“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.”
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.
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.
Subject: Regarding RV parking enforcement and equity in our community
Dear Bellingham City Council:
Yesterday I was able to listen to most of your March 14, 2022 Committee of the Whole meeting, and your entire discussion related to the “Update on RV’s and the 72 hour Rule.”
First, I would like to mention the part of the committee discussion on enforcing parking code for RVs where Bellingham Police Department Lieutenant Claudia Murphy responded to Bellingham City Council Chair Hannah Stone talking about the challenge of packing up camping gear increasing in relation to how often people might have to do that. It was apparent in the discussion that most of the community members undergoing code enforcement were living in their RVs as their primary shelter.
Subject: Calling for more sheltering and services and less policing
Dear Mayor Fleetwood and Bellingham City Council:
I don’t know what question was asked by the reporter or what the exact statement was that Mayor Fleetwood made, but the following acknowledgement of the mayor’s that was highlighted in the February 2, 2022 Cascadia Daily article, “Bellingham hires security to patrol downtown,”
POOR MAGAZINE, a collective of Poor, Homeless, Indigenous, Black and Brown writers and activists, hit the road to share an innovative model to solving homelessness called Homefulness. Members of POOR Magazine will share their innovative “Homefulness Handbook,” accompanied by a series of writing/poetry workshops in encampments, community centers, schools and jails with other homeless and formerly homeless communities. Leading a tour on stolen land and hoarded resources, they share the template of Homefulness via storytelling and spoken word performance with fellow houseless and housed residents of so-called Bellingham, WA., Bend and Eugene, OR.
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?
March 15, 2021 Press Release, Serenity Outreach Services
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.
[Author’s Note: I am not a representative of Camp 210, but a concerned community member and volunteer; mistakes are my own]
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.