Base Camp, or sweeps: City used Lighthouse Mission sheltering capacity to limit their emergency options last season

May 14, 2021 Dena Jensen

In public records obtained from the City of Bellingham, emails revealed that leading up to the 2020/2021 winter season, City Planning and Development staff told emergency winter shelter providers, with whom they had partnered the previous cold weather season, that the City would not be operating or funding such operations in the coming season.

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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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Bellingham’s Youth Call for Gov. Inslee and Pres. Biden to Declare States of Emergency Due to the Climate Crisis / Press Release, Sunrise Bellingham

April 19, 2021 Press Release, Sunrise Bellingham

Bellingham, Washington — The youth of Bellingham and its surrounding area, led by Sunrise Movement Bellingham’s middle and high school team, are demanding that President Biden and Governor Inslee declare Climate Emergencies on both the state and federal levels. This declaration would acknowledge the need for action surrounding the Climate Crisis, and also hold these powerful people accountable for taking definitive steps to reverse the effects of climate change.

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Take a hard look at Whatcom County’s Severe Weather Shelter history / Letter to the Homeless Strategies Workgroup

Click the graphic image presenting Recommendations for Consideration by the Homeless Strategies Workgroup discussed at their April 16, 2021 meeting to access a text version on the Whatcom County website

April 21, 2021 Dena Jensen

Below is my email, sent today, to Whatcom County’s Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

Subject: Regarding the presentation related to severe weather shelters at the April 16, 2021 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting

Dear Homeless Strategies Workgroup:

Near the end of the the April 16, 2021 Homeless Strategies Workgroup meeting discussion, a motion was approved by the workgroup to recommend to Whatcom County Council a recommendation from Health Department/County staff. This guidance was a short term action step to establish a data collection process to assist in ongoing analysis and planning. 

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On pretext traffic stops and the Bellingham Police Department / Facebook post, Sj Robson

Still frame from Bellingham Police Perspective Project YouTube video / 20E1: Race Policing & Defunding the Police, showing BPD officer Jon Knutsen talking with BPD’s then-Deputy Chief Flo Simon about race

April 18, 2021 Sandy Robson

Last Friday, the Whatcom Democrats Facebook page posted an April 15, 2021, article published by Vox, titled “Daunte Wright and the grim financial incentive behind traffic stops.”

The subtitle underneath the article’s headline reads: “How pretext traffic stops fund police departments — and put Black drivers in danger.”

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A call to stop moving dangerous and unsafe conditions to new locations in Whatcom County / Letter to Bellingham and Whatcom County officials

Credit for map image of streets and businesses in downtown Bellingham near the cross streets of Cornwall Ave. and York St.: Google Maps (modified with current Base Camp location and an arrow indicating Arlis’s Restaurant)

April 14, 2021 Dena Jensen

Keep writing your elected officials and working on sheltering solutions.

There was another encampment sweep in Bellingham at Sunset Pond Park this morning. More people without shelter displaced. Meanwhile, it’s possible one of our Port of Bellingham Commissioners is working on hiring a security guard because they don’t think the police are moving unsheltered people on to shelter and services (which currently don’t exist for many). 

Here is the email I sent about all that tonight: 

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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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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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