April 2021 (volume 30, issue 4)

Reimagining Jail Sentences

by Maddie Smith Part 1  Navigating Through an Overcrowded Jail Three hundred twenty-two inmates were packed inside a jail built to house 148 in the early 2000s. This was the most crowded Corrections Lt. Caleb Erickson ever saw the Whatcom County … Continue reading

Bellingham Pondering Single-Use Plastic Ban

by Giovanni Roverso The city of Bellingham’s Public Works and Natural Resources Committee began discussing a draft ordinance on single-use plastic in 2020. The ordinance would ban most forms of single-use plastic foodware and hotel personal care mini-containers.  However, in … Continue reading

Proposed Whatcom County Jail

by Maddie Smith 1983 The current Whatcom County jail in downtown Bellingham opened. 1996 Oct. 1  The county executive formed a blue ribbon panel to address criminal justice issues. On 3/20/1997, the panel recommended a 750-bed minimum security facility be … Continue reading

Fidalgo Island

by Joe Meche While it’s a noticeably different part of Skagit County and separated from the mainland by the Swinomish Channel on the east and Deception Pass on the south, this unique island offers a wealth of recreational opportunities; and … Continue reading

Billy Frank Jr. Statue Gaining Momentum

by Lorraine Loomis Treaty Indian tribes in western Washington strongly support proposed state legislation to place a statue of the late natural resources and civil rights champion Billy Frank Jr. to replace Marcus Whitman in our nation’s capital. We think … Continue reading

Whatcom County Council

Compiled by Barry MacHale Action Taken at February 9, 2021 Meeting Shall the council: 37. Appoint Dorie Belisle to the Portage Bay Shellfish District Advisory Committee? She is a former manager (2001 – 2008) of the Tenmile Creek watershed project … Continue reading

Port of Bellingham Commission

Compiled by Bill McCallum Action Taken at February 2, 2021 Meeting Shall the commission: 13. Combine three improvement projects for the Sumas property leased by Teal Jones? The roof, wood siding, exterior windows and storefront door will be replaced. Minor … Continue reading

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at February 8, 2021 Meeting Update on Covid-19 Response: Erika Lautenbach, Whatcom County Health Department Director, announced that as of 2/5/2021, there are 34 enrolled provider sites that offer vaccines. This week, Whatcom County has received 3,275 doses … Continue reading

USA/Canada Team Up to Eliminate Giant Hornets

USA/Canada Team Up to Eliminate Giant Hornets The Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia), an invasive pest that threatens pollinators and ignores international borders, is the focus of an international effort to eradicate it in the Pacific Northwest. That’s why, in … Continue reading

Whatcom Center for Early Learning

by Erin Malone Editor’s Note: There are over 100 organizations in Whatcom County working to provide supportive services to those experiencing chronic poverty and its associated effects: addiction, homelessness, incarceration, mental illness, and unemployment. Whatcom Watch believes these organizations often … Continue reading

State Supreme Court Will Interpret: Public Lands Held in Trust for “All the People”

by Conservation Northwest Staff Conservation Northwest, Washington Environmental Council and Olympic Forest Coalition are pleased that, on March 3, 2021, the Washington Supreme Court granted direct review in Conservation NW, et al. v. Commissioner of Public Lands et al., No.; … Continue reading

What the Frack?

by Hailee Wickersham Every day the push for concrete climate action seems to knock at the door, waiting for it to be opened and allowed a seat at the table. In 2008, when Pew Research asked U.S. adults what the … Continue reading


Boris Schleinkofer, poetrywatch editor “When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area of man’s concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses.” — … Continue reading

Port Comment Periods Draw a Variety of Complaints

Since January 2014, Whatcom Watch has been rerunning articles from issues printed 20 years ago. The below article appeared in the April 2001 issue of Whatcom Watch. by Daniel M. Warner Accountability, Carpenter Wages At the February 20, 2001 comment … Continue reading

Gift Transforms Lumber Mill Into Park

Since January 2014, Whatcom Watch has been rerunning articles from issues printed 20 years ago. The below article appeared in the April 2001 issue of Whatcom Watch. Editor’s Note: This was the ninth in a series examining Bellingham’s parks. It … Continue reading