive – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates

Chapter Two: City Staff and the Mayor – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates

Chapter Three: The Police Department – Whatcom Barriers to Equity, a review for 2021 candidates

Chapter Four: The City Council Members

[Editor’s note: all redactions in this chapter are provided by the editor in the interest of not providing specific names of private persons considered unnecessary to the integrity of this review.]

During the Bellingham City Council’s public comment period at their February 22, 2021 regular Council meeting, a community member read the demands that were current at that time, that had been posted on social media by Bellingham Occupied Protest Mutual Aid, also known as BOP Mutual Aid.

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Sweep the Sweeps; House, Serve, and Shelter / Noisy Waters Northwest

Click the screen shot of text from the Bellingham City Club webpage describing the April 28, 2021 event, Chronic Homelessness: A Nationwide Challenge to view a web-based version of this information

April 29, 2021 Dena Jensen

Yesterday I attended Bellingham City Club’s online event, “Chronic Homelessness: A Nationwide Challenge.” This was Wednesday, April 28, the same day that Bellingham Police Department’s homeless encampment cleanup coordinator and fellow officers were out to clean up the “remainder,” as the coordinator described it, of homeless encampments at Maritime Heritage Park. (The ACLU equates camp cleanups and camp sweeps.) Some other encampment locations had been tagged to be vacated or were given instruction to bring all possessions off the streets and into parked RVs. 

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