Bellingham Council: Change Indian St. to Billy Frank Jr. St.

Bellingham City Council favors changing Indian Street to Billy Frank Jr. Street. | PHILIP A. DWYER The Bellingham Herald

Bellingham City Council favors changing Indian Street to Billy Frank Jr. Street. | PHILIP A. DWYER The Bellingham Herald

 

BY SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL, The Bellingham Herald

 

BELLINGHAM – Indian Street will likely be renamed Billy Frank Jr. Street, after the Bellingham City Council asked staff to make the change.

Council member Terry Bornemann requested the change, which was supported by the full council at its Monday, June 15, meeting.

Council member Roxanne Murphy, a member of the Nooksack Indian Tribe, said she supported changing the name of the street as much as she supported honoring Billy Frank Jr., whose activism in the 1960s and ’70s led to a major strengthening of tribal fishing rights under the Boldt court ruling. The decision recognized Washington tribes’ rights to half the fish harvests under their 1850s-era treaties.

“It comes with a bit of heartache that we have a street named Indian Street, because that means so many different things to so many different people,” Murphy said during an afternoon council meeting June 15. “So many people identify with it in Indian Country, and others detest it. This is just as much to me about getting rid of the name Indian as it is about honoring Billy Frank.”

Frank, a member of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, was arrested dozens of times during the “Fish Wars,” when he and other Native Americans asserted their treaty rights and refused to obtain state licenses to fish. He died May 5, 2014.

Indian Street has had its name since at least the beginning of the 20th century. It was chosen as part of an alphabetical sequence of New Whatcom street names because it starts with an “I,” although how much deliberation went into the name no one can say, according to Jeff Jewell, historian and photo curator at Whatcom Museum.

Bellingham Fire Department’s Rob Wilson is in charge of an addressing committee that oversees such name changes. The committee is made up of representatives from the police department, fire, dispatch centers, and the planning, public works and permitting departments.

The committee was generally supportive of the name change, Wilson told the council, but did have a few concerns: 147 addresses — 110 apartments, 33 houses and four businesses — would be affected by the name change, and any of those people could appeal to the hearing examiner if they disagree with the proposed change.

Whatcom Educational Credit Union owns two buildings on Indian Street, but neither is open to the public, so the change wouldn’t affect the credit union much, Marketing Manager Kessa Volland wrote in an email.

“Our buildings on Indian are all behind-the-scenes departments and storage at this point,” she wrote. “I have to say I’m relieved we won’t have to change brochures/location listings on any of our materials.”

The change also would carry costs to change the street signs, and to have staff prepare and send letters to every address affected. A rough estimate put the bill at $20,000 to $30,000, Wilson said.

Another of the committee’s concerns had to do with the naming structure for that part of town.

“Indian Street today does fit a historical naming theme that is alphabetical,” Wilson said. “The change would disrupt that theme.”

The street-name sequence has not been completely alphabetical since the early 1900s. It starts with Old Town’s Army Street, which was never built; followed by Bay Street; then Canoe, which was changed to Commercial Street in 1904; and then Dock Street, which was changed to Cornwall Avenue in 1923, Jewell wrote in an email.

“Railroad Avenue was a train right-of-way predating the street grid, so it doesn’t figure in,” he wrote. “Elk Street, which was the ‘E,’ was changed to State Street in 1926 so (it) doesn’t work. After that it’s smooth alphabetical sailing: Forest, Garden, High, Indian, Jersey, Key, Liberty …”

Wilson said staff members would probably start sending notices to residents within about two weeks.

 

 

Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at 360-715-2274 or samantha.wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Politics Blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog and follow her on Twitter at @BhamPolitics.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article25373938.html#storylink=cpy

 

Bellingham council votes to recognize Coast Salish Day

Johnny Moses, a member of the Tulalip Tribe, smiles as he speaks before a signing ceremony by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for a resolution designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous People's Day, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in Seattle. Murray invited city council members and tribal leaders to the Monday afternoon signing ceremony for resolution, which the council approved a week earlier, designating it as a day to celebrate the culture and contributions of Native Americans. The second Monday in October is celebrated nationally as Columbus Day, which also has been a day to celebrate people of Italian heritage. ELAINE THOMPSON — AP Photo

Johnny Moses, a member of the Tulalip Tribe, smiles as he speaks before a signing ceremony by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for a resolution designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day, Monday, Oct. 13, 2014, in Seattle. Murray invited city council members and tribal leaders to the Monday afternoon signing ceremony for resolution, which the council approved a week earlier, designating it as a day to celebrate the culture and contributions of Native Americans. The second Monday in October is celebrated nationally as Columbus Day, which also has been a day to celebrate people of Italian heritage. ELAINE THOMPSON — AP Photo

By Samantha Wohlfeil, The Bellingham Herald

BELLINGHAM — By a 6-0 vote, City Council officially recognized Coast Salish Day on the date federally recognized as Columbus Day at its regular Monday night meeting, Oct. 13.

At the Monday afternoon meeting that fell on the federal holiday, all six council members present said they would support an ordinance recognizing Coast Salish Day on the second Monday of October each year, the same date that is nationally set aside for Columbus Day. Council member Jack Weiss, who joined council members Roxanne Murphy and Terry Bornemann in presenting the ordinance, was absent.

At previous meetings, Murphy had announced she would bring the ordinance forward to honor local tribes on the day many still use to honor explorer Christopher Columbus.

Council received an outpouring of community feedback about the proposal, ranging from people who said, “Pick another day,” to young tribal members who said they are still bullied for how they look, to general support from a variety of community members, Murphy said.

“I’m just hoping we can do right by the negativity the Coast Salish have experienced,” Murphy said.

Neither the city nor the state officially recognize Columbus Day as a holiday. For council member Michael Lilliquist, that meant the recognition of Coast Salish Day would not take anything away from the city but serve to celebrate the city’s historical connection with Coast Salish people.

“The names we use for streets and places here are Coast Salish names,” Lilliquist said. “It’s important to recognize that, not just as something of the past, but something that’s still living today. They’re still here. I’m not really happy with focusing on Columbus. I don’t want to get into that fight.”

Bornemann said he was happy to help Murphy bring the ordinance forward.

“We have a shared history with the Coast Salish people here. … Some of it has not been all that good,” Bornemann said.

Bornemann recalled an incident from many years ago when he was downtown and called 911 for someone who needed medical help. He remembered being asked if the person was Native American.

“I said it was none of their … business, they needed to get someone down there,” Bornemann said.

“I think this is one little step of recognizing what valuable contributions (the Coast Salish people) made to this area, and their long, noble history,” Bornemann continued.

Council members Gene Knutson, Pinky Vargas and Cathy Lehman all voiced their support for the ordinance and thanked Murphy for bringing the proposal to council.

In the future, all second Mondays in October could include the raising of tribal flags at City Hall and events featuring speeches from tribal leaders, along with other traditions the Nooksack Indian Tribe and Lummi Nation or other Coast Salish tribes would like to bring forward, according to a proposal accompanying the city ordinance.

“Most fundamentally,” the proposal reads, “the dream is that all future Coast Salish Days will remove any previous negativity from the former holiday and institute a day of celebration, culture, healing and respect.”

Seattle City Council passed a similar ordinance Oct. 6, recognizing Indigenous People’s Day.

Washington is one of several states that do not celebrate Columbus Day as a legal holiday. Banks and federal government offices are typically closed for the federal holiday. Bellingham city offices will not close for Coast Salish Day.

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/10/13/3911107_bellingham-council-poised-to-recognize.html?sp=/99/101/&rh=1#storylink=cpy

Lummi Nation challenges Bellingham plans for work related to new Costco

 

Shoppers enter the Bellingham Costco store Jan. 8, 2013. City officials are continuing to work on projects designed to clear the way for development of a West Bakerview Road site that could accommodate a new Costco store. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD |Buy Photo

Shoppers enter the Bellingham Costco store Jan. 8, 2013. City officials are continuing to work on projects designed to clear the way for development of a West Bakerview Road site that could accommodate a new Costco store. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD |Buy Photo

By JOHN STARK

THE BELLINGHAM HERALD May 16, 2014

BELLINGHAM – Lummi Nation and Fred Meyer Stores have appealed the city’s preliminary approval of wetlands, stormwater and street modifications along West Bakerview Road to accommodate a new Costco store.

The appeals will trigger a city hearing examiner review of the development proposal. In technical terms, the review will determine whether City Planning Director Jeff Thomas was justified in issuing a “mitigated determination of non-significance” for the work in and around the proposed Costco store. Thomas’ finding meant that the project could move ahead without a more extensive review of environmental issues, as long as steps were taken to deal with traffic and other impacts.

Brian Heinrich, Mayor Kelli Linville’s executive coordinator, said there was no way to know how long that process might delay final approval of the project. The hearing examiner will set a hearing date after checking with attorneys representing the tribe and Fred Meyer.

“Any delay can have an impact, but we trust the process and are confident that city staff have acted appropriately in application of our land use and environmental regulations,” Heinrich said in an email.

In a press release, Lummi Nation Chairman Tim Ballew said the appeal was based on concern about the project’s potential impact on salmon and the Nooksack River.

“Filling wetlands that nourish salmon-spawning streams is significant,” Ballew said. “It is significant to the health of the river, the Lummi people, and everyone who calls the Nooksack River watershed home. As the steward of the environment, it is the Lummi Nation’s responsibility to protect these waters and the fish that live in them.”

In an email, Heinrich said the city shares the Lummi concern with the environment and salmon. Because of those concerns, the city is following the law in requiring the project to add wetlands to make up for those that will be filled, while restoring a salmon-bearing stream.

Heinrich noted that Lummi Nation also has offered developers the opportunity to compensate for wetland-filling projects by buying shares in the tribe’s wetlands bank to help cover the cost of creating new wetlands to make up for those lost to development.

Lummi Nation has its own long-term plans for major retail development on tribally owned real estate farther north. In the past, tribal leaders have negotiated with the city of Ferndale on division of tax revenues from major retail development of tribally owned property inside that’s city’s boundaries. So far that issue has not been settled, and no specific development plans for the tribal real estate have emerged.

Fred Meyer’s objections to the West Bakerview project are based on traffic impacts on its existing store on the other side of West Bakerview.

“The proposed development will significantly and adversely affect (Fred Meyer’s) interests by, among other things, substantially interfering with access to the Fred Meyer store by unreasonably increasing traffic on West Bakerview Road.”

Seattle attorney Glenn Amster, representing Fred Meyer, asks the hearing examiner to order preparation of an environmental impact statement, or the imposition of other measures to reduce the traffic impacts.

The city already has decided to impose the cost of some traffic improvements on Costco as a condition of city approval, including the construction of added turning lanes for cars entering the site. The city will require Costco to provide a right-turn lane into the store parking lot for westbound traffic, plus an additional left-turn lane for eastbound traffic.

Costco has agreed to pay for those improvements, Heinrich said, but as yet there is no cost estimate.

The 20-acre Costco site is on the north side of West Bakerview Road near Pacific Highway.

Reach John Stark at 360-715-2274 or john.stark@bellinghamherald.com . Read the Politics Blog at bellinghamherald.com/politics-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhampolitics.

Wall Street Giant Backs Away From Washington Coal Export Project

David Steves, Earth Fix

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A multinational banking giant is backing away from a proposal to build the West Coast’s biggest coal export project near Bellingham, Washington.

New York-based Goldman Sachs has sold its stock back to the companies proposing to build the Gateway Pacific Terminal. If built it would transfer 48 million tons of Wyoming coal each year from trains to ocean-going vessels bound for Asia.

The move comes less than six months after Goldman Sachs published a research paper titled, “The window for thermal coal investment is closing.”

Before the stock transfer, Goldman Sachs had a 49 percent stake in the Gateway Pacific project. The company proposing the project is SSA Marine. Its parent company is Carrix, Inc.

SSA Marine President Bob Watters said in a statement that after Goldman Sachs sold back its stock, a Mexican businessman named Fernando Chico Pardo made an investment in SSA’s parent company that gives him a 49 percent ownership.

Coal-export opponents said the departure of Goldman Sachs as an investor is the latest sign that Wall Street no longer sees a profitable future in mining, shipping and burning coal – considered the dirtiest sources of energy and one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.

“Goldman Sachs’ stepping away from coal export is yet another sign from Wall Street that coal export is a losing investment,” said anti-coal activist Crina Hoyer, the executive director of Bellingham-based RE Sources for Sustainable Communities.

SSA Marine and Carrix, Inc., sought to cast the departure of Goldman Sachs in a more positive light. According to their press release, Chico Pardo and the project’s original investors had stepped in with a “substantial capital injection” and remained committed to the coal export project.

Overall, the push to export Montana and Wyoming coal through the Pacific Northwest’s has struggled. Of the six coal export terminal originally proposed in Washington and Oregon, three have been dropped. In addition to the Gateway Pacific terminal on the northern shore of Puget Sound, the two other terminals still being considered are proposed for ports on the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon.

David Steves

Gateway Pacific Terminal: near Bellingham, Wash.

Seattle-based SSA Marine wants to build a terminal within the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve. It would ship millions of tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming to Asia. The company says it would create thousands of jobs and generate millions in tax and other revenues.

Cherry Point, Wash. Locator Map

 

Players: SSA Marine, Peabody Energy, Gateway Pacific, Korea East-West Power

Full Capacity: To be reached in 2026

Export Plans: 48 million tons/year

Train: 18 trains/day (9 full and 9 empty)

Train Cars: 1,370/day

Vessels: 487/year

What’s Next: Environmental review of the project is expected to take two years. In July 2013, Washington Department of Ecology, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Whatcom County, Wash. announced they will consider climate change, human health and the environment. They will also look at the entire route from Western mines to coal-burning plants in Asia. The public’s input was a factor in the decision for a broad review. Government agencies took in public comments from close to 125,000 people from September, 2012 to January, 2013. As part of the public-input process, 9,000 people attended seven meetings in Washington in 2012. The government agencies are required to solicit public input before they issue an environmental impact statement and from there, approve development permits. A summary of the public comment can be found here.