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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

City Council considers waterfront Lighthouse Mission shelter

Illustration by Shannon DeLurio

The Bellingham City Council has been discussing a proposal by the Lighthouse Mission Ministries for a new homeless shelter on the waterfront.

At the meeting on Monday, March 27, it was decided that the vote to allow negotiation of the lease would be postponed for two weeks. The public commentary, allotted 15 minutes on the agenda, lasted over an hour.

Although most of the speakers were strong supporters of the shelter being built, there were also some who did not agree with the location and opposed the proposal.

“On the waterfront, our scarce resource is access to boat yards, access to the water,” Brian Pemberton, owner of Northwest Explorations, said. “To begin denying that is to begin denying working wages and working opportunities for our citizens.”

Council members thought it was best to wait for more information to avoid giving the public mixed signals, according to Councilmember Gene Knutson, chair of the planning committee.

“I just can’t bring myself to [vote to negotiate the lease] until we know exactly where we’re at [with the port],” Knutson said.

The Port Commission of Bellingham will have a meeting with the City Council on Tuesday, April 4. A decision will be reached on whether the authorization will be approved based on the new information.


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