Oct/Nov 2016 (volume 25, issue )

Human Trafficking in Whatcom County

Jill LeVasseur remembers everything. The way she got into sex-trafficking, her arrest, the King County police officer who stayed with her and guided her to Engedi Refuge Ministries in Lynden. The programs there included addiction recovery and therapy, and they … Continue reading

The Chuckanut Formation in Our Backyard

Fifty million years ago, there were giant, 7-foot-tall chickens wading around palm trees in the subtropical swamp that is now Whatcom County. And the remnants of this geology are still present. (1) Those chickens were Diatryma, a flightless bird whose … Continue reading

East of the Cascades

If you’ve followed this column for a while, you know that Cindy and I always take a fall trip to the other side of the mountains, and this year was no exception. After spending time tying up a summer’s worth … Continue reading

State Should Drop Culvert Case Appeal

We are disappointed to learn that the state of Washington will continue its long-standing efforts to deny tribal treaty-reserved fishing rights by once again appealing a federal court ruling requiring the repair of hundreds of fish-blocking culverts under state roads. … Continue reading

Bellingham City Council

Action Taken at August 29, 2016 Meeting Shall the council: 134. Authorize the mayor to sign the jail facility use agreement with Whatcom County, choosing Option 1? At the 6/20/2016 meeting, vote #97, the City Council authorized the mayor to … Continue reading

Whatcom County Council

Action Taken at September 13, 2016 Shall the council: 153. Authorize the executive to sign a ,085 contract with CH2M Hill Engineers of Englewood, Colo., for the Gateway Pacific Terminal environmental impact statement? In order for the county to close  … Continue reading

Port of Bellingham Commission

Action Taken at August 16, 2016 Meeting Editor’s Note: Commissioner Bobby Briscoe participated via communications link from his fishing boat in Juneau, Alaska. Shall the commission: 136. Authorize the executive director to sign a 10-year conduit lease agreement with WaveDivision … Continue reading

Bellingham Ballot Measure

City of Bellingham Measure Proposition No. 2016-1 A Greenways Levy for Greenways, Open Space, Parks, Park Facilities and Trails. Official Ballot Title For the purpose of funding development, acquisition, and maintenance of greenways, open space, parks, park facilities, and trails, … Continue reading

County Ballot Measure

Whatcom County Measure Proposition No. 2016-1 Regular Property Tax Levy for Emergency Medical Services Official Ballot Title The Whatcom County Council passed Ordinance 2016-019 concerning funding for the countywide Emergency Medical Services system. Will Whatcom County be authorized to impose … Continue reading

Carbon Tax Initiative On November Ballot

In the last year, Washington tate has been the center of many environmental efforts ­— from the governor’s Clean Power Plan to our county fighting to ban fossil fuel exports. Among these many battles against climate change has been a … Continue reading

Behind the Veil at the Lynden Rally

At first, state Senator Doug Ericksen seemed happy to take credit for bringing the Trump rally to Lynden last May (see September 2016 Whatcom Watch, page 1). But that was before the mounting costs of the massive police presence at … Continue reading

A Reader Asks: Why Do I Vote?

Is America a democracy anymore? Two candidates who many do not respect, trust or want have become the only offerings we citizens have to lead our nation in the most unpopular election in memory. I thought that in a democracy … Continue reading

Executives Could Be Tried for Environmental Destruction

A move by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague signals a landmark shift that could reshape how business is done in developing countries, says Global Witness, a nonpolitical organization that works to resolve human rights abuses … Continue reading

Looking for Answers: Whatcom County vs Hirst, Futurewise, et al.

November 28, 2016 Researching and learning about the water rights issue in our County and State over the past several weeks has confused me more than it has clarified the options the County Council has to exercise. It is more … Continue reading

Primary Election 2016

Please use this link to view the 2016 Primary Election results: primary-election-2016 Candidate Results Voting Drop-off Rate Whatcom County Primary Elections Turnout and Voting by Mail Percentages 1956 – 2016 State/Local Election Statistics How Envelopes Are Returned to the Auditor … Continue reading

Letter From the Standing Rock Protectors

Hundreds of tribes from the United States and Canada are gathered along the Cannonball River next to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. They’ve come together to stand as one in opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The … Continue reading

Blanchard State Forest May Be Logged

To the Editor: Bellingham’s proximity to outdoor areas is undoubtedly one our city’s most beloved advantages. Blanchard State Forest, located just south of Bellingham, is one of the most scenic places around. However, this forest is now being threatened by … Continue reading

Invasive Green Crabs Found in Padilla Bay

For the past summer, crab scientists associated with the University of Washington have gathered each month at a tiny lagoon adjacent to the Post Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Fairhaven. Their goal: to catch green crabs, an invasive species that … Continue reading


“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.” — John F. Kennedy Boris … Continue reading

Blanchard Mountain Recreation Area Threatened

Blanchard State Forest is an enormously popular recreation area located south of Bellingham off Chuckanut Drive that is visited by tens of thousands of people every year. Blanchard Mountain features such things as the popular Oyster Dome and bat caves; … Continue reading

Ballot Issue May Influence Future of County’s Natural Heritage

To celebrate 25 years of publishing Whatcom Watch, we will be printing excerpts from 20 years ago. The below excerpts are from the October-November 1996 issue of Whatcom Watch. Editor’s Note: In 1992, the Whatcom County Council passed the Conservation … Continue reading

Carrie Unick and Amy’s Place

Amy’s Place is a drop-in center on Friday and Saturday nights for homeless youth. Those attending are given a meal and a safe and welcoming place to hang out. Carrie Unick is a volunteer, and her mother Heidi is the … Continue reading

Eric Hirst Letter to Whatcom County Council

Dear Whatcom County Council Members, Last week’s council meeting included several rural residents, builders, and realtors opposed to the recent Supreme Court decision on the future of rural permit-exempt wells. I hope attendance at next week’s hearing will be more … Continue reading