County resolution re: $16m 14-9-2010

Here’s the (last-minute) notice of a resolution that will be be voted on at tonight’s (Sept. 14, 2010) Whatcom County Council meeting. The resolution concerns the County Council’s support for Senator Cantwell’s request to approve a federal funding appropriation for $16,000,000 for transportation infrastructure improvement on roads on the Lummi Reservation. It includes some what’s and why’s of the appropriations request and why this is (or appears to be) related to the Gooseberry Pt. lease.

If you want to automatically receive email updates on the Whatcom County Council’s various meeting agendas, send your request to Dana Davis-Brown, Clerk of the County Council) at It’s amazing and somewhat unsettling how often — pretty much every meeting — there are last-minute items added to or deleted from Council meeting agendas. These changes often do not show up anywhere else, including on the County Council’s website.

6 thoughts on “County resolution re: $16m 14-9-2010

  1. According to, as of June 30, Cantwell and Murray are both reporting about $150,000 in contributions from the Casino/Gambling industry.

    Larsen reports nothing in that industry, but detailed lists show contributions from various tribes and bands.

  2. The items below helped me understand the County Resolution a little better, though they may be old news.

    I found the info at It was included in a long list of appropriation requests submitted by Senator Maria Cantwell to the Senate Appropriations committee. She explains: “During the annual budget process, I submit requests to the Senate Appropriations Committee for congressionally directed spending for Washington State (sometimes referred to as “earmarks”) that benefits our state. Some of these projects are flood control levees, transportation improvements, drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, gang crime prevention, workforce training and agricultural research. I am working to continue to make this process even more transparent and to ensure that we’re spending taxpayer dollars wisely. Every year, I receive hundreds of requests for assistance from cities, counties, water and utility districts, transportation agencies, and others. I carefully review and evaluate these requests — and choose to submit a selection of these projects to the Committee. The final outcome for any request will not be known until the bill has been approved by the House and Senate, and signed into law by the President.”

    Project Title: Transportation Safety Improvements
    Recipient: Lummi Nation and Whatcom County
    Amount: $16,000,000
    Location: Whatcom County, Washington

    Project Description: Presently Whatcom County has a ferry that serves Lummi Island (not part of the Lummi Reservation) and lands on the Lummi Reservation. The lease for operating the ferry has now expired and in order to obtain a new lease both parties agree that mitigation of the ferry impacts is essential. Whatcom County and the Lummi Nation participated in a traffic safety study that identified the causes of deaths and injuries and identified mitigation measures. Based on the findings of that study, this funding would be used to increase safety by constructing pedestrian improvements, primarily sidewalks, within the immediate vicinity of the ferry. This project would also provide continuous sidewalks on both sides of the ferry landing. Finally, funding would go towards the Slater Road Elevation Project. This flood risk management project would elevate a frequently flooded section of road in Whatcom County that provides access to the Lummi Indian Reservation, the Cherry Point Heavy Impact Industrial Area, unincorporated areas of Whatcom County west of Ferndale, and the Lummi Island community.


    Editors’ Note: The article linked to above contains Tip’s strongly worded alternative view re: the putative utility of the $16 million appropriations request. It was posted on NW Citizen a while back. We removed a direct link to it from the Ferry Forum then because of the disrespectful tone toward Sen. Cantwell, which we do not condone and which a Forum reader objected to. However, the article has some information and dissenting viewpoints, when backed up with reasons are useful, so we’re passing the link along now although some of the article fails the Ferry Forum’s civility requirements.


      There’s been a lot lately in the news that has caused Americans to ponder the value and cost of our protected freedom of speech. Tip’s challenges to Senator Cantwell are stylistic, in a style shared by many US editorial writers and orators. Some may consider the tone disrespectful. I’m not crazy over it. But, hey, it’s probably a lot better to toughen our skin than risk the perils of censorship and, in our immediate case, risk missing ideas that otherwise have escaped our attention. We should focus on the quality and veracity of the ideas conveyed, rather than on the style.

      Tip and the Ferry Forum both have performed, and are performing, an invaluable service to Lummi Island. I thank them both.

  4. Here’s a slightly clarified version of what I sent to the Council this week in response to Mr. Cagey’s last Herald interview. It’s another approach, thanks to Bill Fox for editing. Jim Dickinson

    In 1961-62, Whatcom County built Haxton Way as better access to the Reservation and the Lummi Island Ferry, replacing and augmenting the circuitous Lummi Shore Road as the main route. The intent was to make a safer, more direct arterial, which for 30 years worked quite well. However, over time the area has been allowed to develop without any planning and Haxton Way has essentially gone from being a major arterial to being more like a common rural road with multiple grade crossings.

    Simply, the area is growing rapidly with the addition of more individual houses, and from multiple Tribal Housing Developments. Meanwhile, the Lummi Island Ferry Traffic has been relatively stable, even showing a slight decline since 2004. Yes, there is a traffic problem on the Reservation, but it is not due to the Ferry traffic.

    Despite all this Haxton Way , with improvements, still has pretty good arterial potential from Slater Road to about the Smokehouse Road . As it gets toward Gooseberry Point, however, the problems increase. Simply put, the road through Gooseberry Point is the bottleneck in the system, with all the Reservation Traffic passing through a residential area.

    The Lummi Transportation plan recognized this and calls for a new major arterial from Slater Road to the Lummi Shore Road in the Stommish Ground area. This would divert all but the local traffic from Gooseberry Point and most of Haxton and would solve the traffic problem totally. However, construction of this road is extremely expensive and outside of the scope of any Public Agencies at this time.

    An interim step would be the construction of the southern-most part of the proposed arterial, which would end on Lummi Shore Road near the Stommish Grounds and connect to Haxton Way in about the area of the Balch/Smokehouse Road . This would take at least 75% of the traffic out of Gooseberry Point which would turn that area into a destination instead of a traffic problem. The new road would facilitate the proposed Lummi Marina, Grocery Store, Restaurant and other Tribal Enterprises as well as keeping the Ferry there. Perhaps, in the future, a limited Ferry run to North Orcas Island could be added. Whatever traffic the Point generated could move relatively painlessly in and out without impacting the neighborhoods. As the growth increases, the balance of the proposed arterial could be done in increments.

    Instead of the County paying a large amount of rental fee for the Dock Site, this money ought to be spent on these road improvements which would benefit all the Citizens of Tribe and the County, both in safety and commerce, that way, everybody wins.

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