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 (ChuckanutCommunityForest.com). 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.


Coal Ship Collisions Study Is Released

Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 4:04 pm  //  John Servais

One part of the environmental study for the proposed Cherry Point mega coal terminal has been completed and released. It deals with ship collisions - they call it…

1 comments; last on Dec 18, 2014

Twas the Week Before Christmas…

Thu, Dec 18, 2014, 11:26 am  //  John Servais

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Johns Repair

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4 comments; last on Dec 18, 2014

Council Moving Rapidly on Rental Registration and Inspections

Thu, Dec 11, 2014, 4:05 am  //  Dick Conoboy

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4 comments; last on Dec 16, 2014

New Year’s Eve and Consumer Fireworks - Ban in Effect

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The ban on consumer fireworks that took effect last summer is valid all year, even New Year's Eve

1 comments; last on Dec 11, 2014

Ship Breaks Loose at Port of Bellingham

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The Horizon Lines ship - the many year resident of the Port of Bellingham - broke loose this morning due to failure of some system. A few photos.

3 comments; last on Dec 10, 2014

Whatcom County and the New Sharing Economy

Tue, Dec 09, 2014, 1:25 am  //  Guest writer

Tani Sutley writes of how unregulated vacation rentals are invading the Lake Whatcom watershed. She urges action before the Planning Commission meeting on 11 December.

3 comments; last on Dec 14, 2014

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Poet Richard Lewis reflects on Elizabeth Warren

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Prosecutor McEachran Calls Racism Charge “Preposterous”

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Wherein Whatcom's Klan heritage may be oozing from some cracks

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Riley dives into the data with precinct maps and historical perspectives

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Thu, Nov 20, 2014, 8:15 am  //  Dick Conoboy

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2 comments; last on Nov 23, 2014

Howard Harris Dies - More Testimonials Added

Wed, Nov 12, 2014, 12:51 pm  //  John Servais

Updated Nov 12. Howard Harris, the founder of the Bellingham silent peace vigil at the Federal Building in Bellingham, has died. He and Rosemary were leaders in our…

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A Veterans Day Note

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3 comments; last on Nov 13, 2014

Lincoln Street Apartment Development May Be Abandoned

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Doug Ericksen’s Tax Lien

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While smearing Seth Fleetwood over a common tax arrangement, we discover Doug Ericksen also has a benign tax lien - one he denied.

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Poet Richard Lewis weighs in on the Tea Party values

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Fergusonham

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Or why to vote for Nyima, the dog, for County Prosecutor

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A link to Riley's Political Junkie for excellent recommendations - and a few thoughts of my own.

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Update Oct 22: John Lesow has posted a comment with considerable more information on this issue.

1 comments; last on Oct 22, 2014

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Riley does a local political comedy show

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Three final candidates for Bellingham Planning Director spoke today at a cozy 'meet and greet' of government employees and developers.

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Wherein we see that sometimes government can do what business can't.

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Rental Conditions -  A Real Estate Inspector’s View

Fri, Oct 03, 2014, 9:26 am  //  Dick Conoboy

An experienced real estate inspector provides a window to the dangeroous conditions found in rentals in Bellingham

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Riley files a full report of the Tea Party debate for State Leg candidates

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Tue, Sep 30, 2014, 7:00 am  //  Guest writer

Wherein a Fulbright scholar, professional engineer and successful business owner files for public office

4 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014

Hickory, Dickory, Docketing…Yet Another Spot Rezone

Mon, Sep 22, 2014, 4:07 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Last Thursday, the Planning Commission voted to recommend the docketing of the spot rezone of 801 Samish from Residential Single to Commerical Planned (non-retail)

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We post a disturbing report of a personal encounter along Samish Way, with the permission of John Stark, who experienced it.

2 comments; last on Sep 17, 2014

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While the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars defining risks of crude by rail, Skagit County finds no significant adverse impacts of a crude-by-rail proposal.

1 comments; last on Aug 28, 2014

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Fri, Aug 22, 2014, 1:06 pm  //  Guest writer

Patrick McKee of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest-writes about the August 11 City Council slap-dash zoning changes.

2 comments; last on Aug 23, 2014

Good Friends and Neighbors:  What $54 Million Doesn’t Buy, Part 2

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Not content with causing massive inconvenience, BNSF is now literally dumping on county residents.

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Sat, Aug 16, 2014, 2:48 pm  //  Guest writer

Judith Green of the Sunnyland Neighborhood guest writes this brief summary of what went wrong with the planning last week.

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Good Friends and Neighbors:  What $54 Million Doesn’t Buy

Fri, Aug 15, 2014, 6:12 am  //  Terry Wechsler

A massive upgrade of the Cascade [rail] Corridor has left residents stranded and the sheriff asking Washington, DC, to intervene.

7 comments; last on Sep 02, 2014

Reliable Prosperity

Thu, Aug 14, 2014, 2:13 pm  //  Guest writer

Sandy Robson guest writes of the need for real prosperity at Cherry Point, not a destructive short term coal port that destroys the fishing grounds.

5 comments; last on Oct 02, 2014

Fleetwood versus Ericksen: What Happened in Round One?

Tue, Aug 12, 2014, 9:52 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Some Context for the Primary Results

0 comments

The Rule of Law - Bellingham Style

Mon, Aug 11, 2014, 10:31 pm  //  John Servais

Bellingham City Council abruptly changes zoning codes to force Planning Department plan on Sunnyland residents.

7 comments; last on Aug 14, 2014

Final Updated Election Results

Fri, Aug 08, 2014, 9:10 am  //  John Servais

Updated Wed evening. The Tuesday evening 8:20 pm Auditor report on the election is in.

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Councilmember Murphy’s Proposed Rental Ordinance Is Deeply Flawed

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 7:00 am  //  Dick Conoboy

Councilmember Murphy's proposal is based on a complaint-based rental ordinance from Tacoma, demonstrated to do little for the health and safety of tenants.

14 comments; last on Oct 01, 2014

Trial by Fire:  A Rising Tide of Civil Disobedience

Fri, Aug 01, 2014, 3:47 am  //  Terry Wechsler

Carefully planned actions are rolling across the state to make the point that it's not OK to expose us to risks associated with CBR.

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Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 10:40 am  //  Riley Sweeney

Northwest Citizen has conducted a phone poll of likely voters, with some surprising results!

9 comments; last on Jul 29, 2014

Plan Commission & Samish Neighbors Bypassed on Rezone Docketing

Thu, Jul 24, 2014, 6:52 am  //  Dick Conoboy

In contravention of the Bellingham Municipal Code, the City Council will consider on 4 August a last minute docketing request that ignores the Planning Commission and Samish Neighborhood.

1 comments; last on Jul 30, 2014

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Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 9:47 pm  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Mike Rostron explains how Bellingham city planners played loose and illegal with planning processes.

0 comments

City Council Approves Resident’s Sunnyland Plan

Tue, Jul 22, 2014, 6:22 pm  //  John Servais

Sunnlyland residents win one - after a seven year effort. Planning Department failed them and all of us.

2 comments; last on Jul 23, 2014

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Mon, Jul 21, 2014, 4:30 am  //  Guest writer

Landlords are so caught up opposing a licensing and inspection ordinance, they cannot see the upside for them in ridding the city of bad rentals.

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Sunnyland Deja Vu

Fri, Jul 18, 2014, 12:24 pm  //  Guest writer

Judith Green explains how the Bellingham Planning Department is trying to cram their plan onto a neighborhood.

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Trial by Fire:  Call to Action to Comment on the BP Pier Expansion

Sun, Jul 13, 2014, 1:26 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

Years after BP completed its north dock, the Army Corps of Engineers released a draft EIS and it's really really stupid.

0 comments

Intrado Not to Intrude in Bellingham

Tue, Jul 08, 2014, 7:20 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The city council "persuades" the city administration to withdraw a request for an intrusive police threat warning system

2 comments; last on Jul 08, 2014

Power to the Permit! (or Closely Hold This!)

Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 5:54 am  //  Terry Wechsler

It is time we stop allowing corporations to externalize the costs associated with their risky business practices, and demand more from our regulators who hold the keys to…

4 comments; last on Dec 15, 2014

Manifest Clandestine-y

Mon, Jul 07, 2014, 4:04 am  //  Guest writer

Guest writer Sandy Robson breaks the story of officials from Washington treated to a coal-promoting junket to Wyoming.

2 comments; last on Jul 13, 2014

A Question of Freedom

Fri, Jul 04, 2014, 4:00 am  //  Guest writer

Ferndale's most famous landmark is frequently commented on and is often in the news. Here is their side of the story.

4 comments; last on Jul 07, 2014

Trial by Fire: Lessons Not Learned One Year after Lac-Megantic

Wed, Jul 02, 2014, 4:14 pm  //  Terry Wechsler

On the anniversary of the Lac-Megantic disaster, communities throughout North America rally in solidarity to remember and protest wholly inadequate government response to crude-by-rail's risks.

4 comments; last on Jul 12, 2014

Sins of Omission

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 8:01 pm  //  Guest writer

In the Weekly, Tim Johnson left out three words in quoting Craig Cole - and his story misleads readers. Guest article by Sandy Robson.

11 comments; last on Jul 01, 2014

DOJ Grant Brings Confusion and Anger to City Council Meeting

Tue, Jun 24, 2014, 9:24 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The Bellingham Police Department wants to purchase "threat assessment" software with federal monies. Citizen comments were vehement and negative. City Council confused.

5 comments; last on Jul 03, 2014

Widespread Slaughter Won’t Work

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 9:18 pm  //  Tip Johnson

Wherein the failings of a bad policy framework are revealed

1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Fireworks Ban in Bellingham in Effect as of 18 June

Tue, Jun 17, 2014, 6:53 am  //  Dick Conoboy

The possession and use of consumer fireworks are no longer permitted within the city limits.

1 comments; last on Jun 19, 2014

Now There’s a Thought

Mon, Jun 16, 2014, 4:10 pm  //  Richard Lewis

Poet Richard Lewis on education

0 comments

Herald and Weekly Withhold the News

Wed, Jun 11, 2014, 10:39 am  //  John Servais

Wyoming Senators and coal honchos were in Whatcom County June 10 - to hold a news conference with select reporters.

7 comments; last on Jun 20, 2014

Dawn Sturwold Retiring End of Month

Tue, Jun 10, 2014, 10:20 am  //  John Servais

Bellingham Hearing Examiner, Dawn Sturwold, retires in three weeks. Successor selection is hidden from all of us.

3 comments; last on Jun 11, 2014

Propaganda

Sun, Jun 08, 2014, 5:07 pm  //  Richard Lewis

The poet for the Whatcom Independent back 8 years ago, has accepted our invitation to submit occasional poems to NWCitizen.

0 comments

 

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