To Whom It May Concern
I am writing to urge the Whatcom County Council to use any and all mediation and negotiation resources available through the State and Federal government to accomplish a creative and cooperative solution to the Lummi Island/Gooseberry Point Ferry lease crisis. It is imperative that transportation to and from the island be both easily available and affordable. My husband Paul and I have owned our island home for approximately 10 years. During most of this time we lived and worked in Seattle during the week and packed up the kids, books, games, computers, art supplies, and musical instruments for the Friday night drive north to Lummi Island. We’d stop at the Haggen in South Bellingham or the Fred Meyer on Bakerview and shop for weekend groceries. By the time we arrived at the Gooseberry dock it was nearly 10:00 and the kids were asleep in the backseat. Paul and I would enjoy the moon on the water, the sound of the waves on the shore and the lights of the Whatcom Chief as it crossed Hales Passage. Whenever school was out, whether for the summer or just a long weekend, we’d move the family to the Island.
Over the years we have diligently worked toward our goal of living fulltime on Lummi Island and have become active members of the community. We sold our Seattle home, transferred our voting registration to Whatcom County, joined the Island Grange. I became a FireWise coordinator for our community. We established new relationships with a physician and dentist in Bellingham, and opened a new bank account in Ferndale. We have put much time and effort into making our cabin a comfortable home including hiring carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and appliance repair people from Ferndale, Bellingham, Lynden, and the Island. Just as we have become Islanders, we have become Whatcom County residents – we conscientiously participate financially in the local economy by patronizing bookstores, restaurants, movie theaters, groceries, marine supply, building supply, appliance, and hardware stores.
Our 20 year old son is nearly ready to transfer from Bellevue College to a 4 year college and has been preparing to apply to Western Washington University. We have been planning that he would live with us on Lummi Island and commute into Bellingham on a daily basis for school. Our ability to continue to financially support his education, given the financial impact on our family income of the economic downturn, depends on controlling the extra expenses such as housing and transportation.
There is no question that the life that we have worked so hard to build on Lummi Island and in Whatcom County will be heavily impacted by the ferry changes to come. Please realize that if it becomes unpractical and unaffordable to live on Lummi Island, the economy of Whatcom County will also suffer.
Leslie Martin Dempsey
Lummi Island, Washington 98262