Beautiful Park

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Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 11:49 am  //  Guest writer

A trail in the Chuckanut Community Forest.

Guest writer Dan Remsen writes for the group favoring the Park District on Bellingham's south side.  

There is a beautiful forested hillside visible from most anywhere in the southwest corner of Bellingham. For more than two decades it has been repeatedly threatened with development. And, repeatedly, neighbors around it have risen to defend and preserve the ecological treasure that it is. As Chuckanut Ridge, Hundred Acre Wood, or just “the woods” it is well known, and a great number of people who live around this beautiful, mature forest and the wetlands nestled inside feel very passionately about their future.

Between now and February 12th, voters who live nearest what we now call the Chuckanut Community Forest will have the opportunity to secure it as a city park forever.

In the fall of 2011, with the property finally available for purchase, our City Council voted to purchase it using a combination of Greenways III southside acquisition funds, southside Park Impact Fees, and a $3.2 million inter-fund loan from the Greenways III maintenance endowment. The city has been clear that the loan must be repaid or a significant portion of the property would need to be sold to do so.

A group of southside residents organized to develop a plan to repay the loan and save ALL of the property. After exploring numerous financing options, we felt that the only feasible way to do it in a timely fashion was to form a Metropolitan Park District (MPD). We just couldn’t kick this can down the road and risk losing this community asset.

The proposed MPD is called the Chuckanut Community Forest District (CCFD). The District encompasses the area west of I-5 and south of the Western campus or, the South, Fairhaven, Edgemoor, and most of the Happy Valley and South Hill neighborhoods. This past summer, needing 1100 petition signatures to qualify for the ballot, we collected almost 1700. Support, not surprisingly, was abundant and enthusiastic.

The ballot proposition proposes that the district be created for the purpose of levying a property tax, only inside the district, of $28/$100,000 assessed value for 10 years, or $70/year for a $250,000 house. This would pay off the loan and enable full and permanent protection of this park.

MPDs have existed at various times around the state since 1907. It is a great democratic tool written into Washington state law that has enabled communities to choose to band together to achieve their common parks and open space goals. Some have built pools, some recreation centers, and some have developed parks. In North Bend, the Si View MPD has seen deep voter support each time they have come back to the voters. Surely they have earned community trust and built support to achieve that. That is the record of every MPD we researched. They are grassroots democracy and community self-determination at their best and a model I believe in.

I think we can do as well here. As a homeowner and as a candidate to serve as a district commissioner, I am committed to seeing to it that this MPD performs exactly as described in the petition, on the ballot and on our website ( Myself, 5 other commission candidates, a hundred or more volunteers, and our many, many endorsers and donors, who have worked for years seeking the preservation of this property, now believe we are almost there. But, we need your support, too.

What this boils down to is a simple choice. If you think this land should be sold and built on, then vote no. But, if we value our beautiful setting, if we want this land preserved as a city park, if we as a community would rather leave to the future an ecological treasure than a subdivision, then now is the time to act on those values. Please vote yes for the forest, vote yes for parks and healthy recreation, vote yes for wetlands and the salmon they support. Please Vote Yes for the Chuckanut Community Forest District.

Delaine Clizbe  //  Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 5:09 pm

Mr. Remsen with all due respect I don’t think that everything you say in this article is true.  Since John Servais did post a pdf of the actual ballot it is not hard for folks to see that they are not voting on a tax but are voting only to create the Metropolitan Park District.  The commissioners, after the Metropolitan Park District is voted in, get to decide how much the actual levy is.

Pay close attention folks!  You are not voting on a tax!  This vote will only create the district.  You will not get to decide how much the actual tax levy amount will be.

Hue Beattie  //  Sat, Jan 26, 2013, 7:56 pm

I have lived in
this area since 1973. My son grew up here and developed his love of nature in these very woods. The flora and fauna only gets better as time passes. I now walk with a cane but still enjoy going into the flater areas. Saw some woodpecker homes there this week. I have been advising the committee and know the candidates will do what they promise. Thank you Dan for your post.

Alex McLean  //  Tue, Jan 29, 2013, 8:39 pm

I am opposed to this Park District.

Somebody needs to explain to me how this expensive outlay of my funds benefits the thousands of people living in Happy Valley, which the proponents benevolently and mysteriously decided to add to their District, when we are nearly 3 miles away from the property. With all of the trails benefits already ensured by the City’s acquisition of this property, why do I need to protect YOUR neighborhood from a bit of development when MY neighborhood is being engulfed by it? Why do you need the WHOLE property, all the way to Chuckanut Drive, when the habitat connectivity is already amputated by the housing across that busy road?

Thanks for offering to troll our wallets, and for keeping us bound by the property acquisition moratorium that was imposed upon us for years, but your offer of economic injustice seems profoundly unappealing. Happy Valley, the densest neighborhood in the city, gets nothing by helping you purchase a few more acres—of the thousands that surround it already—which are located amidst the wealthiest precincts in the county.

Go green with your own green, as you have repeatedly said you would, and stop clobbering this city with your demands for ever-more cash and ever-diminishing rewards for this pet project of yours.

Gerry Wilbour  //  Wed, Jan 30, 2013, 11:40 pm

Dan, Thanks for the this great article and the one in the Herald.  And thanks for being willing to run and serve as a commissioner.  This has been a long process, it great to be a part of a community that is willing to step forward and solve it’s own problems.  As you say, we have looked at all of the funding options, and this is the one that really works. 

Selling a portion of the Chuckanut Community Forest property into a challenging real estate market to pay off the loan to the Greenways Endowment Fund would be a budgetary sight of hand.  Even if the endowment fund may be made whole by this means, the taxpayers would end up footing the bill for it’s subsequent development though other budgets and taxes. The taxpayers would simply be paying for a development rather than a park, with the nearby neighbors picking up the greatest potion of the tab. 

I’ve worked in a number of areas that have Park Districts.  They are very grounded in the communities that they serve and they stay focused on the mission they were created to do.  I would much rather pay for a Park than a development.

Rob Stratton  //  Sun, Feb 03, 2013, 5:24 pm

How about instead of using government to steal money from many who don’t use or support non development, why not just buy it yourselves?

Dudley Evenson  //  Tue, Feb 05, 2013, 12:50 pm

Since 1990, we have worked to save the Chuckanut Forest. We have made many videos on it. Hundreds of people have devoted years of their lives to keep this precious urban forest from being developed. Watch the videos linked below to learn why this forest is so important to our community. (only Southside Bellingham residents vote). Thanks for voting YES by Feb 12 to keep this forest in tact and from being subdivided.  Remember - people tried to stop Central Park in New York City from being saved.  Now it is the saving grace of that city.
Please watch these video clips from ‘Saving the 100 Acre Wood: A Treasure Beyond Measure’ made between 1990 and 2005.  Thank you.

+ Link Part 1.
+ Link Part 2.
+ Link Part 3.
+ Link Part 4.

Planning Commission Opening Calls for Neighborhood Rep

Mon, Nov 30, 2015, 5:29 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Planning Commission has a vacancy. Now is the time for the appointment of a member who represents the interests of the neighborhoods.


Update on Lincoln Street Student Housing Project

Mon, Nov 23, 2015, 5:41 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The student housing project for 648 individuals called NXNW (North by Northwest) on Lincoln Street is moving forward briskly. This is an update.

6 comments; last on Nov 27, 2015

Tax incentives proposed for Fairhaven apartments - Updated

Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 10:41 pm  //  John Servais

Council to allow three weeks for written comments on tax exemption proposal for high density buildings in quiet Fairhaven neighborhood

9 comments; last on Nov 19, 2015

Accessory Dwelling Units - There Is No Rush

Mon, Nov 16, 2015, 4:30 am  //  Dick Conoboy

There is no reason to rush an updated ordinance on ADUs when we do not even know what the current number is or where existing illegal units are…

8 comments; last on Nov 25, 2015

Bellingham Updating Accessory Dwelling Laws

Sat, Nov 14, 2015, 5:33 pm  //  Guest writer

By Shannon Maris. Detached ADUs - the 'mother in law' mini cottages - are being considered by the city of Bellingham. This impacts every home owner.

3 comments; last on Nov 19, 2015

Veterans Day and Thanking Veterans

Wed, Nov 11, 2015, 4:23 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Some personal thoughts on thanking our veterans for their service

1 comments; last on Nov 11, 2015

Whatcom Co.: Voting and Vote-Counting with Integrity

Sun, Nov 08, 2015, 9:25 pm  //  Guest writer

An overview of Whatcom County's method of processing ballots and counting votes.

2 comments; last on Nov 14, 2015

Final Election Returns: Jail Tax Rejected

Fri, Nov 06, 2015, 4:37 pm  //  John Servais

Satpal Sidhu wins council seat. Virtually all the ballots are now counted. Challenges and a few special are left.

1 comments; last on Nov 06, 2015

Thursday Voting Update

Thu, Nov 05, 2015, 9:17 pm  //  John Servais

Jail sales tax is being rejected - and the NO vote is increasing. Sidhu - Kerschner still undecided. Props 2, 3, 9 and 10 all should pass.

1 comments; last on Nov 06, 2015

Wednesday Vote Changes

Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 6:45 pm  //  John Servais

Second tally of 10,000 more ballots is in. Jail sales tax is now being rejected. Probably 15,000 or more ballots to go.

2 comments; last on Nov 05, 2015

Important Election Issues Undecided

Wed, Nov 04, 2015, 12:05 am  //  John Servais

The first returns - probably 60% of the final vote - shows contradictory propositions passing and most candidate races decided.

7 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

Growing Veterans

Mon, Nov 02, 2015, 8:04 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Growing Veterans was created to empower military veterans to grow food, communities, and each other.

2 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

More on Propositions 1 and 9

Sun, Nov 01, 2015, 9:31 am  //  John Servais

Where more substantial evidence is presented against proposition 9 - and why you should vote REJECTED on it.

24 comments; last on Nov 04, 2015

NWCitizen Publisher’s Voting Choices

Sat, Oct 31, 2015, 2:02 am  //  John Servais

As an independent citizen and political junkie, here is how I am voting - with brief reasons for my choices.

8 comments; last on Nov 03, 2015

NAMI Whatcom Opposes Prop 2015-1

Tue, Oct 27, 2015, 6:56 pm  //  Tip Johnson

The latest addition and the issue in review


Dwindling Information Makes Voters Susceptible to Spin

Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 11:39 pm  //  Whatcom Citizen

A perspective on the our changing news system, the consequences, and the challenges for the future. With a suggestion of the solution.

5 comments; last on Oct 28, 2015

Info Slowmo

Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 3:32 pm  //  Tip Johnson

When they feel you just don't need to know

4 comments; last on Oct 28, 2015

The Mysterious State of the Whatcom County Jail

Mon, Oct 26, 2015, 1:57 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the operative information is $$$ECRET

3 comments; last on Oct 29, 2015

Effort to Stop Bakken Oil Trains

Sat, Oct 24, 2015, 1:26 pm  //  John Servais

Whatcom group plans meeting workshop to submit comments to Washington Dept of Ecology against Skagit/Bakken oil trains.

6 comments; last on Oct 26, 2015

Fairhaven Pharmacy Closes Today - For Real

Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 2:53 pm  //  John Servais

After 126 years in business, Fairhaven Pharmacy closes for the last time at 6 p.m. today. Historic Fairhaven Association to do Halloween photos.

1 comments; last on Oct 20, 2015

Louws Regrets Jail Mailer

Tue, Oct 20, 2015, 9:25 am  //  John Servais

County Executive - and candidate for reelection -Jack Louws has written county officials with his regrets over jail mailer.

8 comments; last on Oct 24, 2015

Let’s not squander the next 30 years

Sun, Oct 18, 2015, 11:37 am  //  John Servais

The jail sales tax proposition is a road to perdition for our county. It is a waste and has been deceptively promoted.

4 comments; last on Oct 20, 2015

Making a Jail: Bamboozle!

Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 4:52 pm  //  Tip Johnson

With a smarmy October Surprise

9 comments; last on Oct 19, 2015

Court: No Radio Towers in Point Roberts

Thu, Oct 08, 2015, 7:14 am  //  John Lesow

A Canadian radio station is trying to install huge radio towers in Point Roberts for a Canadian audience. Citizen movement has fought them.


James King Resigns as Bellingham Parks Director

Sat, Oct 03, 2015, 2:47 pm  //  John Servais

James King to return to Alaska and take job with U.S. Forest Service. Mayor will appoint a new parks director.

1 comments; last on Oct 04, 2015

Just Say No - to the Incarceration-Industrial Complex

Fri, Oct 02, 2015, 10:48 am  //  David Camp

The "... new jail just doesn't pencil out", writes a well qualified accountant. A look at the future costs of the proposed jail.

11 comments; last on Oct 09, 2015

Alternative Jail Proposal for City Center

Tue, Sep 22, 2015, 4:54 pm  //  John Servais

There is a good alternative for a decent jail - but we first must vote down the jail sales tax proposal in November.

5 comments; last on Sep 24, 2015

Wendy DeFreest is Opening a ‘Burger Joint’

Sat, Sep 19, 2015, 3:37 pm  //  John Servais

Wendy DeFreest, of Avenue Bread, will open a new "burger joint" called The Filling Station by late October in Fairhaven. It will not be a sandwich cafe.


That Louwsy Jail Deal

Tue, Sep 15, 2015, 5:26 pm  //  Tip Johnson

FEMA camp or new county seat?

13 comments; last on Oct 15, 2015

A Learning Moment - Hopefully

Sun, Sep 13, 2015, 8:42 am  //  John Servais

Beware walking RR tracks on the Fairhaven waterfront in the event of unexpected encounter with a high speed train

2 comments; last on Sep 18, 2015

Second Water Main Break on Donovan in a Year

Mon, Sep 07, 2015, 8:06 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Mains a' bursting - Avast!


Homeowner to city: Please buy me out

Wed, Aug 26, 2015, 9:17 am  //  John Servais

Padden Creek daylighting project strays far from city promises to homeowner that his property would remain intact.

4 comments; last on Sep 05, 2015

How Our Community Can Welcome Our Troops Home

Mon, Aug 24, 2015, 4:11 am  //  Guest writer

Christopher Brown guest writes how traditional communal warrior reintegration practices could help our returning combat veterans.


Black Lives Matter, Occupy WS & Whatcom Jail

Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 6:55 pm  //  Whatcom Citizen

A Whatcom Citizen writes of protest movements and how our proposed county mega jail is related to them.

15 comments; last on Sep 04, 2015

$15/hr Minimum Wage - Seriously?

Wed, Aug 19, 2015, 4:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Moves to set the minimum wage to $15, even if successful, are woefully insufficient. And why aren't people speaking out about abusive work scheduling?

2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2015

Local retired librarian injured by police

Mon, Aug 17, 2015, 11:17 pm  //  Guest writer

Bruce Radtke, a retired Bellingham librarian, reported to be assaulted by police for handing out leaflets

5 comments; last on Aug 27, 2015

Predictive Policing Comes to Bellingham

Sun, Aug 16, 2015, 2:39 pm  //  Guest writer

Is the tail wagging the dog? Edward Alexander guest writes on why predictive software for our police needs basic questions answered before purchase.

1 comments; last on Aug 22, 2015

Gunfight at Cornwall Park on Wednesday

Thu, Aug 13, 2015, 10:29 am  //  John Servais

Nothing in the Herald this morning, so NWCitizen is informing citizens of shootout at Cornwall Park.

1 comments; last on Aug 13, 2015

Whatcom Conservation District Elections

Sun, Aug 09, 2015, 10:52 am  //  Guest writer

Barbara Perry has been researching the secretive election processes of the Whatcom Conservation District. Really secretive. Probably fraudulent.

1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015

Election Results - Aug 4 Primary

Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 7:09 pm  //  John Servais

9:52 - final post for tonight. A running blog about the election results on this August evening. Feel free to comment.

8 comments; last on Aug 06, 2015

The Hansen’s Giant Rental Megaplex - Part 2

Tue, Aug 04, 2015, 9:14 am  //  Dick Conoboy

While the city deals with permitting on the Hansen rental megaplexes, the council has asked for proposals from staff on design standards for historic areas.

9 comments; last on Aug 07, 2015

Whatcom Co.: 90 Million Gallons of Water a Day

Tue, Jul 21, 2015, 11:42 pm  //  Guest writer

Eric Hirst provides us all with a well researched report on Whatcom County water issues - rights, Lake Whatcom, ground water and more.

10 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015

Electromagnetic Radiation: Who’s Looking Out for You?

Tue, Jul 14, 2015, 3:13 pm  //  John Lesow

The fight to keep Point Roberts from becoming a Radio Tower Farm is not over.

3 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015

Kudos to Our Police

Mon, Jul 13, 2015, 4:38 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Bellingham police are obviously trained to de-escalate armed confrontations. This is the way it should be.

6 comments; last on Jul 14, 2015

Lois Garlick was our hero

Thu, Jul 09, 2015, 7:27 am  //  John Servais

Lois Garlick has died. For many decades, she and George served as environmental stewards and leaders in preserving wildlife and nature.

2 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015

Whatcom County Council adds ballot measure

Wed, Jul 08, 2015, 8:27 am  //  John Servais

Last minute political maneuvering by liberal council seeks to counter conservative review commission ballot proposals.

1 comments; last on Aug 12, 2015

Charter amendments approved

Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 8:13 am  //  John Servais

The Charter Review Commission made Monday evening's meeting their last - and forwarded 8 charter amendments to the County Council

3 comments; last on Jul 08, 2015

Family Home For Rent: $44,000/year

Tue, Jul 07, 2015, 4:34 am  //  Dick Conoboy

For Rent: York neighborhood, new, 7 bedroom single-family home, near WWU. Only $44,000 a year. City planning not paying attention.

6 comments; last on Jul 09, 2015

Charter Commission Tricks

Mon, Jul 06, 2015, 3:30 pm  //  John Servais

Two dirty tricks by the uber-conservative minority on the Charter Review Commission aimed to put their agenda before the council.

3 comments; last on Jul 07, 2015

Drought Tree Emergency!

Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 1:55 pm  //  David Camp

Trees are dying for lack of water! Only citizen action can save them.


Fireworks and Clay Butler

Thu, Jul 02, 2015, 6:47 am  //  Dick Conoboy

If your 4th of July holiday is much more quiet this year, you can thank Clay Bulter who passed away at the end of May.


A Tale of Three Rezones

Mon, Jun 29, 2015, 4:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Samish Neighborhood Plan has been the subject of three undesired rezones in the last year. The city ignores its own guidelines to the detriment of all.


County prosecutor plays cruel games

Thu, Jun 25, 2015, 5:00 pm  //  John Servais

Updated at 6 pm. Our county justice system has spent 6 years trying to teach Luba Pekisheva that she should not defend herself. Justice denied and miscarried.

8 comments; last on Jul 22, 2015

Proposed New County Lockup - Financial Analysis

Mon, Jun 22, 2015, 4:00 pm  //  David Camp

A look at the proposal in historic financial context with projections and several questions for the proponents.

8 comments; last on Jul 10, 2015

Hansen-Iron Street Rental Megaplex Planned for York Neighborhood

Mon, Jun 01, 2015, 2:49 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Three extraordinarily large (7-bedroom) single family home rentals are proposed by developers Dave and Jon Hansen on Iron St. in the York Neighborhood.

7 comments; last on Jun 10, 2015

Chiara D’Angelo comes down from anchor chain

Mon, May 25, 2015, 7:17 pm  //  John Servais

Young Chiara spent 3 nights hanging from the anchor chain of Shell Oil's Arctic Challenger as a protest to arctic oil drilling.


Flash Mob Protests Arctic Drilling

Thu, May 21, 2015, 10:50 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein we ponder the fate of humanity


Joy Gilfilen Declares for County Executive

Mon, May 18, 2015, 10:17 pm  //  John Servais

Joy Gilfilen is challenging incumbent Jack Louws for County Executive.

4 comments; last on May 20, 2015

85 County Single Candidate Elections

Fri, May 15, 2015, 5:10 pm  //  John Servais

Running update of who is filing for office in Whatcom County. Posts during day Friday and final update Friday evening.

4 comments; last on May 17, 2015

Updated:  Ski to Sea Tries to Bully Bellingham

Wed, May 13, 2015, 4:30 pm  //  John Servais

Updated | Ski to Sea race does not need to race through sensitive Chuckanut Community Forest Park for special mountain bike leg. City did not renege.

10 comments; last on May 15, 2015


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