There is an extended letter to the editor in this week’s Cascadia Weekly about where things are at with the City of Bellingham granting a Critical Areas permit for building two houses in the important Post Point nesting and foraging area for the Great Blue Heron.
March 6, 2019 Victoria Matey and Maru Mora Villalpando
On February 25th, 2019 the City of Bellingham, in Washington State, reviewed the ordinance–#2017-02-008 and BMC Chapter 2.25 regarding immigration matters in the city. Two years ago, undocumented students and community members advised the city not to collaborate with federal immigration officials in order to make Bellingham a safer city for everyone by addressing racial profiling. Instead, the city passed an ordinance that not only dismissed everything the undocumented community was collectively working towards, but also passed an ordinance supposedly to protect the undocumented community with zero enforcement and accountability, and with no promise of keeping our community safe from immigration enforcement families being torn apart.
It’s been two full years since the City of Bellingham abruptly pushed aside the Keep Bellingham Families Working ordinance in favor of approving their own ordinance regarding immigrant protection. In all that time there has been no amending of that ordinance or activation of civilian oversight or of a safe space to report discrimination or persecution.
It is painful to witness the continued sluggish and inadequate response from the City of Bellingham and Whatcom County governments to the critical situation facing some unhoused/unsheltered people in Whatcom County during this current period of very cold weather and the accompanying build-up of snow.
For almost two weeks now, advocates for unhoused people have been asking Whatcom County and City of Bellingham officials to open up additional shelter during the severe winter conditions our county has been enduring.
Accuweather said that it got down to 18 degrees last night in Bellingham and tonight the low forecast is for 16 degrees. Below freezing nighttime temperatures are expected for the next few days. In such extreme conditions, people who don’t have houses or other shelter which provide warmth and protection are in extreme peril. It just takes some sudden bad fortune, like slipping on ice unexpectedly, or having your car/sleeping quarters window smashed, to bring on deathly outcomes.
A couple of weeks ago, one of the members of the City of Bellingham’s Climate Action Plan Task Force let me know that there was a place online where people could make comments/give input to the Task Force regarding related issues and the work that they are doing.